Watermelon “Tuna” Poke Bowl (Vegan)

  • Lunch

Who knew tuna could be made vegan as well?! I first came across watermelon “tuna” a few years ago while casually scrolling facebook. Back then, I thought to myself: What a joke! Somebody would have to pay me to eat that; it looks just gross.

But when I first tried the recipe made by Kristin Atwood (Chef Studio), I honestly couldn’t believe my taste buds. The texture of the watermelon, after marinating and roasting, is shockingly similar to that of tuna. Besides the texture, the taste of the watermelon is extremely similar to tuna as well. The combination of the savory marinade and the seaweed flakes really project that seafood-y taste onto the watermelon. Unbelievable.

Watermelon “Tuna” Poke Bowl (Vegan)

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Recipe by George L. Course: LunchCuisine: HawaiianDifficulty: Easy


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Watermelon “Tuna” Recipe adopted from Kristin Atwood, Chef Studio


  • Watermelon “TUNA”
  • 2 cups watermelon cubes

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon mirin (or rice wine)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried seaweed flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • Pickled Red Cabbage
  • 1 Red Cabbage, halved and sliced thinly

  • 2 cups distilled vinegar

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • Vegan Wasabi Mayo
  • 40 grams silken/soft tofu (*See notes)

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon wasabi paste

  • 2-4 tablespoons oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

  • Assemble the Bowl
  • Watermelon Tuna

  • Edamame, blanched

  • Wakame seaweed salad

  • Vegan wasabi Mayo

  • Spring onion, thinly sliced

  • Black sesame seeds


  • Start prepping the watermelon “tuna” one day ahead (yeah, I’m not this good at planning either, but trust me, it’s worth it!). Make the marinade by combining soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and dried seaweed flakes. Marinate the watermelon cubes for at least 4 hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Roast the marinated watermelon cubes for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the watermelon achieves a squishy texture. After roasting, put them back into the marinade over night — I found that this makes the watermelon even more tender and more seafood-y!
  • Prep the Pickled Red Cabbage ahead of time as well. Take a big jar, and add your thinly sliced red cabbage into it. Then, add in the water, vinegar, and salt. Leave it in the refrigerator to pickle.
  • Make the vegan wasabi mayo. In a food processor, blend together the tofu, vegetable oil, and wasabi paste. Add oat milk (or other non-dairy milk) one tablespoon at a time and continue blending until the mayo reaches your desired consistency (I did 3 tablespoons of oat milk).
  • To assemble the bowl, first layer some freshly steamed white rice (sushi rice works great as well!). Add your toppings and drizzle with the wasabi mayo, as well as sprinkle some black sesame seeds.


  • Firm tofu works as well but the texture of the mayo won’t be as silky and creamy. In this case, you could sift the mayo with a fine mesh sieve to remove the small tofu bits.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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Passport Overused
5 months ago

Great post 😁