Watermelon Poke Bowls


This to-die-for plant-based take on poke stars marinated watermelon cubes. 

Watermelon Poke Bowl
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

Making delicious poke bowls at home might seem impossible without access to good quality fish, or perhaps you're vegetarian and want to enjoy the format and flavors without eating seafood. Enter this delicious rendition, which combines marinated watermelon cubes with classic poke ingredients: sushi rice, spicy mayo, cucumbers, and pickled ginger, among other tasty ingredients. The marinade is a symphony of flavors, combining sesame oil, mirin, lime juice, and soy sauce with spicy ginger and chile-garlic sauce. Every bite of sweet watermelon is so deeply flavorful you'll be looking for excuses to make it over and over. Shopping tip: A firm-ripe watermelon is best so that the cubes don't dissolve in the marinade.


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1 ½ tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)

  • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar, divided

  • 3 cups ½-in. cubes watermelon (from 1 seedless watermelon)

  • 1 cup white sushi rice, well rinsed

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 ½ tablespoons sriracha

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 1 cup matchstick carrots

  • 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber (from 1 cucumber)

  • optional toppings: pickled ginger, thinly sliced jalapeños, toasted black and white sesame seeds


  1. Whisk oil, mirin, lime juice, soy sauce, grated ginger, chili-garlic sauce, and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl. Gently fold in watermelon cubes. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, place 1½ cups water and rice in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

  3. Stir sugar, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in a small bowl. Gently fold into cooked rice.

  4. Mix mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. Serve rice in bowls topped with marinated watermelon, avocado, carrots, and cucumber. Drizzle with sriracha mayonnaise. Serve with desired toppings.

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