Vegan poke bowl with crispy tofu

This vegan poke bowl is highly nutritious and highly customizable. The crispy sesame tofu gives the bowl an extra dose of protein that will fuel your body throughout the day. This poke bowl is also gluten free, nut free, and vegetarian. It is egg free, dairy free, and vegan when made with vegan mayo.

Vegetarian crispy tofu poke bowl

What is in this vegan poke bowl

What is in this vegan poke bowl? The base of this vegan poke bowl is made up of fluffy white rice. The rice is topped with an assortment of fresh vegetables, sauces, and toppings. Here are the main toppings on this vegan tofu bowl.

  • Sesame tofu
  • Crispy shallots
  • Pickled carrots
  • Green onion
  • Jalapeño
  • Sushi ginger
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spicy mayo

Tips for making your fired tofu extra crispy

As someone who eats mostly vegetarian and sometimes vegan, tofu is part of the territory. Tofu is a great source of protein and the de facto substitute for meat in many dishes. Making crispy tofu can be difficult since tofu starts out with such a high water content. Here is a list of tips and tricks for making your tofu extra crispy every time.

  • Use extra firm tofu. The first tip is to make sure you are working with the right kind of tofu because tofu comes in a variety of textures. You will want to  pick up some extra firm tofu.
  • Cut the tofu before draining it. After you remove your tofu from the packaging, cut it in half before pressing it to remove excess water. You want to cut it in half along the shortest edge so that the end product has as much surface area as possible. The more surface area the tofu has, the easier it will be for paper towels to soak up excess water. Take a look at the image below this section to see what the tofu looks like after being cut in half.
  • Press the tofu for a long time. After you cut your tofu, wrap it in multiple layers of paper towels and press it for at least 30 minutes. If you have the time, it is best to press the tofu for a few hours and swap in dry paper towels every now and then. Pressing out excess water will also help your tofu soak up more marinade and be more flavorful.
  • Coat the tofu in cornstarch. Immediately before you put your tofu in the pan to cook, you should coat your tofu in cornstarch. The cornstarch will help your tofu form an extra crispy outer layer. If you are using a marinade, you will want to apply the cornstarch after the tofu has marinaded.
  • Let the tofu form a crispy crust before flipping it. Once your tofu is in the pan, make sure to let each side of your tofu thoroughly brown before flipping it. This will help to form a crispy crust on each side.

Tips for extra crispy tofu

Popular toppings for poke bowls

The great thing about poke bowls is that they are highly customizable. Choosing the protein is just the first step. Here is a list of other ingredients that are commonly added to poke bowls. Most of these are vegan friendly.

  • Fruits and vegetables: avocados, carrots, cucumbers, jalapeños, crispy shallots, shaved radishes, edamame, beansprouts, green onions, diced sweet onions, pickled red onions, lime, cubed mango, cubed watermelon
  • Sauces: spicy mayo, wasabi mayo, gluten free ponzu, sesame oil, chili oil
  • Other toppings: seaweed, crushed peanuts, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, pickled ginger

Tips for extra crispy tofu

Meal prepping with poke bowls

Poke bowls are a great option for people who are into meal prepping. This is because of the ease with which you can customize poke bowls. You can easily prepare large batches of ingredients and combine them in different ways throughout the week to make it feel like you are eating a completely different meal every day. Using different sauces really helps to mix things up.

Vegan poke bowl with crispy tofu

This vegan poke bowl is topped with crispy tofu and loaded with nutrients.
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Hawaiian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, healthy meal, meal prep, nut free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people


Pickled carrots

  • 3 carrots
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp salt

Spicy mayo

  • 2 tbsp mayo (i prefer vegan mayo)
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tbsp black pepper

Sesame tofu

  • 1 14 oz package extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (1 tbsp for the marinade, 1 tbsp for cooking)
  • 2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Crispy shallots

  • 2-3 shallots (or 1 onion)
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice (sushi rice would be even better)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 4 stalks green onion
  • 3 tbsp pickled sushi ginger
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds


Pickled carrots

  • Chop up the carrots and put them in a jar or glass food storage container. Salt the carrots and allow them to sit for a few minutes to draw out some of the water. I usually move on to the next step and make the spicy mayo then return to the carrots when I am done
  • Add the rice vinegar and sugar to the carrots. Allow the carrots to pickle for at least 30 minutes or up to a few days before adding to bowl

Spicy mayo

  • Combine the spicy mayo ingredients and stir well

Sesame tofu

  • Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain it. Wrap the tofu in a few layers of paper towels and place it under a heavy object to press out the water. I usually put a cutting board on top of the tofu then put a large bag of flour or sugar on top of that. Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes
  • Add all of the other tofu ingredients other than the tofu, cornstarch, and 1 tbsp of sesame oil to a gallon bag
  • Chop the tofu into 1 inch chunks then add to the bag. Let marinade for 10 minutes
  • Coat the tofu cubes in cornstarch
  • Heat some sesame oil over medium high heat then add the tofu. Make sure there is a decent amount of space between adjacent pieces of tofu. This will result in crispier tofu. Cook the tofu for 15 minutes, flipping every 4-5 minutes as the edges start to brown

Crispy shallots

  • Mince the shallots
  • Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a pan and add the shallots. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes

Other ingredients

  • Add 1.5 cups of water and 1 cup of rinsed rice to a pot over high heat. Wait until the water starts to boil then turn the burner down to low and cover the rice. Cook for additional 15 minutes, or as instructed on your bag of rice
  • Chop jalapenos, green onion, and avocado
  • Combine all ingredients over a bed of rice

Ingredients & tools for making poke bowls

Here are some of the ingredients we use when we make these poke bowls. We particularly love this picked ginger from The Ginger People!

We also included a link for the rice cooker we use to make rice for poke bowls. We did a lot of research before we bought our rice cooker and found that this one strikes the best balance between affordability, durability, and versatility. It even has a setting for steaming vegetables and comes with a little steamer basket!

Other notes

  • In the recipe I say that this dish requires 20 minutes of cook time. I want to leave a little disclaimer here that I cook the rice, crispy shallots, and crispy tofu at the same time. I do not find it difficult to cook these at the same time as the rice requires no maintenance and the shallots and tofu only need to be stirred every 4-5 minutes. I understand that not everyone has the same tolerance for multitasking, so if you are going to cook these components one at a time just leave a little extra time for cooking.
  • If you are looking for a recipe for a poke bowl that contains meat, check out this poke bowl recipe.

Other recipes you will love

Watermelon poke bowls accompanied by a bowl of edamame and a bowl of marinated watermelon.

This recipe for crispy tofu poke bowls is not our only option when it comes to vegan poke bowl recipes! If you love this recipe for crispy tofu poke bowls then you should check out our recipe for watermelon poke bowls.

Vegan tofu buddha bowl with crispy fried tofu, hummus, grilled vegetables, and avocado.

If you are looking for another healthy, protein packed grain bowl then you should check out this recipe for tofu buddha bowls with crispy lemon sesame tofu. These crispy tofu bowls bowls are dairy free and vegan friendly.

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