As a sushi fan since the ‘80s, I transitioned smoothly to tuna poke, which is originally a Hawaiian raw tuna salad with an Asian vinaigrette. One of my favorite lunch (and happy hour) spots is Silver, a brasserie in Bethesda, MD (opening this month in Cathedral Heights in DC, too). When I eat there, one of my favorite things to order is the tuna poke bowl with quinoa, created by their chef, Ype Von Hengst. I find that when I eat it for a meal, I feel full but nourished, rather than heavy. Chef Ype was kind enough to give me some suggestions to create my own version at home.
I made this for a homecoming dinner for our 20-year-old son Solomon, during his brief visit between working at his university in Philadelphia and his departure for Melbourne, Australia, for a semester abroad. He said the tuna poke bowl was perfect and he wouldn’t change a thing, and my husband Andrew, who usually is full of suggestions, concurred.
We love the tangy, peanutty and just slightly sweet flavor, but if you are avoiding added sugar completely, you can omit the honey or use a little pureed date instead.
Tune Poke Quinoa Bowls with Sesame-Lime-Peanut Dressing
Prep + Cook = 30 minutes
6 servings, about 1 ¼ cup each
1 cup cooked quinoa (from about 1/3 cup uncooked) or brown rice
1 – 1.25 pounds raw sushi grade tuna, cut into 1-inch chunks (use the tuna the day you purchase it)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice from 1 – 2 limes
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (use unsweetened if possible)
1/2 – 1 tsp. minced ginger (use frozen cube or freshly minced)
1/2 tsp. wasabi powder or paste (or use horseradish)
1 avocado, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 English or 2 Persian cucumbers, diced into ½-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 Tbsp. toasted white or black sesame seeds
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh scallions, use dark and light green parts, thinly sliced (optional)
Cook the quinoa or rice if necessary.
Put the tuna in a large wide serving bowl.
In a large measuring cup, combine the lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger and wasabi. Pour 1/3 – 1/2 of the dressing over the tuna in the bowl, just enough to coat it. Set the rest aside.
Add the remaining ingredients including the quinoa to the bowl with the tuna, add additional dressing to taste, and serve immediately or within 30 minutes (otherwise, the acidity of the lime will begin to cook the tuna, like ceviche).
Flavor options: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped peanuts.
Tip: You can make extra quinoa and freeze it for next time