Cajun Poke Salad Recipe

The United States offers a rich patchwork of different cuisines, each more enticing than the last. And you know what that means? Almost endless combinations to mix and match for fusion food that's wholly delicious!

Take, for instance, the native Hawaiian dish of poke. This dish made with diced raw fish (poke literally means "cut into chunks" in Hawaiian) has experienced increased popularity in recent years, with restaurants notably offering loads of toppings added to the core ingredients for even more flavor, texture, and color. When registered dietitian Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert, the recipe developer behind Wholly Nourished, got her hands on the concept, she decided to marry this traditional Hawaiian dish with the Cajun flavors of Louisiana — and it's a massive hit.

Cajun cuisine is bold and flavorful, and it often boasts a delightful kick of spice. Marrying Cajun flavors with this traditional Hawaiian dish is truly a stroke of genius.

Gather the ingredients for this Cajun poke salad recipe

To make this Cajun poke salad recipe, you will, of course, need the star ingredient: fish. Bachtell-Shelbert opts for tuna, and since it's served raw, go for the good stuff. "Definitely get the tuna from a quality source," she says. "I called my local fish market the morning that I made this and asked for fresh, sushi-grade tuna. They had gotten fresh in that morning!"

The tuna will be seasoned with a Cajun spice mix made with salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, pepper, and of course, cayenne pepper for some heat. The mix is shaken into a simple vinaigrette along with rice vinegar, honey, and extra-virgin olive oil.

The tuna is served on a bed of cooked brown rice and the greens of your choice. Grated carrots, corn, scallions, and avocado add more flavor, texture, and color to the bowl. Finish things off with a sriracha mayo spiked with even more smoked paprika, and you're ready to dig in!

Make the Cajun spice mixture for your Cajun poke salad recipe

To make this Cajun poke salad recipe, first thing's first: You've got to make the Cajun spice blend that will form the backbone of the rest of the bowl. To make it, simply stir together the salt, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, and pepper. Add one teaspoon of smoked paprika, reserving the rest for the spicy sriracha mayo. 

This spice mix will be used to season the vinaigrette, but you can also double the recipe and use leftovers to season your favorite seafood, grilled chicken breasts, or even popcorn!

Marinate the tuna in Cajun vinaigrette

Next up, it's time to make the Cajun vinaigrette to season this Cajun poke salad recipe. Simply add the rice vinegar, honey, Cajun spice mixture, and olive oil to a jar, and shake to combine.

Next, turn your attention to the tuna: It will need to be sliced into even, bite-sized chunks (about half an inch or so). Place the tuna chunks in a glass bowl, and toss with two tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Set the tuna aside to marinate while you finish the rest of the salad, and reserve the remaining vinaigrette — you'll use it to season the greens later.

While poke is traditionally made with raw fish, if you're not super into the idea, never fear: Shelbert has a solution. "If people are not comfortable with raw tuna, a great option is to put it on a gas grill or in a grill pan," she says. "Grill about four minutes on each side."

Make the spiced sriracha sauce for this Cajun poke salad recipe

The last element to prepare before assembling and serving this Cajun poke salad recipe is the spiced sriracha sauce. To make it, just stir together the mayo, hot sauce, and remaining quarter of a teaspoon of smoked paprika.

Bachtell-Shelbert opts for sriracha in this recipe, which is a Thai-style hot sauce with loads of garlic and a touch of sweetness. If you want to add an even more Cajun kick to this recipe, swap it out for pepper sauce like Tabasco, Crystal, or Frank's Red Hot. This type of hot sauce is thinner and more vinegar-based, so it will make for a looser, slightly more acidic finishing touch to your Cajun poke salad recipe.

Assemble the Cajun poke salad recipe

Now that all of the different elements for the Cajun poke salad recipe are ready, it's time to assemble! Start by dividing the salad greens between two bowls. Bachtell-Shelbert uses mixed baby lettuces, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Drizzle the greens with Cajun vinaigrette to your taste.

Next, top each bowl with a mound of brown rice — warm, if possible. "I used warm to have the contrast of warm rice against cold tuna," says Bachtell-Shelbert. Then divide the carrots, corn, scallions, and avocado evenly among the bowls. Finish things off with the tuna, and then drizzle with the spicy mayo.

Cajun Poke Salad Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Cajun cuisine often boasts a delightful kick of spice. Marrying Cajun flavors with this traditional Hawaiian dish is truly a stroke of genius.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Cajun poke salad recipe
Total time: 15 minutes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne, depending on your heat preference
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces sushi-grade tuna, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 cups loose greens of choice, baby lettuces used here
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup corn
  • ⅓ cup scallions
  • ½ avocado, sliced
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  1. To make the Cajun spice mixture, add the salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, cayenne, oregano, and pepper to a small bowl. Stir.
  2. To make the Cajun vinaigrette, in a small jar, add the rice vinegar, honey, the Cajun spice mixture, and the olive oil. Place a lid on the jar and shake until combined.
  3. Place the tuna in a glass bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the Cajun vinaigrette. Set aside.
  4. To make the spiced sriracha sauce, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Start making the poke salads by dividing the salad greens between two salad bowls. Drizzle the salad greens with the desired amount of Cajun vinaigrette.
  6. Place ½ cup of brown rice in the center of each salad bowl.
  7. Divide the carrots, corn, scallions, and avocado evenly between the bowls.
  8. Top each bowl with even amounts of tuna.
  9. Drizzle the tuna with the spicy sriracha mayonnaise.
  10. Serve and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 740
Total Fat 47.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 49.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.0 g
Dietary Fiber 8.6 g
Total Sugars 10.7 g
Sodium 752.1 mg
Protein 33.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe