Plant Based Poke with Beets and Macadamia Nuts

Here’s how you can get in on the current poke craze… without exposing yourself to the mercury contamination that can happen when you consume large predatory fish such as tuna.

Want to learn more? Check out my blog post about What You Need to Know About the Poke Craze.

Recipe adapted from The Poke Cookbook by Martha Cheng (via Washington Post)

  • plant based poke
  • plant based poke monica metz

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side


  • 3 medium beets (about 1 pound), scrubbed. Trim the beet stems, leaving about 1/2 inch intact
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup dried wakame (dried sea vegetable; look for it in the Asian foods aisle) — soak in water for about 5 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice, or 1 drop of *edible* ginger essential oil (such as DOterra)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or a squeeze of sriracha)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green parts only)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped


  • Step 1

    If steaming on the stovetop: Place the beets in a metal steamer basket set in a saucepan filled with an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Steam until the beets are easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and let cool.

  • Step 2

    If using an Instant Pot to steam the beets: Add 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot insert (i.e., the "pot" part). Then place a steamer basket inside and place the beets inside the steamer basket. Arrange the beets in a single layer so they cook evenly. Then, lock the lid, and make sure the valve on the lid is set at "Sealing." Press the manual button and set for 15 minutes. For larger beets, you might want to set it for 20 or 25 minutes.

    When the timer reaches zero, turn off the Instant Pot, and manually release the pressure by turning the lid valve to "Venting." Do this carefully, keeping your face and body away from the steam.

    Once all of the steam has been released (no more hissing sound), unlock the lid. If a sharp knife is easily inserted into the beets, they're done. However, if they're still hard, repeat the steaming process, setting the timer for 2-5 additional minutes.

    Once cooked, allow the beets to cool until they're easy to handle.

  • Step 3

    While the beets are steaming, you can toast the macadamia nuts. Toast them on a small baking sheet in a 250-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, shaking the pan so they brown evenly. Cool completely before using.

  • Step 4

    Now, for the seaweed (wakame)... If you are using the wakame, soak it in water until soft, about 5 minutes. Gently squeeze it dry, chop it, and transfer to a medium bowl.

    If you're rather not add that seaweed flavor, you can just skip the wakame. However, it's good to know that wakame and other sea vegetables include beneficial nutrients that can't be found in land plants. Plus, the wakame is what gives this plant based poke that ocean-inspired flavor.

  • Step 5

    Once the beets are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub off the skin (this can get a little messy, so do it over the sink).

    Careful... beets can stain your clothing and hands. If you don't want pink hands, then try scrubbing with sea salt after handling the beets. Or wash right away after handling, with plenty of soap and water. I usually just wash my hands right after handling the beets, and don't have any issues.

  • Step 6

    Cut the peeled beets into 3/4-inch chunks, so they resemble large chunks of tuna. Add to a stain-proof mixing bowl.

  • Step 7

    Then, add the chopped wakame. Add most of the scallions (reserving some for garnish).

    In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the vinegars, sesame oil, garlic, ginger juice (or edible essential oil), crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Add dressing to the beets, and fold gently until thoroughly combined. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.

  • Step 8

    To serve, arrange poke in a bowl, and garnish with the chopped avocado, reserved scallions, and toasted macadamia nuts.


monica metz
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