This classic Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke recipe includes soy, sesame oil, and spices for a high-protein, luxuriously fresh dish! Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to prep and requires no actual cooking.
The moment I take a bite of ahi tuna poke, a part of me always feels like I’ve been transported to a beautiful Hawaiian beach.
It’s mild yet flavorful and so incredibly fresh, it really makes me feel like I’m there!
Why you should make this recipe
Poke is a classic Hawaiian way of preparing raw fish with soy sauce, sesame oil, and spices. It’s basically Hawaiian sushi.
It’s also one of the easiest fish dishes to make. You don’t have to cook anything. You just mix all the ingredients and eat!
I promise you, after you try this recipe just once, it will be one of your favorite healthy indulgences. It’s so easy to make yet luxurious in taste and presentation… and guaranteed to impress anyone you make it for (although fair warning, you may not want to share!)
With a simple 5-ingredient poke sauce, this Ahi Tuna Poke comes together so quickly. Check out this short ingredient list:
- ahi tuna: get the best quality sushi grade or sashimi grade as tuna poke is consumed raw; ahi tuna steaks are easier to work with but you can also use fillets, just make sure to remove the skin, bones, and any connective tissue
- low-sodium soy sauce
- sesame oil
- chili garlic sauce: for a little bit of heat; if you can’t find chili garlic sauce, use some finely chopped fresh chili
- green onions: also known as scallions or spring onions; finely chopped
- sesame seeds
- avocado: one medium-sized perfectly ripe avocado will add vibrancy and texture
This delicious dish is so easy to prepare. You can let it sit in the refrigerator for a little while, but if you skip that step, you can enjoy it in a matter of minutes!
Step 1: Rinse the ahi tuna and pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cut raw tuna into bite-sized cubes and place in a medium bowl.
Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, finely chopped green onions, and half of the sesame seeds.
Step 3: Pour the soy sauce mixture over the ahi cubes and toss until each piece of tuna is nicely coated. If desired, you can transfer ahi tuna poke to the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, up to 24 hours, to let the flavors meld.
Step 4: Cut the avocado into small cubes and gently fold it into the tuna poke before serving.
Step 5: Garnish with remaining sesame seeds on top and serve.
How easy was that? That’s why I love making this dish when I’m having guests over or just craving something wonderfully fresh and healthy.
If you plan to let your poke sit in the fridge, you can decide whether you want to add the avocado before or after.
If you add it before, it will absorb more flavors, but the dish will look a little more “messy” because of the creaminess of the avocado. On the other hand, if you add the avocado right before serving, the presentation will be a little cleaner.
It’s entirely up to you! Both versions will be delicious.
If you want to reduce the calories or fat in this dish, you can use a little less avocado and sesame oil. The ahi is pure protein, and all the fats are healthy, but a whole avocado can be a little calorie dense if you are trying to lose weight.
All ahi tuna poke recipes use essentially the same base (ahi tuna, soy sauce, and sesame oil). From there, you can use any spices you prefer; but be careful not to overwhelm the mild ahi flavor.
I like a little kick to my poke, so I use chili garlic sauce and green onions.
You should be able to get all the ingredients other than the ahi tuna in most grocery stores. If you can’t find chili garlic sauce, you can use a little finely chopped fresh chili instead.
Ahi tuna poke is traditionally served over a bowl of sticky sushi rice with a pair of chopsticks. Some love adding toppings like sliced cucumber, onion, pickled jalapenos, seaweed, and red pepper flakes for extra heat.
You can use cold (previously cooked) riced cauliflower and your favorite toppings to make low-carb and keto ahi poke bowl.
If you don’t want to fuss with any of that, these delicious tuna cubes can be served as tuna kobachi in a small bowl garnished with sesame seeds.
Raw fish food safety
Because we’re using all raw ingredients, you want to ensure that you’re using super fresh, high-quality fish. When planning to make poke, I only buy my ahi tuna from Whole Foods or a good fish market.
When selecting tuna for poke, look for sushi-grade or sashimi-grade tuna that is safe for raw consumption. Additionally, freezing tuna for a few days may kill any parasites commonly found in fish.
It would be best to eat the poke fairly soon after preparing it. The soy and sesame oil sauce isn’t a marinade (it doesn’t change the texture of the fish), so there is no reason to let it sit in the fridge for more than an hour.
Out of convenience, you can prepare ahi tuna poke for up to 24 hours but no longer. It’s such a simple recipe with only 10-20 minutes of prep time that you can dig in right away and it will still taste fantastic!
Because of the raw ahi tuna in this dish, I don’t recommend making it ahead of time. Instead, try to make it close to when you plan to serve, and only make as much as you believe will be eaten.
If you do find yourself with leftovers, try not to let them sit out too long. Quickly store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and make sure to eat them within 24 hours.
A serving of ahi tuna poke is packed with 30 grams of protein and only 3.9 grams of net carbs. It’s a refreshing and delicious meal for those who are low-carb or keto.
I would caution you to watch the sodium in the soy sauce and make sure you’re using low-sodium soy sauce.
This protein-dense tuna meal is delightful on its own, but you can also bump up the fiber by topping your tuna bowl with low-carb vegetables.
Frequently asked questions
The term “ahi” means tuna in Hawaiian and it usually refers to a species of tuna known as yellowfin tuna. In culinary terms, it’s often referred to as sushi or sashimi-grade tuna that is meant to be consumed raw or rare.
Traditionally, raw ahi tuna or raw yellowfin tuna is the choice of fish for poke. Any sushi or sashimi-grade tuna can be used for poke, whether it is a steak cut or fillet. Tuna is one of the fish that is safe to consume raw. Other seafood like salmon has also been used in poke recipes.
Sushi grade means that the fish is safe to be consumed raw and is of the highest quality. The best way to make sure your tuna is sushi grade is to check the label and confirm with your fishmonger. To be classified as sushi grade, it has to have been frozen on the boat after being caught. Inspecting the tuna visually is always good practice. Look for a pale pink color with possibly a strip of darker meat running through the steaks.
Other healthy seafood recipes
If you have followed Diabetes Strong for a while, you know that I have a few different ahi poke recipes!
Make sure to check out my slightly fancier version of this recipe, Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts. Both are easy to make and delicious, so pick the one you like best and get poke’ing!
And if you’re looking for a few more healthy and tasty seafood recipes, here are some of my other favorites:
You can also check out this roundup of healthy low-carb seafood recipes for even more options!
When you’ve tried this tuna poke recipe, please don’t forget to let me know how you liked it and rate the recipe in the comments below!
Ahi Tuna Poke
- Rinse the ahi tuna and pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cut raw tuna into bite-sized cubes.½ lbs ahi tuna steaks
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, finely chopped green onions, and half of the sesame seeds.2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, 2 sprigs green onions, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Pour the soy sauce mixture over ahi cubes and toss until each piece of tuna is well coated. You can transfer to the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, up to 24 hours,to let the flavors meld.
- Combine the ahi tuna cubes and the sesame oil mixture and mix until each piece of the tuna is nicely coated. You can then put it in the fridge for at least 10-20 minutes to let the flavors meld, but it’s not required.
- Cut the avocado into small cubes and gently fold it into the tuna poke before serving.1 avocado, diced
- Garnish with remaining sesame seeds on top and serve.
- If you can’t find chili garlic sauce, you can substitute a little finely chopped fresh chili.
- If you are letting the poke sit in the fridge, you can add the avocado before or after. Before allows it more time to absorb flavors, after makes for a cleaner presentation.
- You can also omit the avocado and reduce the sesame oil to reduce the calories in this dish.