Vegan Poke Bowl with Watermelon “Tuna”

This vegan poke bowl recipe uses cubed marinated watermelon in lieu of raw fish. Served with my homemade sriracha lime mayo, these colorful vegan watermelon tuna sushi bowls are a refreshing & fun weeknight dinner for hot summer days.

overhead shot of two vegan poke bowls with watermelon tuna served with sriracha mayo

This post is sponsored by iHerb

Believe it or not, watermelon is not just THE summer fruit, but I am about to tell you it also makes a great tuna substitute for making vegan poke bowls. Say what? YES – enter watermelon tuna!

What is a poke bowl anyway?

Poke bowls are native to Hawaiian cuisine and pretty similar to sushi bowls. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is served over rice and topped with assorted fresh vegetables and umami-packed sauces.

Everything about Poke just screams “beach food” and is simply perfect for summer as there’s not a lot of cooking involved. Super fresh and uber flavorful with familiar, yet exotic-tasting ingredients like rice, edamame beans, seaweed and veggies. It can either be served as an appetizer or as a main course and is great for meal prep.

For this vegan poke bowl recipe, I use marinated watermelon to create a colorful, vegan version. This might sound a bit crazy but trust me, it’s delicious!

Once marinated with soy sauce and sesame oil, the cubed watermelon really does look like raw tuna, but don’t worry, it does not taste a tad bit fishy. It’s sweet and savory in taste with a nice nutty aftertaste from the sesame oil. So not only great for vegans, but also for all you guys that just don’t like fish that much but are still all about that poke fun.

It’s super refreshing on a hot summer day and just looking at this, we gotta admit that it comes pretty close to a traditional poke bowl! Plus it’s way cheaper to make.

two vegan poke bowls with edamame beans, nori and watermelon tuna served with a side dish of mayo

Ingredients for Vegan Poke Bowls:

For this vegan poke bowl recipe, I shopped lots of the ingredients on iHerb. Over the years, iHerb has become my go-to online destination for most of my healthy pantry grocery shopping – either because they carry brands I don’t have access to locally; because they often offer better value than my local stores; or simply to discover new products, since they carry over 30,000 natural products!

I’ve been shopping on iHerb since I moved to Australia a few years ago, and continued when I followed my path to Canada and now Israel. Wherever you are located on the planet, iHerb most likely ships to you – they do to over 150 countries! If you are outside the US like me, know that they also offer super fast and reliable shipping methods (because let’s be honest, who wants to wait weeks for a delivery, especially if there’s food involved?!). And, orders are shipped from climate-controlled distribution centers to ensure the quality of their products.

The other thing I love about iHerb is how they provide impeccable customer service (they operate 24 hours a day / 7 days a week in 10 different languages, by the way!). In 5 years of shopping with them, I only had an issue once – a product spilled in the box – and they offered a full refund on the whole order, no questions asked. I was super impressed.

This is a website I genuinely recommend to all my friends and I think you would love it too!

Below I’ll tell you exactly which ingredients I used to make this vegan poke bowl and why I think they’re perfect for this recipe!

overhead shot of two watermelon tuna vegan poke bowls with chopsticks on the side

How to make vegan poke bowls with watermelon tuna

picture collage demonstrating how to make watermelon tuna for vegan poke bowl recipe

Step 1 – Slice some watermelon, cut the rind and cut it into equal sized cubes. Add it to a medium bowl.

Step 2Prepare the marinade. First, add some soy sauce. I love this Eden Food’s Tamari Soy sauce because it has a deep flavor, it’s not too salted and it’s gluten-free (unlike regular soy sauce). And bonus: it’s organic, too.

soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds being added to watermelon cubes to make vegan tuna

Step 3 – Then we add some sesame oil. I used Eden Foods sesame oil, which is perfect for marinades like this one since it’s unrefined. The flavor of the sesame really shines through and takes this marinade to the next level!

Add also a bit of rice vinegar.

Step 4 – In go the sesame seeds! Here I used white whole sesame hulled, from Frontier Natural Products. Because they’re whole, they have a nuttier taste than regular sesame seeds and I found that I didn’t even need to toast them before using them (less prep and dish to wash for the win!).

picture collage showing a bowl of watermelon tuna and a small bowl with sriracha mayo

Step 5 – Add in finely chopped scallions (the white and green parts only). Stir well, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.

Steps 6 & 7 – Now, make the Sriracha mayo.

Typical mayo is traditionally made with eggs which makes it a no-no for vegans (who avoid any kind of animal products) or those with egg allergies. Enters this Sir Kensington’s mayo, made with organic aquafaba – yes, the liquid from the chickpeas’ can! You won’t believe there are no eggs in there. The taste and texture is perfect, and you can use it as you would any traditional mayo. No eggs, no problem!

To make the mayo sauce, simple mix together the mayo, Sriracha and lime juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

a picture collage depicting a bowl of vegan sriracha lime mayo and nori leaves being cut into cubes

Steps 8 & 9 – When the watermelon is done marinating, prep the bowl’s ingredients. 

To add another Asian element to these poke bowls, we’re using roasted nori sheets cut into short strips. Know that not all nori sheets are created equal. These Maine Coast ones are fresh, of the highest quality and actually delicious (which can’t be said of all brands, unfortunately!)

Chop and prep all the other ingredients: edamame, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and everything else that’s gonna go in your bowl.

picture collage of poke bowl ingredients on a wooden board next to two bowls of sushi rice and watermelon tuna

Step 10 – Now we’re ready to build the bowls!

Drizzle cooked and cooled rice generously with marinade, arrange toppings and watermelon “tuna” on top. Drizzle with remaining marinade and Sriracha mayo. Enjoy!

side view of vegan poke bowl with watermelon tuna

Tips & Variations:

  • You can use the rice of your choice or use cauliflower rice to keep things light. Sushi rice is also an option but as we drizzle the rice with marinade, seasoned sushi rice is not really necessary.
  • As for make-ahead options, you can make the watermelon “tuna” the night before and store it in the fridge.
  • For some more protein, add pan-fried tofu, or tempeh. Want more fruit? Mango chunks would be amazing on this! So would macadamia nuts, peanuts or almonds, daikon, bell pepper, and beets.
  • Instead of sriracha, you can add any hot sauce you like and lemon juice can be used in lieu of lime. Chipotle powder or a teaspoon of chipotle in adobo would also be amazing in this poke bowl sauce. Or, for a Thai-style peanut sauce, go ahead and stir in 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter (heat a few seconds in the microwave) and  1 teaspoon fresh ginger.

overhead shot of two vegan watermelon tuna poke bowls with cucumber, nori and edamame

Fun things to do with leftover watermelon:

  • Dice it into cubes and make a watermelon mint salad or make salsa.
  • Add it to pico de gallo
  • Skewer cubes melon with grilled tofu or grill it as fruit kabobs.
  • Juice or puree it, blend it into smoothies for simple breakfast to-go or as pre-workout fuel
  • The rind is edible and can be used as a vegetable! Try stir-frying, stewing, or pickling the rind. Zero-waste, you guys!
  • A hollowed-out watermelon can be used as a compostable bowl. Pretty cool, eh?
vegan tuna poke bowl with watermelon poke
5 from 4 votes
Print

Vegan Tuna Bowl Recipe with Watermelon Tuna

This vegan poke bowl recipe uses cubed marinated watermelon in lieu of raw fish. Served with my homemade sriracha lime mayo, these colorful vegan watermelon tuna bowls are a refreshing & fun weeknight dinner for hot summer days.

Course main
Cuisine American, Hawaiian, Vegan
Keyword vegan poke bowl recipe, vegan poke bowls, watermelon tuna
Prep Time 20 minutes
Marinating 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 518 kcal

Ingredients

Watermelon “Tuna”

Sriracha Mayo

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce or 1/2 tablespoon if you’re sensitive to heat
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Bowl

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
  • 2/3 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 large carrot sliced or shredded
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 nori sheets cut into short strips
  • 1 tbsp pickled ginger

Additional options:

  • avocado sliced
  • red or white cabbage minced
  • radish sliced

Instructions

  1. Start with the watermelon “tuna”. Slice then cut watermelon into 1-inch/2 cm cubes. Add to a large bowl, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sesame seeds and scallions. Stir well, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.

  2. Make the Sriracha mayo. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, Sriracha and lime juice. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

  3. Build the bowls. Start with the rice as a base. Drizzle generously with some watermelon marinade. Arrange marinated watermelon, cucumbers, edamame, carrot, cilantro, nori and pickled ginger on top. Drizzle with more marinade sauce, and Sriracha mayo. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use the rice of your choice or use cauliflower rice to keep things light. Sushi rice is also an option but as we drizzle the rice with marinade, seasoned sushi rice is not really necessary.
  • As for make-ahead options, you can make the watermelon “tuna” the night before and store it in the fridge.
  • For some more protein, add pan-fried tofu, or tempeh. Want more fruit? Mango chunks would be amazing on this! So would avocado slices, radishes, macadamia nuts, daikon, and beets.
  • Instead of sriracha, you can add any hot sauce you like and lemon juice can be used instead of lime. Chipotle powder or a teaspoon of chipotle in adobo would also be amazing in this poke bowl sauce. Or, for a Thai-style peanut sauce, go crazy and stir in 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter (heat a few seconds in the microwave) and  1 teaspoon fresh ginger.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Tuna Bowl Recipe with Watermelon Tuna
Amount Per Serving (1 large bowl)
Calories 518 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 1923mg84%
Potassium 792mg23%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 6409IU128%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 131mg13%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Bonus! My latest iHerb product finds

How about a mini shopping haul? Here are the latest products I tried and loved on iHerb:

collage of iherb shop products

  1. Gluten Free Quinoa Macaroni

Think regular macaroni, but made with quinoa and rice flour instead of wheat. These Living Now quinoa macaroni are more nutritious and a great alternative to regular pasta, especially if you’re gluten intolerant. I wouldn’t eat them plain but they’re delicious with sauce. My baby girl approved, too!

2. Nut Butter Treats

Yummy treat alert! This smooth almond butter from Barney Butter and this dark chocolate peanut butter from the Peanut Butter & co are seriously to die for. Grab your spoon and be ready to dig in more times than you initially planned for. I actually had to hide the chocolate peanut butter from my husband and make it harder to reach for me because otherwise, it would have been gone in three days. True story.

3. Choc chips cookies

I absolutely LOVE the Simple Mills brand. I’m a big fan of their crackers and baking mixes (I always keep a banana bread mix in my pantry!). This time I tried these crunchy almond flour chocolate chips cookies and oh my! they are dangerous. I just couldn’t stop at one – so good thing the serving size is for 4 cookies 😉 You absolutely can’t tell they’re “healthy” cookies, even though the ingredients’ list is perfect!

4. Infused Basil Oil

If you’re a basil fan like me, then you’ll love this basil infused olive oil from La Tourangelle. It takes simple sliced summer tomatoes with mozzarella to the next level, and I loved it with my morning scrambled eggs, too. But basically, you can add it to anything you would add basil to! I also love the avocado oil from the same brand.

PLEASE NOTE! New and returning customers will get a discount off their iHerb order with no minimum purchase by clicking here!

If you tried this vegan poke bowl recipe don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

More healthy vegan summer recipes from the blog you will love:

 

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posted in
Clean Eating Dairy Free Main Dishes Meal Prep Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Refined Sugar Free Summer Recipes Vegan Vegetarian
10 Comments
  1. What an exciting idea to replace raw fish with cubed marinated watermelon it is! It sounds summery too! 🙂 Love your recipe. Thanks.

  2. Oh yes!!! I cannot tell you how jealous I am of people’s tuna poke bowls… But, raw tuna makes me want to hurl. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

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