Marinated Tuna Grain Bowls with Sweet + Spicy Pickled Radishes

Marinated Tuna Grain Bowls with Sweet + Spicy Pickled Radishes

I had it in my head to make these while I was vacationing in Maryland last week.  I had a lot of fun there, but it was so hard to eat healthy– a lot of pizza, sandwiches, and wine.  After a week like that, my body literally craved fresh, clean flavors.  All I’ve been wanting to eat since I got home have has been this bowl (which is hardly any cooking), watermelon, and some vegetarian dishes.  

This actual recipe is all assembling.  You can (and should) make the quinoa ahead of time so it can come to room temperature.  When I make quinoa or rice, I like to make a big batch and repurpose it throughout the week.  It goes in the bowls, and I plan to use it in veggie burgers later in the week, but you can also add it to casseroles or stuffed peppers!  Make ahead–  it’s the best kitchen tip I have. 

So this dish is really not even cooking.  The radishes can “pickle” as the tuna marinates.  When I say pickle, I don’t mean old fashioned canning like boiling jars on the stove.  I don’t know how to do that.  These radishes will last for at least 3 days in the fridge, but the recipe doesn’t make that many, so don’t worry –you’re not going to be loaded down with radishes.

You can always use brown rice instead of quinoa, but I’ve been into quinoa lately (welcome aaa.jpgto 2012, Bette).  

I am lucky to live really close to the ocean (or Chesapeake Bay), and there’s a really good seafood shop about a half mile from my house.  I went in to get a mixture of salmon and tuna, and they were out of salmon.  This place is soooo fresh — I said I’ll take all tuna, and one of the fisherman went to cut one fresh for me.  I’m not a snob about ingredients (not by food blog standards — I mostly shop at Wal Mart!), but I will not buy “fresh” seafood from anywhere except a seafood market.  This recipe NEEDS fresh fish.  If it’s going into a stew or soup, frozen is fine. But not here.

If you can’t find fresh tuna, use fresh salmon.  And if you can’t find either substitute cooked shrimp– you can saute or roast them, and then toss them in the marinade as a little salad.  Don’t ever substitute subpar quality fish though –it’s not worth it.  

I have one more tip for you.  See, I always tend to overestimate how much food I want. Especially in this case because I was dying for raw fish.  2 pounds is a lot, especially when you add in the quinoa and veggies.  I looked for tips on the shelf life of poke and sushi.  It’s about a day, and it will never be as fresh or tasty as it was the first time.  One tip was to pan fry the leftovers.  That is a great idea, right?  Thank you, internet.  The next morning, I heated up a pan with some coconut oil cooking spray and sauteed the tuna over medium to medium high heat, tossing a few times during the process.  It took about 8 minutes to cook.  Now you could try to make the raw bowl again the next day, but if I eat a bad version of something I love, it can ruin it for me forever.  I don’t want bad sushi memories.  The cooked tuna will keep another day or 2 and taste delicious over the grains again or on a salad…or even in a wrap!  


TotalTime:  2 hours, 30 minutes (hands on time: 30 minutes)

Serves: 3-4

Difficulty Level: Easy


For the Grain Bowls


1 recipe Perfectly Cooked Quinoa, at room temperature

Marinated Ahi Tuna, recipe follows

Pickled Radishes, recipe follows

Seedless cucumber, diced

Avocado, sliced

Fresh lime juice



  1. Assemble the grain bowls by first adding a scoop of the cooked quinoa to the bottom of a large bowl.
  2. Arrange desired amount of tuna, pickled radishes, cucumber, and avocado. Squeeze with fresh lime juice and enjoy.



For Marinated Ahi Tuna


2 pounds fresh ahi tuna, diced into bite sized chunks

½ cup fresh chopped scallions

1/3 cup minced red onion

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 -2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 lime, zested and juiced

Sea salt, to taste



  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Serve cold.

**Inspired by this recipe from Hawaii Magazine.  


For the Sweet + Spicy Pickled Radishes


8-10 Radishes, sliced on a mandolin or otherwise very thinlyc.jpg

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried chives



  1. Add all ingredients to a pint mason jar. Add the lid, and shake to combine.  Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.