Vegan Pineapple Poke Bowl


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A Tropical Vegan Poke Bowl Riff

Are you ready to go on a Hawaiian vacation, even if it's just in your bowl? This unexpected, fresh, and summery plant-based poke bowl is easy to make and is full of flavor. It's one you'll want to come back to again and again thanks to the compelling mixture of sweet, savory, salty, and spicy flavors.

Get ready to have your mind blown by this vegan poke bowl. Although classic poke uses fish, this version stars a very special, delightfully juicy Hawaiian ingredient in place of the fish. While certainly not traditional, I'm beyond excited to share this easy bowl meal with you. Can you guess what ingredient I've used to make this dish vegetarian, vegan, and full of plant-based nutrients?

What is a Poke Bowl?

A poke bowl is a traditional Hawaiian dish that combines marinated raw fish with a variety of other components (usually rice and vegetables). Poke in Hawaiian means "to slice" or "to cut", describing the way the fish is prepared; the fish is then marinated in a flavorful sauce and served raw.

Unfortunately for us plant eaters, poke bowls (which have become very trendy lately) are a no-go. I didn't want to miss out on the fun, so I decided to create a plant-based poke bowl that features an unexpected ingredient.

How to Make a Vegan Poke Bowl

Although far from traditional, there are a lot of ways to make a plant-based poke bowl. I've seen them done with beets, watermelon, and papaya, all of which have a pink color to mimic the usual tuna. In my version, I wanted to focus more on taste rather than appearance, so the star of this no-fish poke bowl is juicy fresh pineapple. The pineapple gets marinated in a nutty, savory, slightly spicy sauce that yields a wonderful balance of flavor. If you've been looking for a vegan version of this popular dish, I think you're going to love this pineapple poke bowl.

Pineapple Poke Bowl Tips

Because pineapple is the star of this recipe, I like to use Maui Gold pineapples. They're fabulously fragrant, much juicier, sweeter, and less acidic than the pineapples you're probably used to getting. Although pineapples can sometimes be assertively acidic, the more mellow Maui Golds merge perfectly with the savory, spicy marinade.

Making this pineapple poke bowl is easy, but it does require some time for the pineapple to marinate. You'll just toss pineapple cubes with a dash of toasted sesame oil, paprika, salt, and cayenne, then let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The end result is a seductive combination of sweet, nutty, savory, and spicy flavors that will surprise you with its complexity.

Other than marinating the pineapple, this plant-based poke bowl is easy since most of the components are raw. You'll just cook some black rice, then plate your beautiful bowl with colorful carrot ribbons, crisp cucumber slices, savory seaweed ribbons (to enhance the ocean flavors that usually come from fish), fresh sprouts, and crunchy macadamias.

Plant-Based Poke Bowl Variations

There are a lot of ways you can change up this recipe to make it work for you. For the pineapple, feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne to your own tastes, making it as mild or as spicy as you like. You can also adjust the other ingredients as desired, including swapping the rice for quinoa or cauliflower rice, altering the veggies, or adding in any other components you enjoy alongside Hawaiian-inspired or Asian-inspired flavors (for example, pickled ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds, soy sauce, etc).

As written, the recipe here is for one hearty bowl, but you can easily multiply as needed to serve more people. If you're hosting a crowd, you can also set up a pineapple poke bowl bar, where everyone can assemble their own bowls.

Make-Ahead Tips

Good news: this vegan poke bowl recipe is very make-ahead friendly. You can start marinating the pineapple up to a day ahead. You can also precook the rice and reheat it before adding it to the bowl. For the veggies, feel free to make the carrot ribbons, slice the cucumbers, and cut the nori into strips a few hours in advance. When you're ready to enjoy this healthy bowl meal, all you need to do is assemble.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here's what you'll need for this pineapple poke bowl, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Pineapple. Because pineapple is the star of this plant-based poke bowl, you'll want to use the most flavorful, most perfectly ripe pineapple you can find. I use Maui Gold because they're absolutely the best. Canned pineapple will not work in this recipe.
  • Toasted sesame oil. This provides savory and nutty flavors to balance the sweet pineapple, so it's an important component of this dish. You can find toasted sesame oil at most grocery stores and also Asian markets.
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Cayenne
  • Black rice. Although white rice is more traditional in poke bowls, I love the look of black rice alongside the pineapple. Feel free to use quinoa, brown rice, or cauliflower rice if you prefer.
  • Carrot
  • Baby cucumbers
  • Nori. You can either use a nori sheet or several sheets of seaweed snacks.
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Macadamia nuts. Although nuts aren't traditional in poke bowls, they add wonderful crunch and also contribute some protein and fat to this plant-based version. Because poke is Hawaiian, I love to use macadamias, but cashews could also work nicely.
  • Furikake seasoning. Furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend with seaweed and sesame seeds; it adds savory ocean flavors to this bowl. You can find fuirkake in specialty grocery stores and online. If you can't find it, substitute some very finely cut nori and sesame seeds.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you're a plant-based eater who has always longed to enjoy poke bowls or you're just looking for a fun new version to try, I think you're going to love this pineapple poke bowl. It features a compelling mixture of sweet, savory, nutty, salty, and spicy flavors that feels fresh and exciting. It also has a fabulous balance of chewy, crisp, juicy, and crunchy textures, so every bite is an adventure.

I'm already excited to make this nourishing bowl meal again and again all summer long. Pineapple really excels in savory dishes and especially alongside some heat, and this is definitely my new favorite way of using this special ingredient.

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Planter's Punch

Hawaiian Tropical Fruit Guacamole

Tropical Pineapple Tostadas

Tropical Macadamia Mango Slaw

Healthy Tropical Pad Thai Salad

Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with Maui Gold. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Vegan Pineapple Poke Bowl

Bursting with tropical flavors, this unexpected vegan poke bowl uses pineapple instead of the usual fish. You'll be amazed at how flavorful the pineapple becomes when marinated in a mixture of savory spices.



For the Pineapple

  • 1 c cubed pineapple
  • 0.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Few pinches salt
  • Pinch or two of cayenne

For the Poke Bowl

  • 0.25 c uncooked black rice
  • Large carrot
  • 4 baby cucumbers
  • 1 nori sheet (or 4 seaweed snacks)
  • 0.5 c sunflower sprouts
  • 2 tbsp roasted salted macadamia nuts
  • 1 tsp furikake seasoning


  1. Combine the pineapple with the sesame oil, paprika, salt, and cayenne, then mix until very evenly coated. Let the pineapple marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight in a sealed container.
  2. Cook the rice as directed.
  3. While the rice cooks, use a peeler to create carrot ribbons. Slice the baby cucumbers and cut the nori into thin strips.
  4. When ready to serve, add all of the components (marinated pineapple, cooked black rice, carrot ribbons, cucumber slices, nori ribbons, sunflower sprouts, and macadamias) into a serving bowl. Top with a generous sprinkling of furikake seasoning.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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June 5, 2024
Ooooh, I've been meaning to try new pineapples recipes and this is such an ideal dish for the summer! And great tips on what pineapple to use. Excited to try this one. :)
June 6, 2024
Looks so delicious!