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Sesame Tuna Quinoa Bowl with Peanut Sauce

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

This peanut sauce will last in the fridge for months. Keep it in a little jar or Tupperware. It’s delicious on everything from chicken to steak, veggies to rice, even on eggs or noodles. If you don’t like rare tuna, see substitutions for using a different fish because Ahi is too expensive to cook all the way through!


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 112 cups Water
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons Canola Oil divided)
  • 2 cups Sugar Snap Peas (destrung)
  • 2 Carrots (small)
  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 12 cup Chopped Peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon White Sesame Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Black Sesame Seeds (sub all white seeds if you can't find these)
  • 34 pound Ahi Tuna Steak
  • 12 cup Peanut Butter (smooth ideally)
  • 13 cup Soy Sauce (we love tamari)
  • 14 cup Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 13 cup Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha (optional but recommended)
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar (optional but recommended)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger (about 1" knob)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. QUINOA

    Place 1 cup quinoa, 1 ½ cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a pot with a fitted lid and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir well, then reduce to medium low and partially cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, then stir well. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the water is absorbed and stir again. Then turn off the heat and cover. Let it sit.


    Add all ingredients to a blender (that's the: peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic) and blend until very smooth. If you have a bullet blender for smoothies, use that. If you want to avoid a machine all together - add the peanut butter to a glass bowl and microwave it for 35 seconds. Finely mince the garlic and ginger, small as you can (or grate it on a microplane grater) and whisk it in. Add the other ingredients and whisk to combine.

  • 3. VEGGIES

    Trim the snap peas to remove the strings as needed. Use a large saute pan and set to medium high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan (½ teaspoon) and when hot and shimmery, add the peas. Cook, stirring or flipping a few times, for just 2-3 minutes until they’re bright green and just cooked. Transfer to a plate and turn off the heat under the pan.

    Slice carrots into very thin rounds.

    Dice cucumbers into rounds or small diced cubes.

  • 4. TUNA

    Place the black and white sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Place the tuna on a cutting board. If you have just 1 large piece, use a sharp thin knife to cut it in 2 or 3 smaller triangle shaps. Usually, 1 piece is a large triangle, so you can either cut it in half starting from the top point, or cut a V shape into the longest flat side, thus making 3 small triangles.
    Sprinkle both sides with a good pinch of salt. Then brush both sides with ½ teaspoon of sesame oil. Press the wet fish into the seeds to coat both sides.

    Heat the saute pan over medium high heat (don’t need to wash it after the peas), and add ½ teaspoon of oil. When hot and shimmery, add the tuna steaks and cook the first side for about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. This will result in a rare inside, that’s the best for ahi tuna! If you must cook it longer, go for it, but you don’t really want to go past medium rare - if you plan to, see substitutions for using a different fish.

    When the tuna is done, remove from the pan and let it rest on the cutting board. See which way the grain is running and slice into ¼’ thick slices perpendicular to the grain, this will make it super tender.

  • 5. PLATING

    Fill the bottom of a large bowl with quinoa and press it a little bit flat. Top with cucumbers, carrots. Shingle the tuna slices on top. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top to taste. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

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    make sure to use Tamari which is GF Soy Sauce
  • TUNA:
    the ahi should be cooked very rare. If you don’t like that, use canned tuna or if you can find it, fresh albacore which can be cooked to medium. OR, use a filet of white fish like snapper, cod, or halibut all of which can been cooked through and are delicious with the sauce. Salmon is a nice choice. OR use sautéed shrimp.
  • FISH:
    if you don’t like fish at all, thin slices of chicken or skirt steak make a delicious bowl
    f preferred, substitute tahini for peanut butter and make the sauce as written. Garnish with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or cashews
    use coconut oil instead of the sesame oil. Do not crust the fish with sesame seeds, you can use grated lemon zest in the dish and press into the fish for a bright, summery taste. Finely chopped cilantro would also make a beautiful and tasty coating. Or, don’t crust the fish at all. Sprinkle with salt and sear to a beautiful golden brown
  • SUGAR:
    if you’re wary of the extra sugar, you can use maple syrup or honey. Also, try to omit the sugar and see how it tastes, depending on your peanut butter you may not need any

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • We love meals like this for serving a variety of tastes and preferences because you can simply deconstruct!
  • Serve the quinoa plain and the sauce on the side for dipping
  • Cook or dice tuna in small cubes, you could put them on a skewer or toothpick, which is always fun
  • If snap peas aren’t a favorite, you can add broccoli or zucchini - carrots can be doubled or add tomatoes

For Toddlers

  • Chop everything into small cubes for making finger foods
  • Small kids should limit their tuna due to mercury, so either serve with a drained can of albacore (which is a smaller tuna and has less mercury) or swap for shrimp, white fish, or salmon
  • If you’re worried about peanuts, you can make the sauce with nut free butter, cashew or almond butter instead
  • Make sure there’s one veggie they like

For Choosy Eaters

  • Keep it simple and piles separate - consider making the bowls over rice instead of quinoa
  • If tuna isn’t going to happen, you can use shrimp or even diced chicken simple sautéed in a pan. Try putting the fish or meat on skewers or a toothpick
  • Use a dip they’ll like or stir some yogurt into the peanut sauce to make it creamy

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Cook the quinoa ahead
  2. String the snap peas if needed
  3. Make the peanut sauce – it lasts for weeks and can be used on other cooked veggies or protein
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