Watermelon Poke Bowls

Watermelon Poke Bowls

There’s a new poke bowl shop in town called Poke Poke, and we’re just a little obsessed. Jack and I have eaten there at least 2x per week since it opened. In fact, as I sit to start writing this post, we’ve just returned from eating lunch there. We might be late to jump on the poke trend, but there’s something so crave-able about these sort of deconstructed sushi bowls. Please tell me that we’re not the only ones that get hooked on the same type of food for weeks on end?

Watermelon Poke Bowls

Even though Poke Poke is close to our house, I wanted to make a version at home to share with all of you. Only I didn’t want to use fish because, well, this is a vegetarian blog. Also, I’m not a big fan of sushi-grade grocery store fish. Enter – watermelon. I first saw the idea here and I was intrigued. While it doesn’t taste like tuna, it sure looks like it. It’s so delicious with this tangy sesame-tamari-lime dressing and all of my favorite poke toppings like pickled ginger, cucumber, furikake (a toasted nori and sesame seed condiment), macadamia nuts and avocado.

It’s so refreshing for the last of these late summer hot days!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Watermelon Poke Bowls
Serves: 2 big bowls, or 4 small bowls
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar or agave
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 5 cups cubed watermelon
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger
  • 1 small jalapeño or thai chile, diced
  • ½ ripe avocado, pitted and diced
  • Furikake (recipe below) or toasted sesame seeds
  • Handful of microgreens, optional
furikake (toasted nori topping):
  • 1 sheet nori
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  1. Make the furikake (if using): Toast the nori over a gas burner by waving the sheet above the burner until it’s darkened and crispy. Cut into small pieces. Place the toasted nori in a food processor with the sesame seeds, salt and sugar. Pulse until everything is well chopped up.
  2. Make the dressing: In a small bowl combine the tamari, garlic, lime juice, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil.
  3. Toss the watermelon with the scallions and a bit of the dressing. Assemble bowls with the watermelon, cucumber, macadamia nuts, pickled ginger, jalapeño, avocado and microgreens, if using. Pour on more dressing (as much as you like) and gently toss. Serve with furikake sprinkled on top.
Note: you can serve this in individual bowls, as pictured, or toss everything together in one large bowl.

Use leftover furikake topping on rice bowls with grilled or roasted vegetables.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Please explain this “poke bowl” phenomenon to a poor expat in rural France, where the choices are French food or French food (not bad choices, but no poke bowls to be found).
    What is the poke factor in this recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      It’s kind of a deconstructed sushi bowl, usually made with raw tuna.

      • Hokulani

        Aloha! Super late comment but as a Hawaiian I feel the need to answer. 🙂

        Poke is a Hawaiian word and is pronounced POH-keh. Many people mispronounce it as the English word “poke”. In Hawaiian poke means to slice or cut crosswise into pieces/cubes.

        Traditional Hawaiian poke is usually made with cubed raw fish (such as ahi), soy sauce, and other seasonings.

  2. So much summer love packed into this bowl, and I love that you did a veggie version!

  3. Oh wow this is such a beautiful recipe and a beautiful farewell to summer!!! I can not wait to try this recipe. I just love how watermelon has become such a great savoury addition this season. Thank you for sharing 🍐

  4. Kim

    Hello!! I was wondering, it says that the recipe serves two, but mentions to divide the four cups of watermelon into four bowls. It also mentions to increase watermelon from 4 to 6 cups to serve four as a side. Is this correct or is there an error somewhere? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Sorry, that was confusing. It’ll make 2 big bowls, or 4 smaller bowls.

  5. What a great alternative to poke bowls! They seem so intimidating, though I can’t get enough of them. This looks so refreshing and perfect for the remaining hot weather before fall.

  6. Mmm, I love this idea! Also, good to hear you liked Poke Poke – I’m in Austin too and have driven by a couple times but haven’t gone yet 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      you should go, it’s really good 🙂

  7. Andrea from pressurecooker101.com

    It looks so pretty! I bet it tastes amazing too (of course it does because it has watermelon and avocado in it!)

  8. Look so nice. I will try to cook it.

  9. Terry from cashmereapron.com

    Poke bowls are definitely the rage here in So. Cal as well. I love your idea to use watermelon as this something my family will eat <3. Love the creativity.

  10. Salomon from salomonchaussuress.fr

    I can not wait to try this recipe. I just love how watermelon has become such a great savoury addition this season.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.