This vegan poke bowl recipe is a plant-based twist on a poke bowl, using rice, edamame, veggies, avocado, and marinated watermelon to create a rainbow bowl that is packed with flavor!

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What is a poke bowl?

A traditional poke bowl is a Hawaiian dish that typically consists of cubed, raw fish (such as tuna or salmon) served over rice and topped with veggies and sauce. The word “poke” (pronounced poh-kay) is Hawaiian and means “to slice” or “to cut crosswise into pieces.” This is certainly not a traditional poke bowl, since it’s vegan and doesn’t contain fish. But it was a fun way to create similar flavors in a fun way! If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to try my vegetarian sushi bowl, too!

Ingredients & Substitutions

For the watermelon:

  • Watermelon– While it doesn’t taste like tuna, visually it adds a similar look and feel of a traditional poke bowl. It’s sweet but the sauce adds a savory flavor to it.
  • Soy sauce– This adds umami and saltiness to the marinade.
  • Rice vinegar– A little vinegar adds mild acidity and sweetness to balance the flavors.
  • Miso paste– If you haven’t tried miso, it’s a fermented paste made from soybeans. This adds an additional layer of flavor. If you don’t have it, you can leave it out.
  • Toasted sesame oil– A drizzle of toasted sesame oil enhances the overall flavor with a nutty aroma.

For the Bowls:

  • Short-grain white rice– The rice creates a base for the bowl. You can use brown rice, if preferred. I like to use Success Rice, which cooks quickly in the microwave.
  • Edamame-This is a simple way to add plant-based protein, making this a filling meal.
  • Carrot– This is an easy way to add crunch and a pop of color.
  • Rice vinegar– A splash of vinegar adds a tangy flavor to the rice and vegetables. Substitute with white vinegar if needed.
  • Avocado– This adds creaminess and healthy fats, making this dish really satisfying.
  • Black sesame seeds- These are optional, but sesame seeds add a nutty flavor, and I think they add a little visual interest and texture.
  • Pickled ginger: This is optional, but if you want to add some pickled ginger, it’s a nice touch!

For the sauce:

  • Vegan mayonnaise– This adds creaminess and richness, but it can be substituted with regular mayo or cashew cream if needed.
  • Soy sauce– This adds a salty umami flavor. Tamari or liquid aminos are good gluten-free alternatives.
  • Sriracha– This adds heat and a touch of sweetness. It’s been hard to find lately so feel free to substitute with other hot sauces or chili paste.

Does the watermelon taste like tuna?

No, the watermelon isn’t meant to be a substitute for the fish. But it’s a fun way to add a pop of color and flavor to the poke bowl! It might look a little bit like tuna but obviously the taste and texture it quite different. The watermelon is sweet and juicy and the marinade adds a savory, umami flavor. It’s a really unique taste and it’s a fun one to try! Of course, if you don’t want to add watermelon to the bowl, you could skip it.

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Watermelon Poke Bowl

Vegan Poke Bowls

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  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 bowls
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan poke bowl recipe is a plant-based twist on a poke bowl, using rice, edamame, veggies, avocado, and marinated watermelon to create a rainbow bowl that is packed with flavor! Give this one a try when you’re craving a savory way to enjoy your veggies.


For the watermelon:

  • 1 cup cubed seedless watermelon

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon miso paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the Bowls:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked short-grain white rice

  • 1 cup cooked edamame, shelled

  • 1/4 cup julienned carrot, blanched

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 small avocado, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)

  • 1 teaspoon sriracha


  1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, miso paste, and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Add the cubed watermelon to the mixture and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for at least one hour, turning it over regularly to redistribute the marinade. The watermelon will release liquid into the marinade.
  3. While the watermelon is marinating, prepare the sauce. Combine the vegan mayonnaise, soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
  4. Assemble the bowls by placing 1 1/2 cups of cooked short-grain rice in each bowl. Layer on 1/4 of each: julienned carrot, radish, edamame, and avocado. Top with 1/4 of the marinated watermelon and pickled ginger.
  5. Drizzle the sauce over the bowls and top with sesame seeds.