Tofu Poke – 'Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine

Tofu Poke

By robertwalker      

October 24, 2016

Poke is a beloved Hawaiian dish made with raw fish – to be precise, sashimi-grade ahi tuna. Our vegan spin on traditional poke uses ruby-red beets to give tofu a lovely pink “ahi” color. Beets are an excellent source of a type of phytonutrient called betalains, which have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. The shorter cooking time of the beets in this recipe helps preserve these colorful phytonutrients, which are vulnerable to heat. Beets are also an excellent source of folate and a number of essential minerals, including manganese, potassium, and magnesium.

Original recipe appears on the Ornish Kitchen and was developed in collaboration with Island Heart Care.

  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yields: 6 Servings



2 TABLESPOONS low-sodium tamari or soy sauce

2 TEASPOONS natural liquid smoke

2 TEASPOONS maple syrup

1 1/2 LB firm tofu well drained, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch dice


2 CUPS beets peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice; 10 oz

2 CUPS cucumber peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice; 8 oz

3/4 CUP green onion thinly sliced on the bias; divided

1 TEASPOON lime zest; plus more to taste

1 1/2 TABLESPOONS minced ginger or 1 teaspoon grated, plus more to taste

2 TEASPOONS low-sodium tamarin or soy sauce; plus more to taste

1 TEASPOON Sriracha chili sauce; plus more to taste (see Chef’s Notes)

2 (7 1/2 X 8–INCH) SHEETS toasted nori seaweed


1Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2To prepare tofu, in a medium bowl, stir together the tamari, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. Add tofu and toss gently to coat. Spread tofu on prepared sheet pan, place in oven, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3While tofu is baking, place a vegetable steamer basket in a saucepan, adding water to come to just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add beets, cover, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove steamer from saucepan and let beets cool.

4In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, 1/2 cup green onions, lime zest and juice, ginger, tamari, and Sriracha. Add tofu and beets.

5Fold toasted nori sheets in half, then quarters. Fold quarters in half again. Using scissors, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips. Fold into tofu-beet mixture. Taste and season with more tamari, lime, and/or ginger, as desired. Garnish with remaining green onions, and serve immediately.

Chef's Notes:
Tamari, a class of Japanese soy sauces, was created as a by-product of miso production. Unlike soy sauce, it has little to no wheat or gluten (check the label to make sure, if you’re eating gluten free); its color is darker; and its flavor rich and well rounded. Tamari can be high in sodium, so definitely seek out a low-sodium version. If you can’t find one and you are sensitive to sodium, substitute a more widely available low-sodium soy sauce.

A good substitute for tamari or soy sauce is liquid aminos, such as Bragg brand, which is gluten-free and made from non-GMO soybeans and purified water.

When you need citrus zest and juice for a dish, be sure to zest the fruit first, then juice it. If you’ve ever tried to zest an already-squeezed citrus half, you’ll know why.

Sriracha has mushroomed in popularity in recent years, and this chili sauce is now available in the Asian foods section of most well-stocked grocery stores. Made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, its fiery flavor is proving irresistible well outside the borders of its native Thailand.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1Cup
Total Fat6g
Saturated Fat0g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates12g
Dietary Fiber3g

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