How to prepare the perfect poke salad (even without fish), the nutritionist's advice

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Elia Tabuenca García

The nutritionist's advice to prepare a perfect, good and healthy poke at home, even in a vegetarian version

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For some time now the pokè bowl or poke have also been popular in our country and, especially in this period of strong heat, many people choose them as a single dish to be consumed for lunch or dinner. But how to best prepare them from a nutritional point of view? We asked “our” nutritionist for help.

Poke is a single dish that can be made up of different ingredients: vegetables, fish, cereals and more. There are many versions even if, originally, the traditional Hawaiian dish is prepared with white rice, raw fish (usually tuna or marinated salmon), seaweed, avocado and vegetables.

We asked the nutritionist Flavio Pettirossi for help to compose a poke that is not only good but also provides us with all the useful nutrients and can really be considered a perfect single dish. Here's what he told us.

The main protagonist of the classic version of the pokè bowl is fresh fish, especially raw or marinated, cut into cubes and seasoned. Pokè means "cut into pieces" and was the fishermen's meal prepared with the remains of the day's catch, combined with rice and vegetables and served in a bowl (hence the term bowl). Poke is a dish that in itself consists of few ingredients but with a high nutritional value. It has an average energy intake of 300/400 kcal, deriving from complex carbohydrates (rice), high biological value proteins (fish), omega 3 and omega 6 fats (oil, avocado, dried fruit), as well as containing vitamins and minerals . In addition, it is lactose and gluten free and is therefore also suitable for lactose / gluten intolerances or celiac disease.


The ingredients of the poke

Doctor Pettirossi shows us which are the main ingredients of the poke:

  • Raw or marinated fish (swordfish, tuna, salmon or seafood therefore with a large intake of omega 3);
  • Rice, brown rice or cereals (whole grains provide a fair amount of fiber, I also recommend trying to create a pokè with quinoa too);
  • Raw vegetables (which allows to keep all their nutritional properties intact);
  • Sea salt or algae;
  • To these basic ingredients today others are added such as avocado, mango, edamame or dried fruit or oil seeds.

How to make a perfect poke

To make a perfect poke from a nutritional point of view it is good to:

  • Insert a large amount of raw vegetables (remember that vegetables increase the sense of satiety, are rich in fiber, vitamins and mineral salts such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins B and C, antioxidants and folic acid);
  • Prefer Whole grains (I often use black or wholemeal rice);
  • Choose fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids as a protein source, such as salmon and tuna, preferably raw or steamed;
  • Also add a source of unsaturated fatty acids such as nuts, oil seeds or avocado;
  • Limit sauces especially soy sauces as it is rich in sodium and therefore not suitable for those suffering from hypertension (if you really can't do without it, use the low-sodium version);
  • Limit the use of salt, preferring spices and lemon juice

Poke without fish

Those who do not consume fish can safely avoid adding it by replacing it with excellent plant alternatives.

For those who have chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, this dish can be reproduced in a versatile and tasty way by substituting other ingredients for fish.
Maintaining the carbohydrate base (always wholemeal or using quinoa), you can replace the fish with cubed tofu or alternatively tempeh or seitan, for the dressing you can use soy sauce (always without exaggerating), sesame oil or lime juice.
In addition to vegetables (always in abundance) this dish can also be enriched with sprouts, rich in active enzymes that are very beneficial for health, for example soybean sprouts, alpha-alpha (alfalfa), leek or broccoli.

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Read also:

  • Everyone is crazy about poke salads, but few know the risks of those with tuna or salmon
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