It's a vegan way to get your sushi fix.

By Katlyn Moncada
August 10, 2020

As someone who's trying to eat more plant-based, I enjoy finding vegan meat alternatives that can compare to a juicy burger or crispy bacon without eating the real thing (or something overly-processed). In a recent TikTok video (because apparently that's the main source of my recipe inspiration lately), a user made watermelon "tuna tartare" that reminded me of a vegan poke bowl on the menu of a restaurant I used to frequent in St. Louis. I only had about a cup of cubed watermelon left in my fridge, but I decided to take a chance on making it myself. (Real sushi is still an occasional treat for me, and I was craving it.) It took about a day to do the whole process, but I'll go ahead and tell you it was worth it! I could still taste the watermelon, but it took on a texture that not only mocked tuna but tasted similar as well. It was delicious! If you're interested in trying this mindblowing watermelon "tuna" recipe out, here's how I did it.

Credit: Katlyn Moncada

How to Make Vegan Watermelon Tuna

I only used a very full cup of cubed watermelon. Feel free to adjust based on your taste preferences and the amount of fruit you have. There's also a YouTube video that shows the process a little more in detail I found super helpful.

  1. Add your watermelon to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1-2 Tbsp. neutral-flavored oil such as grapeseed, and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes. Give it a gentle stir and marinate in a resealable bag or airtight container for at least 6 hours.
  2. Arrange watermelon pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet (reserve your marinade for later) and put in a 350ºF oven for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Drizzle some of your reserved marinade onto your watermelon. Roll in black and white sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy!
I enjoyed my watermelon tuna poke bowl-style with black sushi rice, pickled onions, carrots, and salad greens.
| Credit: Katlyn Moncada

I already loved enjoying watermelon with savory dishes like my favorite summer salad, but I seriously still can't believe this vegan cooking method turned out eerily similar (in taste and texture) to actual tuna. If you're eating plant-based or maybe still don't like the idea of eating raw fish, this is a great option for you. It's delicious on its own, but I decided to make it a vegan dinner by serving it over some black sushi-style rice seasoned with Trader Joe's furikake seasoning and veggies. I'm pretty sure this watermelon tuna could make a great vegan sushirito, too.


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