Primal Poke Salad

Let’s start by clarifying that the “poke” in this salad is pronounced Po-keh, and refers to pieces of raw fish flavored with tamari, onions and other seasonings. Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish and the heart and soul of this salad recipe submitted by Shaleah Poster. Shaleah’s maternal family is from Hawaii, so her Primal Poke Salad deliciously combines her heritage and her Primal lifestyle.

If you’re a sashimi lover, this salad is for you. The delicate flavor and buttery texture of raw Yellowfin tuna is complimented perfectly by the bold flavors of tamari, sesame and onion and the crisp texture of carrots, snow peas and asparagus. A garnish of sesame seeds and avocado give this light salad a rich, satisfying finish.

The simple sauce that flavors the raw tuna also acts as the main dressing for the salad, although you can take Shaleah’s suggestion and also drizzle the salad with a few teaspoons of tamari thinned with water. We also couldn’t resist adding a little more oil to the tossed greens; sesame oil adds a toasted, nutty flavor and avocado oil lends its smooth, rich texture and just a hint of extra avocado flavor.

If you invest in a bottle of avocado oil for this recipe, you can use it in place of other oils for pretty much anything you cook. The high smoke point (upwards of 500 degrees) makes avocado oil a suitable choice for sautéing, grilling or other high heat cooking. However, the buttery texture and delicate avocado flavor are often lost when subjected to high heat, so you may want to save avocado oil for drizzling over salads and already cooked meat, seafood or vegetables.

Shaleah pointed out that this recipe omits two traditional ingredients that can be hard to find stateside: kukui nuts (also known as candlenut) and limu, a type of seaweed. Correct us if we’re wrong here Shaleah, but in a pinch macadamia nuts might add a similar crunch when kukui nuts are nowhere to be found… as for the limu, check Japanese markets where a similar type of seaweed is often sold as “ogo.”

Even without these two traditional ingredients, however, we’re happy that poke (remember, it’s po-keh) has found its way into our salad bowl.

Servings: 2

Poke Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup  finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 pound sashimi grade tuna, cut into cubes
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Plenty of limu if you’re lucky enough to find it

Salad Ingredients:

  • A handful of your favorite leafy greens (a combination of delicate and crunchy greens work well, like arugula + romaine)
  • 1-2 green onions, very thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1-2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • A half dozen or so lightly cooked asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • A generous handful of snow peas, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon tahini, thinned with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1-2 tablespoons crushed sesame seeds
  • 1 Avocado, thinly sliced


For the poke, mix tamari and oils together.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently. Let chill while you make the salad.

For the salad, toss all but last two ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide the salad into individual bowls and split the poke between them. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced avocado.

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