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garden poké bowls!
These vibrant vegan Garden Poké Bowls are a perfect (and delicious) way to get your veggies in for the day. Inspired by Hawaiian poké bowls, which are traditionally made with fish, I’ve partnered with Earthbound Farm to play up the fresh flavours of plants in an all-vegan version.
Typically, poké bowls are made with a base of rice and/or greens, protein and Japanese ingredients like pickled cucumbers, seaweed salad and edamame. We’ll be using all the above plus some pops of pink with Earthbound Farm’s Organic Rosé Blend and watermelon radish.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Earthbound Farm, they started growing organic heirloom raspberries and baby greensin Carmel Valley, California 18 years before there was even a national organic standard! I’ve actually been to their original Farm Stand, which you may remember from this YouTube video and blogpost recap. So why does organic matter? Organic growing practices help to preserve mama Earth’s natural resources and biodiversity and exclude the usage of any genetically modified ingredients. It’s also kinder to the animals and people growing our food. Think of it this way–harsh chemicals we typically want to avoid consuming do have an impact on animals that may come into contact with it, and farmers doing the hands-on work.
Earthbound Farm is not only committed to kind growing practices, but also sustainability as well. They reduce and recycle waste in their organic fields and plants, and use 100% post-consumer recycled plastic for their salad box packaging. Of course, plastic in general is not ideal and Earthbound Farm acknowledges this and their ongoing efforts to finding better alternatives. P.S. Throwing in a tip I always like to share regarding purchasing things in packaging–opt for the largest size possible (Earthbound Farm offers 1lb size packages of most of their salad mixes) because it’s better than purchasing several, smaller packages, which can create more waste.
Anyway, these Garden Poké Bowls are a treat for the tummy and the eyes, and the best part is it’s also a very balanced and nutrient dense meal. Perfect for lunch, dinner or entertaining–you can really customize these bowls to your liking.
what’s in these garden poké bowls?
Earthbound Farm Rosé Blend → I mentioned earlier, contains a mix of organic baby butter lettuce, organic baby oak leaf, organic baby pak-choi, organic baby red leaf and organic radicchio. The result is a gorgeous, rose-toned blend of tender veg. You can DIY and re-create this mix if you’d like, or choose a salad blend of your liking.
Pan-fried tofu → is our vegan protein source! You can opt for your favourite marinade, or try the simple 5 minute prep suggestion in the recipe notes below. Tofu is high in plant protein, magnesium, calcium and even zinc!
Shelled edamame beans → another boost of plant protein, and a quintessential Japanese ingredient. These fun beans can be purchased frozen, pre-shelled, or purchased in pod, boiled and then shelled by hand.
Wakame salad → is a flavourful salad made of seasoned wakame (which is seaweed, or kelp). It is usually seasoned with sesame oil, sesame seeds and a touch of sweetness for balance and can be found at most Japanese groceries or Asian grocery stores. Wakame is nutrient rich and contains iodine, iron and vitamins A, C, E and K, to name a few.
Watermelon radish → gives our salad a fun pop of pink. It’s a great source of vitamin C and fiber, but unfortunately, does not taste like watermelon. It has a mildly bitter flavour, and is best enjoyed when (very) thinly sliced with a mandolin. Any radish will do if you don’t have access to this variety.
Quick pickled Japanese cucumber → Like the watermelon radish, I like to use a mandolin to make super thin cucumber slices. Mini cucumbers work best in my opinion, and you can either enjoy them as is, or quick pickled (see notes below!).
Avocado → need I say much more? This source of healthy fat is a wonderful complement to almost any salad in the game PLUS it helps the body absorb nutrients from all the veg, too.
tips for making the best garden poké bowls
Steps to making these poké bowls are actually very straightforward. For the most part, we’re simply assembling everything into bowls. How you do that is completely up to you! When cooking for friends, I like to group toppings together and arrange them atop the salad base, but when eating at home, I honestly just toss it all into a bowl. It’s best to mix up before eating anyway for the perfect bite each fork-full!
To prep your tofu, I recommend a quick pan-fry with seasoning of choice, but you can also choose to bake it in the oven if you prefer.
If you’re interested in quick pickling your cucumbers, you can follow this simple recipe. I personally like to use a gluten-free soy sauce, and coconut sugar.
And finally, to season your bowl, you can drizzle a sauce on top for extra flavour. My personal favourite combo is a mix of gluten-free soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a touch of toasted sesame oil. You can play around to find the combos you like or refer to the recipe notes.
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and for a chance to be featured! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too!
To quick pickle cucumbers, thinly slice a mini cucumber with a mandolin and add to a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Let sit, and wait until the juices of the cucumber release (roughly 10 minutes) while you prep your other ingredients. In another small bowl, mix together a splash of gluten-free soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and coconut sugar. After your cucumbers release liquid, squeeze out excess liquid and then add your sauce mixture to cucumbers.
In a frying pan over medium heat, cook cubed tofu with gluten-free soy sauce and minced garlic. Using a spatula, make sure all sides of the tofu cubes are exposed to the frying pan and cook until all of the sauce is absorbed and the tofu is golden brown. Set aside.
Assemble bowls, starting with a base of salad and rice if using. Add remaining toppings, and garnish with green onion, sesame seeds and nori if desired. Serve with sauce on the side if desired.
(Optional step) To prepare penguin rice balls, prepare short grain, white sushi rice according to package directions. It’s typically best to use a rice cooker for best results, and you want to work with rice when it’s fresh. Once cooked, scoop out a cup or 2 and let cool down, closer to room temp. Cut seaweed shapes for penguin rice balls, or other animal shape of your choice. Use plain sheets of sushi nori and kitchen scissors. Using slightly damp hands, form rice balls using about 2-3 tbsp of cooked and cooled rice. Press firmly so that rice balls are tightly packed, but do not squish the rice too much (if you break the grains it will turn into mush). Stick seaweed pieces onto rice balls, rough side of the seaweed down. It should stick easily to the rice, but you can add a touch of water to the backside of seaweed pieces if not.
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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