This easy tomato tuna poke bowl has plant-based tuna made with tomatoes, and all the fixings of your favorite poke bowls (including the spicy mayo)!
I always thought I was allergic to fish. Okay, I was allergic to fish as a kid, and assumed the allergy had stayed with me. So when I last visited Hawaii to visit my mermaid of a sister, the concept of trying a bite of the spicy tuna poke she bought from the back of a liquor store was simply off the table for me (the least of the reasons being because it was raw fish sold from the back of a liquor store).
But partially because I read that childhood allergies disappear in adulthood, and partially because I was just intrigued by this big bowl of fish, I tried a bite.
Not only did I not have a reaction, but I suddenly understood what all the fuss was about. This spicy tuna was soft and silky and spicy and umami, and I finally understood.
But the thing is, not only is tuna not vegetarian (duh), but it’s not all that sustainable. So I started digging into plant-based tuna alternatives and landed on this approach…tomato tuna!
“This is an amazing recipe. I can’t believe how much the tomato’s looked like tuna!” —Andrea
Ingredients for these Vegan Poke Bowls
- Tomato: Tomato naturally has a meaty texture and umami taste, making it a great substitute for raw tuna. We’ll use roma tomatoes, which have less water and a meatier texture.
- Marinade: To infuse our tomato tuna with flavor, we’ll marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, fresh ginger, sesame oil, lime juice, and sriracha.
- Sushi Rice: No good sushi bowl is complete with the slightly sweet, slightly vinegar sushi rice!
- Fillings: We’ll pile on some of the vegan sushi bowl classics, like nori, avocado, cucumber, carrot, and fried onions.
- Spicy Mayo: I have a hard time eating sushi that’s not doused in spicy mayo. We’ll make our own by quickly combining mayonnaise (traditional or vegan) with sriracha.
How to make vegan tuna with tomato
Making this tomato tuna recipe is so simple, and goes something like this:
- Peel tomatoes: We’ll blanch them to make this super easy.
- Marinate tomatoes: Salty soy sauce, smoky toasted sesame oil, and acidic lime juice combined with the flavors or fresh ginger and sriracha transform the humble roma tomato into vegan spicy tuna.
- Serve: Piling this tomato tuna onto an equally flavorful sushi bowl is key. You can taste the tomato a little if you eat the “tuna” alone, but when you eat it with the sushi bowl fillings and spicy mayonnaise it really tastes like tuna!
What is blanching?
Blanching is a culinary technique that involves briefly immersing tomatoes in boiling water, followed by transferring them to an ice bath to halt the cooking process. This method is employed to remove the tomato skins easily, revealing the vibrant flesh underneath. Blanching not only simplifies the peeling process but also helps to maintain the tomato’s texture, flavor, and nutritional value. Here’s our complete guide to blanching tomatoes!
Variations on these vegan sushi bowls
The nice thing about sushi bowls are how flexible they are! Here are a few possible variations:
- Change up the grains: To make this bowl a bit more nutrient-packed, you could substitute the sushi rice for quinoa, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice (though I would still recommend seasoning it with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt like we do with the sushi rice).
- Watermelon instead of tuna: Not a fan of tomatoes? Try using watermelon to make your tuna!
- Flexible fillings: And of course, you can fill your sushi bowls with whatever your favorite sushi vegetable fillings might be. The fillings I’ve included are just my favorites!
Hungry for more sushi?
Here are more of our favorite plant-based sushi recipes!
- Tempura Tofu Sushi
- Cucumber Sushi Rolls
- Green Goddess Sushi Bowl
- Greek Sushi Rolls
- Tofu Cucumber Sushi
And for another plant-based take on tuna, be sure to try out this Chickpea Tuna Salad – perfect on sandwiches! Or if you’re looking for another mock vegan fish, you HAVE to try our Beer-Battered Vegan Fish & Chips!
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger 15 g
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 15 mL
- 1 Tbsp sriracha 15 g
- 1 tsp lime juice 5 mL
- 1 cup uncooked sushi rice 240 g
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 avocado
- ½ cucumber
- 2 carrots
- Nori, pickled ginger, wasabi, fried onions
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise vegan or traditional
- 2 tsp sriracha
- Prep Tomatoes: Score a small “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Drop into a pot of boiling water, removing after just 10 seconds, when skin begins to peel away. Immediately plunge tomatoes into a bowl of very cold water. The skin should come right off! Cut in half, remove seeds and insides, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl.
- Marinade: Stir together soy, ginger, sesame oil, sriracha, and lime juice, then drizzle over the tomato. Toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Rice: Meanwhile, prepare your sushi rice. Add 1 cup cold water to the rice and set over high heat until water boils. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from heat and let rest while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Stir together rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Right before serving, stir this into the rice.
- Assemble: Chop or thinly slice your fillings. Stir together mayonnaise and sriracha. Spoon rice into each serving bowl, topping with fillings and tomato tuna.