Spicy Chickpea Poke Bowl with Sriracha Kick

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While we love a traditional poke with raw salmon over rice, poke bowls can be fun mixes of other bases, proteins, and toppings. In this recipe, we’ll be assembling a poke bowl with chickpeas covered with veggies. A quick sriracha dressing adds a hit of spice.

Put it in a Bowl, Please

I’ve always loved eating out of bowls, even as a kid. Bowls hold ingredients like a hug, keeping them tight and safe. My grandmother gave my parents her fancy plate sets when I was a teen, and my go-to dish became a delicate bone china bowl with an elaborate blue design. I might have broken a few of them in those careless adolescent days. 

So when I experienced giant soup bowls for ramen and the wide, shallow bowls for poke, I was ecstatic. Every meal should be eaten from a bowl.

But bowl culture isn’t just about eating out a bowl. Cereal, spaghetti, salad, and soup might be eaten out of a bowl, but these meals don’t transcend the vessel. Poke bowls, on the other hand, elevate the concept, transforming the humble bowl into a culinary canvas. 

It’s about personalization and customization, a blank slate begging to be adorned with vibrant proteins, fresh vegetables, and bold sauces, each element carefully chosen to sing in harmony. It’s a visual feast, a kaleidoscope of colors and textures tantalizing the eyes before tantalizing the palate. It’s interactive, playful, and constantly evolving, inviting you to be your own chef, to sculpt your own masterpiece one delicious bite at a time. 

Poke bowls aren’t just meals; they’re an experience, a celebration of freshness, flavor, and creativity. ch

Chickpeas over Seafood

Poke is a traditional dish from Hawaii, simply a light meal of cooked rice topped with cubes of raw fish and dressed with a salty sauce. It’s fresh and filling. Modern foodies have made it their own, and poke is now associated with a bowl of rice covered with an arrangement of colorful veggies and garnishes.

As much as I love sushi and raw fish, I don’t really like to prepare it myself. I’m a simple cook, preferring meals with little prep and cleaning and cost. So when I’m planning a poke meal, I choose alternate proteins like chickpeas and beans. Chickpeas have a tough outer layer that yield to a mushy center. They don’t have a distinct flavor, like bread, tofu or rice, so they can be eaten with almost any ingredient or sauce. 

In this recipe, I suggest using chickpeas as the protein. You’re welcome to swap it out for something you prefer. In fact, you can swap out almost any of the veggies with ones that are easy for you to access or that you prefer. It’s the sriracha sauce that gives the bowl its flavor and identity!

Tools & Prep

To prep building this poke bowl, your tasks include cleaning, cutting, and seasoning ingredients. The rice needs to be cooked, and some ingredients are better if they’re cooked until soft. Making the dressing expands the the to-do list to including whisking and mixing.

I have no problem using canned ingredients, and I buy my chickpeas in cans from Ollie’s. Purists might want to soak and cook their chickpeas themselves — go for it! 🙂 

You’ll need simple tools like a sharp knife and peeler. I steam my veggies in a cast iron pot using my induction stove or rice maker. Sometimes I roast veggies in a casserole dish inside my toaster oven. Dressings and sauces can be mixed by hand with a whisk or with a bullet-style mixer or food processor.

I like to make poke bowls as on-the-go meals, so I’ll chop and steam a pound or two of veggies (like carrots and broccoli) at a time. I’ll use what I want for now, and then toss the rest in the fridge for the next bowl. Finished dressings and sauces get put into mason jars and keep for awhile.

The Recipe

This vibrant poke bowl delivers a satisfying punch of bite-sized plant-based protein and veggies, balanced with the creamy tang of avocado and the fiery thrill of sriracha. Jenny likes to heat the veggies individually so they are soft to the bite, but use fresh, raw veggies if that’s your jam. Feel free to adjust the toppings to whatever you have on hand.

SERVINGS:TIME: 15 MINUTES SOURCE: JENNY CLAIRE

For the base
1 cup cooked rice (any will do, but Jenny prefers a short-grain sushi rice)

For the toppings
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained and cooled
1/2 cup cooked yellow squash, cut into long thin strips (julienne style)
1/2 cup cooked broccoli, cooled
1/2 cup cooked peas, cooled
1/2 cup beets, pickled and sliced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced 
Black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

For the sriracha dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise (vegan mayo for vegan option)
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (adjust to your heat preference)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of ginger powder

Instructions

Assemble Your Bowl
Place a portion of rice in a bowl so that the rice is evenly dispersed in the bowl. Divide the cooked rice between two bowls. 

Use a spoon to place each of the toppings in its own place on top of the rice. Each topping should touch but not cover its neighbor. 

Whip Up the Sriracha Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger powder. Alternatively, blend all of the ingredients in a bullet-style food processor. Adjust the sriracha for your preferred spiciness.

Drizzle and Garnish
Drizzle the toppings with the sriracha dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional).

After You Eat / Storing Poke Bowls

Poke bowls are single-serving and meant to be eaten in one sitting, but if you find yourself full before the bowl is empty, you can simply cover and store in the fridge. 

Generally, a bowl will stay fresh for up to two days, but how long you can store it depends on what ingredients you chose for your bowl. If your bowl contains raw fish, it’s best to consume the fish within a day. 

I like to take a sniff and “poke” the ingredients. If there’s an odor or if the protein is slimy, eh…better to toss than potentially get sick.

 

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