Watermelon poke bowl is a fresh, crunchy and addictively delicious vegan poke bowl that I Just. Can’t. Get. Enough of!
Poke, poke, poke! (Bowl)
I have been eating poke on repeat lately. Mainly made by someone else (the epic take away period in my life seems to not be cooling down any time soon), but sometimes I surprise myself and make a poke bowl at home! I love all kinds of seafood and often order my take away with fish… But at home this vegan watermelon poke bowl has my heart.
When you marinate the watermelon with soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger, the result is truly addictive! Watermelon poke bowl is a light, fresh and crisp lunch that can pack a punch, depending on what else you throw in. As the watermelon season begins, I really can see myself eating this on the daily!
POKE / POKE BOWL
Poke is a Hawaiian dish, with a name that apparently stands for chopped up or cubed up. And although poke bowls have been trending for years now, poke was originally a humble dish made by fishermen! The OG poke has mainly cubed up raw fish or cured octopus seasoned with soy, sesame oil and different seasonings. The flavors are familiar to me from Japanese and multiple Asian cuisines! I’ve read that poke is seasoned for instance with lime, chili, seaweed, onions and scallions, as well as different nuts that are mixed in with the fish. Oh how I wish I could visit Hawaii, where they sell this kind of poke in supermarkets!!!
The trendy poke bowl that has taken over the worlds can however include SO MUCH MORE. In the bowl of rice anything goes. Tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango, different veggies and salads… topped off with loads of mayo and other sauces and crispy toppings! The poke restaurants here in Helsinki offer at least a variety of crispy fried onions, toasted coconut flakes, peanuts and sesame seeds. But often there’s also nori seaweed or furikake, chopped chili and cilantro sprinkled on top. The end result reminds me of japanese chirashizushi, mixed in with some salad and fruit salad. WITH MAYO. Hell yeah!
Watermelon poke Bowl, my way
The idea of making a vegan poke bowl with watermelon is not mine – I have seen many make it! Some use it raw like me, some cook it (like Avant-Garde Vegan). Whoever thought of it first is a genius! When I make this vegan watermelon poke bowl at home, I love it best with some creamy and fatty avocado to complement the fresh and juicy watermelon and the other crispy veg. I usually make my base with spelt grains or brown rice, and seasoned with the watermelon marinade. (So nothing goes to waste!) Since I made some shiso vinegar last Autumn (recipe here in Finnish), I sometimes use that too.
Whatever the case, I always add in plenty of vegan mayo, which I sometimes season with wasabi, miso paste, black garlic or yuzukosho. Mostly I just add it in as is… since I always seem to be in a hurry to get my bowl ready! Finally I load in all the crispy toppings of my dreams. Crispy fried onions, sesame seeds, coconut flakes, peanuts, furikake and plenty of the aromatic Japanese seven spice shichimi togarashi.
See that moderately dressed bowl in my pictures? You bet it got a treatment of lots more toppings after I had finished my shoot and finally dug in 😀
Watermelon poke bowl
- 400 g peeled watermelon
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (you can replace a part of the soy with ponzu!)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (or 1 tbsp lime juice)
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 0,5-1 tsp chili flakes (or shichimi togarashi)
- 1-2 scallions, white part
- 1 tsp minced fresh or pickled ginger
- 4 dl cooked brown rice / sushi rice / spelt grains ( c. 2 dl uncooked product - cook according to the package instructions)
- 6-8 radishes (or a c. 4-5 cm piece of Daikon radish)
- 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 dl sliced sugar snap peas (or cooked edamame beans)
- 1 very small cucumber (or 4-5 cm piece of large cucumber)
- 1-2 scallion, green part
Add ons, as you wish:
- 4+ tbsp vegan mayo (+ wasabi / togarashia / sriracha / yuzukosho / miso paste / black garlic to taste if you want.....)
- 1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2-3 tbsp crispy fried onions
- 1 tbsp vegan furikake (or korean nori snacks / sliced or crumbled toasted nori seaweed)
- 2 tbsp toasted peanuts (or coconut flakes)
- fresh chili / jalapeno ( to taste)
- fresh coriander / shiso / perilla / mint / Thai basil (to taste)
- edible flowers
- shichimi togarashia (to taste)
- If you want to make your bowl a bit more hearty, you can add in some cold smoked tofu or tempeh, quickly seared golden with oil, soy sauce and agave suryp.
- You can absolutely add in here any veggies and fruits you wish! What I listed are my favorites, but shredded carrots, cabbage, tomato, wakame salad, mango, nasi pear, japanese marinated Daikon, kimchi... they would all work wonders here.
- All the measurements are adjustable to your taste, this is just how I like to make my watermelon poke and even I change around with them based on my mood and what i have at hand!
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar/lime juice, chili/shichimi togarashi, agave syrup and minced scallion whites in a bowl. Add in minced fresh or pickled ginger. I sometimes replace part of the soy sauce with ponzu and/or smoked soy sauce.
- Cube the watermelon to app. 1x1 cm cubes and mix with the marinade. Cover and let rest in the fridge at least a few hours, or overnight. If I marinate the watermelon for longer, I try to give it a mix a few times along the way!
- Cook your rice or grain of choice according to the package instructions. Season with some salt and rice vinegar, leave covered to cool down while you prep the other ingredients.
- Slice or cube up your cucumber. Slice the radish and season with a splash of rice vinegar in a small bowl. Mince the green parts of scallions. Cook the edamame (or defrost if using cooked frozen like I am). If you are using sugar snaps, snip off the ends of the pods and slice the pea pods to pieces.
- Cube up the avocado and season with rice vinegar to prevent browning.
Assembly + add ons!
- If you want to season your vegan mayo, mix in small bowl with desired amount of desired ingredient! I love to season the mayo with wasabi, yuzukosho or sometimes black garlic, but mayo au naturel works very well too here!
- When all ingredients are prepared, divide the luke warm grain/rice in two bowls. Add in the watermelon to one side, drizzle some of the watermelon marinade on top of the rice/grain.
- Add in the avocado, cucumbers, peas/edamame, scallion greens and the radishes.
- Perfect your watermelon poke with a generous drizzle of vegan mayo and all the add ons you wish! My favorite toppings are crispy fried onions, toastes sesame seeds, nuts and coconut flakes and furikake. And edible flowers if I get my hands on them! I also like to add one last sprinkle of aromatic shichimi togarashi on top.