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Watermelon Poke Bowl (Tasty Vegan Tuna Recipe)

Watermelon Poke Bowl is my latest obsession and I bet it’s going to be yours too. Now, poke bowls have been all the rage for a while. Originating from the beautiful islands of Hawaii, these bowls traditionally feature diced raw fish, like tuna or salmon, and are a staple in Hawaiian cuisine. But here’s the twist – we’re going vegan with this one!

poke bowl melon

Yes, you heard that right. We’re swapping out the fish for sweet, juicy watermelon cubes that we marinate to get that classic poke taste. It’s all about keeping it fresh, tasty, and totally vegan. 

We’re taking a beloved Hawaiian dish, traditionally centered around seafood, and giving it a plant-based spin that’s just as satisfying. The watermelon soaks up the marinade like a dream. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy summer’s favorite fruit in a whole new way. 

vegan tuna bowls
  • With a total time of 1 hour 30 minutes, including marinating, it’s ideal for a quick, healthy meal.
  • You can prepare the components in advance and refrigerate. Just assemble when you’re ready to eat!
  • This dish is as Instagram-worthy as it is tasty. The colorful watermelon cubes on a bed of rice make for a beautiful presentation.
  • Feel free to also use ingredients like tofu or crunchy cucumbers to add more texture and flavor.
  • Packed with nutrients from edamame, avocado, and radishes, it’s a wholesome meal that’s also satisfying.

Serves: 3-4 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Marinating: 1 hour | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

For Marinated watermelon:

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup/78ml vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp/15ml soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp/15ml sriracha

For the bowls:

To serve:


1. Cut watermelon into 1”-1 1/2”/2.5cm – 4cm cubes. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp/45ml soy sauce, 2 tbsp/30ml rice vinegar, miso paste, and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until smooth.

2. Add the watermelon and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour, turning over regularly to redistribute the marinade. Watermelon will release liquid into the marinade.

3. Drain the watermelon. Add to a large pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently (you don’t want to break up the pieces). The watermelon will release more liquid. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated, 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

4. While the watermelon in marinating, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and stir until smooth. If too thick, add water or rice milk a little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.

5. Prepare the vegetables: Cook the edamame according to package directions if necessary. Peel and cut the carrots into thin matchsticks 2”/5cm long. Bring 2 cups/475ml water to a boil in a pot. Have a bowl of ice water ready. 

6. When the water is boiling, add 2 tbsp/30ml rice vinegar and the carrots. Cook for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately plug in ice water to stop cooking. Cut the radishes into rounds 1/8”/3mm or thinner. Slice the avocado lengthwise.

7. Assemble the bowls: Place 3/4 cup/130g cooked rice to each bowl. Layer on 1/4 of each: blanched carrots, radishes, edamame, avocado. Top with 1/4 of marinated watermelon and pickled ginger.

8. Drizzle on sauce and serve with sesame and/or shredded nori/furikake for extra flavour and texture.

Note: All components can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge separately. Serve immediately once assembled.

🥗 Green onions – Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top for more sharpness and color.

🥗 Coconut aminos – If you’re avoiding soy, use coconut aminos. It’s a great soy sauce alternative and adds a unique flavor.

🥗 Crushed nuts, cashews, or almonds – For an extra crunch, add toppings like crushed nuts, cashews, or almonds. They bring a delightful texture to each bite.

🥗 Agave syrup – If you prefer a hint of sweetness in your dressing, a drizzle of agave syrup works wonders.

🥗 Faux fish – For a more authentic poke feel, use vegan fish alternatives available in the market. They mimic the texture of fish and are great for experimenting.

🥗 Quinoa – For a protein-packed alternative, use quinoa instead of rice. It’s super healthy and tastes great.

🥗 Pickled cucumbers – Add pickled cucumbers as an alternative to radishes for a tangy twist. They bring a nice bite to the bowl.

🥗 Vegan mild mayo dressing – If spicy isn’t your thing, skip the sriracha in the sauce. You can use a mild mayo dressing instead.

🥗 Diced mango or pineapple – Toss in some diced mango or pineapple for a sweeter, tropical twist.

vegan poke bowl watermelon
  • Marinate the Watermelon: After marinating the watermelon, if you’re not using it immediately, cover the bowl and store it in the fridge. The sweetness of the watermelon will intensify as it soaks up the flavors.
  • Separate Components: Keep the salad components, rice, and marinated watermelon in separate airtight containers in the fridge. This helps maintain the freshness and texture of each ingredient.
  • Dressing Storage: Store the dressing or juice mixture in a separate container. Give it a good shake or stir before using it again.
  • Avocado Storage: If using creamy avocado, it’s best to add these fresh when serving. However, if you’ve already mixed them in, squeeze a bit of lime juice over the avocado to keep it from browning.
  • Refrigerate Immediately: To keep the flavors fresh and prevent spoilage, refrigerate the components as soon as you’ve prepped them. This is especially important for the marinated watermelon.
  • Serving Later: When you’re ready to enjoy your poke bowl, simply assemble the components. Lay down a bed of rice, add the marinated watermelon and other toppings, and pour over the dressing.
  • Optional Additions: If you’re adding optional ingredients like seaweed or scallions, keep them refrigerated and add them fresh when assembling the bowl.
  • Homemade and Fresh: One of the joys of this homemade poke bowl is its freshness, so try to consume it within a day or two for the best taste and texture.
  • Serving Alongside Rice: If you prefer to serve the marinated watermelon alongside rice rather than mixed in, keep the rice warm or reheat it before serving for the best experience.
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watermelon poke

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ARE THERE ANY VEGAN-FRIENDLY PROTEIN OPTIONS I CAN ADD?

Yes, for a vegan-friendly protein boost, consider adding tofu or tempeh. You can marinate them in a similar way to the watermelon for added flavor.

CAN I PREPARE THIS POKE BOWL FOR A PARTY?

Absolutely! This watermelon poké recipe is perfect for parties. You can prepare the components ahead of time and allow guests to assemble their own bowls. It’s a fun, interactive, and healthy option for gatherings.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE WATERMELON WITH ANOTHER FRUIT?

Yes, you can experiment with other fruits in your vegan poke bowls. Fruits like mango or pineapple can be great alternatives, offering a different but equally delicious sweetness compared to watermelon.

IS THERE A WAY TO MAKE THE POKE BOWL SPICIER?

Definitely! To add some heat to your watermelon poké, you can increase the amount of sriracha in the sauce. Alternatively, add some chopped jalapeños or a sprinkle of chili flakes over the top of the bowl for an extra spicy kick.

WHAT ARE SOME VEGAN-FRIENDLY SAUCES I CAN USE?

In addition to the sriracha-mayo mix, you can try other vegan-friendly sauces like a ginger-tamari dressing, a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce, or even a simple vinaigrette. Each sauce can offer a unique flavor profile to your vegan poke bowls.

poke bowl melon

Watermelon Poke Salad (Vegan Tuna Rice Bowls)

You've got to try this Watermelon Poke Bowl. It's like a salad but way cooler. Inspired by Hawaiian flavors, it swaps out tuna for fresh, marinated watermelon. Plus, it's got this awesome mix of flavors with avocado, radishes, carrots, and a cool sauce. Super easy to make and seriously refreshing!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 portion
Calories: 616kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

For Marinated watermelon:

  • 4 cup watermelon cubed
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp miso paste white or sweet
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

For the Sauce:

  • cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp sriracha

For the Assembling:

  • 3 cup cooked short grain rice
  • 1 cup cooked edamame shelled
  • 1 large carrot cut in matchsticks
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5 pc radishes thinly sliced
  • 2 small avocado sliced
  • cup pickled ginger

To serve:

  • Shredded nori and toasted sesame seeds or furikake seasoning

Instructions

  • 1. Cut watermelon into 1”-1 1/2”/2.5cm – 4cm cubes. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp/45ml soy sauce, 2 tbsp/30ml rice vinegar, miso paste, and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until smooth.
  • 2. Add the watermelon and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour, turning over regularly to redistribute the marinade. Watermelon will release liquid into the marinade.
  • 3. Drain the watermelon. Add to a large pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently (you don’t want to break up the pieces). The watermelon will release more liquid. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated, 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • 4. While the watermelon in marinating, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and stir until smooth. If too thick, add water or rice milk a little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • 5. Prepare the vegetables: Cook the edamame according to package directions if necessary. Peel and cut the carrots into thin matchsticks 2”/5cm long. Bring 2 cups/475ml water to a boil in a pot. Have a bowl of ice water ready. 
  • 6. When the water is boiling, add 2 tbsp/30ml rice vinegar and the carrots. Cook for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately plug in ice water to stop cooking. Cut the radishes into rounds 1/8”/3mm or thinner. Slice the avocado lengthwise.
  • 7. Assemble the bowls: Place 3/4 cup/130g cooked rice to each bowl. Layer on 1/4 of each: blanched carrots, radishes, edamame, avocado. Top with 1/4 of marinated watermelon and pickled ginger.
  • 8. Drizzle on sauce and serve with sesame and/or shredded nori/furikake for extra flavour and texture.

Notes

Note: All components can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge separately. Serve immediately once assembled.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion | Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 1381mg | Potassium: 1055mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4028IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 5mg | Net Carbohydrates: 64g

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