These watermelon poke bowls are easy and refreshing! This is obviously not a traditional poke recipe, but it is super tasty and vegan.
Poke is a Hawaiian dish of chopped raw, marinated fish that's often served with seaweed, salad, or rice.
To get a similar flavor, you'll marinate your watermelon in a savory sauce and serve it alongside rice, fruit, and chopped vegetables. Top it with a spicy mayo dressing for a meal that's bursting with flavor.
Why You'll Love Vegan Poke
If you live somewhere where it's hard to get sushi grade fish, or if you're vegan/plant-based, or if you're just not confident serving raw fish, these poke bowls are for you!
Because poke bowls have become so popular, there's actually a strain on the market and issues with sustainability for tuna fish. If you're not in an area that has an abundance of fresh fish, this is a planet-friendly alternative to traditional poke.
With this recipe, you'll still get the sides of a restaurant-style poke bowl and get a fresh, juicy tang from the watermelon.
It's also just a beautiful meal. When something is this pretty it's a real treat to eat.
What You'll Need to Make this Recipe
To make this recipe you'll need the following items:
- Rice - you can use sushi rice, white rice, or brown rice for this recipe. You'll need 2 cups of cooked rice (each bowl will get ½ cup).
- Fruit & Veggies - the highlight of this recipe is the marinated watermelon, that's used in place of fish. You'll want a very ripe, seedless watermelon, as well as edamame, mango, cucumbers, avocado, and chopped green onions.
- Seasonings - you'll need rice vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and kosher salt.
- Toppings - for the spicy mayo topping, you'll need mayonnaise (vegan if you want to keep this recipe plant-based) and sriracha. You can also use pickled ginger, sesame seeds, thinly sliced nori, and sprouts as toppings.
How to Make Vegan Poke Bowls
These bowls are made in three steps - seasoning the rice, marinating the watermelon, and assembling the bowls.
You'll need to take some time to prep all the fruit and vegetables that go in these bowls. There's lots of chopping and slicing to get everything just the right size.
You'll want to season your rice with the vinegar, oil, and salt and add a quarter of it to eat of the bowls.
Then marinate your watermelon with the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. This needs to rest for 10 to 15 minutes to take on all the flavor.
Then assemble your bowls, add a quarter or the fruit and veggies to each bowl and then sprinkle on the toppings.
More Vegan Recipes to Try
If you like vegan swap recipes like this one, check out some of our other veggie faves.
- Hand-Rolled Vegan Sushi (Temaki) - hand-held vegan sushi cones!
- Tropical Vegan Summer Rolls - rice paper wraps with mango and avocado, paired with a peanut sauce.
- Vegan Sushi Recipe - nori rolls with avocado, bell peppers, and more!
Tips for Making this Recipe
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Cooking Tips - I made the rice in my Zojirushi rice cooker. It has a sushi/white rice setting that cooks the rice perfectly. If you don't have a rice cooker, cook the rice according to the package directions or use this guide on cooking sushi rice (you can also make it in a pressure cooker).
Storing Tips - This recipe is best served fresh. You can make the rice ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but everything else should be made right before serving.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Connect with us on Instagram and share your photos or leave us a rating.
- 2 cups cooked white rice, sushi rice, or brown rice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cooked edamame
- 2 small cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 2 small yellow mangoes, diced
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (vegan, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- optional toppings - pickled sushi ginger, a pinch of white and black sesame seeds, thinly sliced nori, or ¼ cup of sprouts
- To make the rice, combine the oil, rice vinegar, and kosher salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle across the rice and toss till the rice is coated.
- To marinate the watermelon, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and kosher salt in a bowl and whisk the combine. Top the chopped watermelon with the soy mixture and very gently stir to combine. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the rest of your fruit and vegetables and make the mayo sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise and sriracha.
- Divide the rice between 4 bowls to create a base. Then add a quarter of the marinated watermelon to each bowl, then a quarter of the edamame, cucumbers, avocado, and mangos to each bowl.
- Top each bowl with a sprinkling of green onions and sliced nori. Then drizzle the mayo mixture across the top.
- Add additional toppings like pickled ginger, sesame seeds, and sprouts if desired. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 1759mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 10gSugar: 37gProtein: 12g