Vegan Poke Bowl Topped with Dynamite Sauce

Vegan Poke Bowl Topped with Dynamite Sauce

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A large vegan poke bowl filled with crispy tofu, loads of veggies, rice and topped with a sweet dynamite sauce!
One bite and this will be your flavorful nutritious go-to in a bowl!

What is a Vegan Poke Bowl

Poke bowls seem to be all the rage the last few years. After I had my first poke bowl I knew why they were so popular, they are absolutely delicious!

The poke bowls originate from Hawaii and have their flavor roots in Japanese sushi. The word “Poke” literally means cut into pieces. Poke began with Hawaiian fishermen seasoning the cut-offs of fish. Poke in the most literal terms is pieces of fish that are seasoned with soy sauce.

While I love poke bowls, the truth is I really love the sushi flavors that are in a poke bowl. However, the fish, I am not so fond of. To enjoy all the great flavors of a poke bowl, I substituted tofu for fish and made this a vegan poke bowl. The tofu is coated in corn starch, marinated in a soy wasabi sauce, and baked crispy. This makes the tofu the perfect complement to all the great traditional bowl flavors!

Vegan Poke Bowl with most of the layers built. Rice, red cabbage, edamame, tofu, avocado
Vegan Poke Bowl Layers 1 – 3

How to Make a Bowl

I think of vegan poke bowls similar to a trip to Chipotle. The ingredients are interchangeable based on your personal preferences. Much like a Chipotle bowl, build your poke bowl with five layers.

Rice – Layer 1

Rice is the foundation of a poke bowl. I personally love sticky rice. However sticky rice takes a full day to make, which is a long time for even me, a person dedicated to the slow cooking process. So for this, I used a shortcut and bought VeeTee Rice & Tasty Thai Jasmine. This rice is sticky and perfect for a poke bowl.

An alternative is to use a bowl of short white rice and add vinegar and sugar. Start by making 2 cups of rice. Then mix 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Microwave the vinegar and sugar combination until the sugar is dissolved (20 – 30 seconds). In a large bowl, mix the vinegar/sugar combination with 2 cups of rice. Let cool for five minutes and you have a great poke bowl rice.

Protein – Layer 2

Tofu is my protein of choice. I baked it and it was perfect. However if you prefer a different protein you could use a marinated packaged tofu, tempeh, jackfruit, or beans. This layer is interchangeable with your favorite protein.

A cutting board with shredded carrots, red cabbage and peeler
Pealed carrots and cut cabbage

Veggies – Layer 3

This bowl is loaded up with carrots, edamame, avocado, and red cabbage. The combination is delicious! Other veggies (and fruits) that would taste delicious include: cucumbers, radishes, pineapple, mango, and green onion. Really, the sky is the limit. Have fun and get creative with favors!

Dressing – Layer 4

I was craving dynamite sauce, however, I get that is not everyone’s favorite sauce. Substitutes include tahini or white miso dressing.

Zazz – Layer 5

Top off your bowl with some zazz. I sprinkled this bowl with nori (dried seaweed), other zazz includes jalapeños, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and/or fried onion.

A bowl with rice and avocado.  Four small bowls with veggies and tofu.  Dressing in a measuring cup.  Sheets of nori.
Vegan Poke Bowl Layer Prep

About Tofu

Tofu is one of those ingredients that takes some practice to get used to making. If you’re new to tofu, do not fear, it’s actually easier than you might think. If making tofu is not your thing, you can buy flavored tofu at the store. I get it and no judgment!

Buying tofu –

When buying tofu you must decide the type of firmness tofu you prefer – medium, firm, extra firm are the most common types. I only ever buy the extra firm. However, this is 100% a personal preference. My all-time favorite brand of tofu comes from Trader Joe’s. They have the firmest tofu I have ever found and it is perfect to cook with.

Pressing tofu –

Tofu comes in water and in order to achieve maximum flavor, the water has to be removed. This can only be achieved by “pressing” it out. There are several different methods and it can seem overwhelming. However, my recommendation is to not overthink it. It’s actually about placing something heaving and forcing the water out of the tofu block.

My two suggestions are

#1 – Place a towel over the tofu and place something heavy on top, like a cast iron pan or a regular pan. Then place something heavy in the pan, like cans of food, and let the tofu sit for 30 – 60 minutes.

#2 – My second suggestion is to buy a tofu press. A tofu press is two pieces of plastic or bamboo that are held together with screws. The press is placed on its side and then the scores are tightened even 3 – 5 minutes for 15 – 30 minutes. I personally prefer the press and I use this one.

Cubed tofu with corn starch dusted on top.  Fine mesh sleeve on the side.
Tofu Blocks

How to prepare the tofu

When making tofu you have to decide how to prepare it. The most common ways are baking, stovetop, and frying. All three have their merits. I personally prefer to bake tofu because it is so much cleaner. It’s like cooking your root vegetables on the stovetop or oven roasting. I will choose oven roasting every time!

Corn starch –

Corn starch is the key to making tofu just that crispy. This is a personal preference, but this is the only way I like my tofu. Extra-firm and crispy, but not fried crispy, that’s a little different.

To apply the corn starch you can toss it or dust it. Both ways have pros and cons. By tossing the tofu in corn starch you get an even coat. However, you have to be very gentle because the tofu can start to crumble. If you dust the tofu with corn starch, you will be able to coat the tofu on top and on the sides, but the bottom will not be coated. I prefer to dust the tofu to keep the tofu from crumbling and maintain the visual appeal.

Flavor/Marinate –

The great thing about tofu, it is a flavor conductor. It picks up the flavor of what you marinate or cook with it. For this poke bowl, I used the flavors I dip sushi in, soy sauce, and lots of wasabi! The flavor was fantastic. If that’s not your taste preference, you can use hoisin, miso, or teriyaki sauce to name a few.

Resources –

Pinch of Yum has an excellent video about making tofu. Click here to watch on how to prepare and four different ways to make tofu. This is a great video and will help prepare you into making tofu.

Vegan Poke Bowl Storage

To store, place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. I would recommend removing the avocado. While it can last, I think they are always best fresh.

Finished vegan poke bowl topped with dynamite sauce and nori
Finished Vegan Poke Bowl
Vegan Poke Bowl With Dynamite Sauce by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

In the mood for something else? Try one of my other favorite bowls, winter roasted veggie bowl.

Vegan Poke Bowl Topped with Dynamite Sauce

A large vegan poke bowl filled with crispy tofu, loads of veggies, rice and topped with a sweet dynamite sauce! One bite and this will be your flavorful nutritious go-to in a bowl!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Hawaiian, Japanese
Servings 2


  • Baking sheet
  • Large bowl


  • 1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled
  • 1 avocado, sliced thin
  • 1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tofu block, cube
  • 4-6 sheets nori, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Tofu Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste (optional)


  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Dynamite Sauce/Dressing

  • ¼ cup veganaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar



  • Press the tofu to remove the water. Once the water has been removed, cut the tofu into small cubes.
  • Toss or dust the tofu in corn starch.
  • Mix the sauce (rice vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, and garlic) and pour over the tofu. Sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Arrange tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the tofu at 425 for 25 – 30 minutes until tofu is crispy on the edges.


  • Prepare rice as directed.
  • (Optional) Microwave vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved (20 – 30 seconds)
  • Mix rice with the vinegar and sugar. Stand until cool.

Dynamite Sauce/Dressing

  • Combine veganaise, sriracha and rice vinegar.


  • Place one cup of rice in each bowl. Begin to layer each bowl with tofu and prepared veggies. Top with Dynamite dressing and nori (optional).


This dish is very flexible and it is easy to add or delete any of the ingredients. I recommend changing to personal taste as desired.
I have one full teaspoon of wasabi in the sauce used in the tofu.  This is a personal preference.  Add, decrease, or omit to desired taste.
Please write in the comments, like, and share this recipe.  I love to hear your thoughts!
Keyword Bowl, Poke, Tofu, Vegan, Veggies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to Make Dulce de Leche

How to Make Dulce de Leche

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Dulce de Leche
My translation, caramelized heavenly milk
Actual translation, candy made from milk
Universal translation, damn that’s good!

What is Dulce de Leche?

For those of you who are new to dulce de leche, it is probably easiest to think of it as sweetened caramelized milk. It is made by reducing milk and sugar over low heat. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to make, but like homemade caramel, it’s worth the work.

The exact origins of this sweet treat are a debate. Most believe that dulce de leche originated in Argentina. However, this is a continuous point and many Latin American countries claim to create this luscious sauce. Me, I say I don’t care who created it. I am just glad they did. So on behalf of American dulce de leche lovers, thank you, whoever you are (or were).

As much as I love it, I am embarrassed to admit that I did not discover dulce de leche until 2012. To be fair, I have been narrow in my dessert options until the last decade. However, I was getting married that summer and we wanted to offer two different types of desserts. We were eating at one of my favorite Denver restaurants, Tony P’s, and that is where I was introduced to dulce de leche. Tony’s cake introduced me to a whole new world of flavor. (Thank you, Tony!)

Dulce de Leche Coffee Cake and Coffee

What is the Difference Between Dulce de Leche, Caramel and Butterscotch?

The truth is dulce de leche, caramel, and butterscotch are all very smilier and yet still very different. It took me some time before I could tell the difference between the three. Here is how I think of the differences…

Dulce de leche is made from slowly cooking milk and sugar together at a low temperature. The caramel color comes from the browning of the milk. Some recipes, including mine, use baking soda. By adding baking soda the cooking process is sped up (but note it still takes a long time to make).

Caramel is made from cooking granulated sugar at a high temperature. As the sugar melts, it caramelizes. To achieve caramelization, the temperature must reach between 240 – 245 degrees.

Butterscotch is made from cooking brown sugar with butter, also at a high temperature. Butterscotch has a sweeter flavor than caramel. It is also softer than caramel.

Easiest way to think of it…

  • Dulce de Leche = Milk +Sugar
  • Caramel = Sugar
  • Butterscotch = Brown Sugar + Butter

Dulce de Leche Pour

What Can I Use it With?

I use dulce de leche where caramel is often used. In fact, I created this batch to use in a coffee cake recipe I am developing. There is enough leftover that I will also be using to make cinnamon rolls. Aka, there will be lots of dulce de leche recipes coming your way! Here are a few other places I think you will enjoy it.

Use as a topping on

  • Budino
  • Sundae’s
  • Ice cream
  • Doughnuts
  • Cheesecakes
  • Brownies/blondies
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes

Use as a filling with

  • Cookies
  • Macaron’s
  • Cakes
  • Crapes
  • Swiss roll cake
  • Trifle
  • Tarts
  • Chocolate

Use as a dip/mix with

  • Apples
  • Popcorn
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Marshmallow
  • Pretzels
  • Coffee
  • Granola
Dulce de Leche across dough

How do I make It?

There are two common ways to make dulce de leche. One is the traditional Argentinian way and the other is using condensed milk. For this recipe, I am going to focus on the traditional Argentinian way. It is a slow process, but to be honest, I like the slow process. While the milk is caramelizing there is time to do other things in the kitchen. Just make sure you stay close towards the end so that you can stir the milk often.

What you'll need
1 Cinnamon Stick
(1 cup)
Baking Soda
(1/4 teaspoon)
Dark Corn Syrup
(1 tablespoon)
Whole Milk
(4 cups)
Add milk, sugar, dark corn syrup, cinnamon stick. Stir.
Bring to a boil and then add baking soda.
Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically.
Stir more towards the end to avoid burning. Quantity should reduce to 1 cup
Cool for an hour. The end result is thicker and darker.
Use it as a topping, on desserts or with sweets. Can be stored up to one month in the refrigerator.
For written instructions visit Life on Westerly Creek
Check out my other content @lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.
Dulce de Leche Jar and Spoon

Dulce de Leche Recipe

Dulce de Leche is sweetened caramelized milk that is perfect with coffee, cakes, crepes, macarons, ice cream, and a million other things.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Sauces
Cuisine argentinian, hispanic, Latin American


  • Heavy saucepan



  • In a heavy saucepan over medium heat add milk, sugar, dark corn syrup, and cinnamon stick and stir.
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a low simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture.
  • Continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
    **About an hour into the process, stir more often to prevent the milk from burning.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  • Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.


Dulce de Leche by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.
Keyword Caramel, Dulce de Leche
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Authentic New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Authentic New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Recipe for Authentic New Mexico Red Chile Sauce is perfect for huevos rancheros, enchilada’s, burrito’s, eggs and so much more!

I can honestly say, I don’t think there is anything better than New Mexico cuisine. New Mexico is distinctive because of its sauces, red and green chile. In the ’80s, my mother would buy burritos from the grocery store smothered in red, green, or Christmas chile (smothered in 1/2 red and 1/2 green). At the time I did not know these sauces were distinctively New Mexican.

New Mexican food is different in that it has evolved over a few hundred years. It is a fusion of Pueblo Native American’s, with Hispano Spanish and Mexican cuisine (thank you Wikipedia for that ). The distinctive ingredient of New Mexican food is the chile. There is a green chile and a red chile. The red chile is actually the green chile ripened (I just found that out. Mind blown!)

While everyone in my family prefers the green chile, I actually prefer the New Mexico Red Chile sauce. It has a rich flavor from the tomato sauce and a spicy kick! I love red chile sauce so much that I always have a jar of New Mexico Red Chile sauce on hand. Some of my favorite foods to put Red Chile sauce on are eggs, beans, enchilada’s, burritos, nachos, quesadillas even cottage cheese. Hands down New Mexico Red Chile Sauce is THE key ingredient in huevos rancheros, my absolute favorite.

As a general rule of thumb if you think of it as Mexican food, I can make it New Mexican by adding red chile to it!

Buying New Mexico Red Chile’s

For us, buying, cleaning, and preparing the chilies is a fall tradition. They are sold at many roadsides stands across the west (New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, and California). We buy our chile’s by the bushel, watch them being fire-roasted, take them home, clean them (remove the seeds) and pack them in bags of 10 to freeze. Over the course of the year, we open the bags, make large batches of chile and jar them. It might sound like a lot, but once you have had New Mexico Red Chile you will understand that it is worth the work!

Another option is to buy the chilies dried at your grocery store or at Amazon. The dried chilies are very easy to hydrate. I do find that they do not have as much “kick” as the fresh red chile’s do. To overcome that I would use more dried red chile’s that I use fresh.

It is worth noting, I like my New Mexico Red Chile Sauce hot. Probably hotter than most people. You can adjust the spice by reducing (or increasing) the number of red chilies used in the sauce. If your new to this type of sauce, I would start with adding in one chile at a time in the blender. Dab a finger in to taste and repeat until you find the taste and temperature that you prefer.

How to Hydrate the Red Chile’s

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Place the chile’s on the baking sheet and place them in the oven for 20 minutes
  • Once the chile’s have cooled, removed the seeds from the pods (I recommend wearing gloves for this step)
  • Fill a large pot with enough cold water to cover the red chiles and bring to a boil.
  •  Once it comes to a simmer, cover and turns off the heat to steam for about 10 minutes.
  • Using tongs, remove the chile’s from the water and set them aside.

Read this Before Working with Chile’s

This recipe is so so easy, you pretty much do a little cooking and then put everything in the blender! However, one important thing to note is that these chilis can be hot and their oil can stay on your hands. Before working with them I always remove my contacts and wear gloves. Once the oil gets on your hands it’s hard to get off, so please always remove your contacts before working with chilies and wear gloves if it all possible.

Making New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Once you have decided on the chile’s, prepared them (while wearing gloves). It’s time to get making this amazing sauce.

  1. Dice the onions and the garlic.
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan to heat the oil (about one minute). Then add the onions and saute for two minutes over medium heat.
  3. While sauteing the onions, add the spices to allow the seasonings to incorporate into the onions.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for one additional minute.
  5. Transfer the saute onions and garlic to a blender.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  7. The sauce is ready to serve. You can store this sauce for one week in the refrigerator or can enjoy it all winter.

Authentic New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Spicy New Mexico Red Chile Sauce is perfect for eggs, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, burritos, stuffed poblano peppers and so much more! I like it on pretty much everything!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course American
Cuisine New Mexican
Servings 32 ounces of sauce


  • Blender



RED CHILE METHODS (Choose the appropriate method based on your chile)

    Dry Red Chile Method

    • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
    • Place the chile's on the baking sheet and place them in the oven for 20 minutes
    • Once the chilis have cooled, removed the seeds from the pods (I recommend wearing gloves for this step)
    • Fill a a large pot with enough cold water to cover the red chilis and bring to a boil.
    • Once it comes to a simmer, cover and turns off the heat to steam for about 10 minutes.
    • Using tongs, remove the chile's from the water and set them aside.

    Fresh Red Chile Method

    • Wearing gloves, remove the seeds from the pods and set them aside.

    Making the Sauce

    • Dice the onion and saute on medium heat for 2 minutes. While sauteing add the salt, Mexican oregano, and cumin.
    • Dice or slice the garlic and add to the onions, saute for another minute.
    • Once the onions become translucent, add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Then remove from heat.
    • Combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.


    Caspian in the red chile’s is very hot.  I find that once this is on my hands it takes a day or two to fully remove. As a result, I recommend removing contacts prior to working with red chilis and ALWAYS wear gloves.
    Keyword Authentic Red Chile Sauce, Bread, Enchalada Sauce, Hot Sauce, New Mexico Red Chile, New Mexico Sauces, Vegan Red Chile, Vegan Sauce, Vegitarian Red Chile
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!