Monday, February 20, 2017

Mad Gourmet's Vegetarian Poke

Vegetarian Poke
My next recipe was somewhat inspired by a story when we were in Kona for Fourth of July. On the way to the parade, one of the parade participants and I were exchanging what our favorite luau food is. Surprisingly, the discussion turned to poke. I shared with my new friend that I have a vegetarian poke recipe. He was surprised. He had never heard of a vegetarian poke (This was not a surprise to me because my Hawaiian hula teacher once told me that if you will rarely find a Hawaiian vegetarian). 

My new friend was somewhat curious on what was in it, so I explained that it had mushrooms, macadamia nuts, onions, seaweed... His reaction: "Oh... It's like a salad" We both laughed and proceeded to enjoy the parade!

I guess it kinda is.

However, this made me realize that I need to write about my veggie poke. I have been meaning to write about this for a while now, since I made it for Thanksgiving years ago. But you all know how my schedule has been like... Crazy. Time flew by... It has been so long that I misplaced the recipe. I searched and searched and had no luck. So I had to recreate it...

Now, why did I choose veggies, Technically, poke does not need to be made with raw fish. poké in a Hawaiian means "to cut," so (I think) anything cut in pieces is technically pokè. The more popular versions of poké are made of ahi or octopus. Since I cannot have raw fish anymore, I need an alternative.

Hence my version....

Actually, I think this recipe was somewhat based on Sam Choi's poke recipe. I had to start with something, right? I also remember borrowing components from a vegetarian mushroom poke that I found and is now lost.  I knew wanted to use mushrooms, specifically Portabella, as a substitute for the fish. It already has a good meat-like texture.

My other challenge was to replicate the unami flavor of a fish-based poke. The answer was seaweed and soy! I used ogo in this version (from a Poke mix) but I think the seaweed snacks provided more flavor in this case. The Mac nuts should add a burst of protein and texture. I suppose one can use

Try it for Meatless Monday.... And let me know what you think.

Mad Gourmet’s Vegetarian Poke


  • 1 Portabella Mushroom (about 6 inches diameter)
  • 3 Tbsp seaweed (I used half ogo in the poke mix (follow the directions on package) or strips of seaweed snacks)
  • 1/2 medium-sized tomato, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp red onion (You can use a bit more – but I’m not a big fan of raw red onions)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of macadamia nuts, unsalted (I’m a fan of this, so 2 Tbsp!)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • For garnish: 1-2 Tbsp green onion, chopped

  1. Scrape gills from undersides of mushrooms with spoon, and discard. Cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces (for me, 1/2 – 3/4 inch).
  2. Combine all the ingredients except for the green onion. Mix well. Allow flavors to blend for 1 hour before serving.
  3. Garnish with the chopped green onion before serving.

Fish and poke bowlHope you enjoy!

I really love this recipe. I get the “poke” sensation, but not miss any meat.

If you prefer, you can make it pescatarian by adding cooked fish to your bowl, I did that the next day because we had extra ahi. Served with taro chips, it's a perfect lunch.

P.S. For more poke ideas, check out Aloha Hawaii’s Poke Page. 

Mahalo for reading. Aloha!