How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Let's make a vegetarian poke bowl! They're fantastic this time of year because they're light, clean, filling but not heavy. Made with watermelon poke.

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Let's talk about how to make a great vegetarian poke bowl. Poke is a much-loved, traditional, raw fish preparation, long popular in Hawaii. Fishermen would season bits of their catch, and snack on it while working. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) has exploded in popularity, well beyond Hawaii, in recent years. The version I'm posting today is for any of you who love the idea of poke or poke bowls, but don't eat fish for whatever reason. Vegetarian poke bowls are particularly fantastic this time of year because they're light, clean, filling but not heavy, you know?

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Vegetarian Poke Bowl: The Components

I typically use a watermelon poke, a version of this sushi rice (but any favorite sushi rice / blend will do), and a host of other vibrant toppings. Here you see firm, organic tofu, sliced avocado, blanched asparagus, shaved watermelon radish, and micro sprouts. If you have guacamole on hand, use a dollop of that! The bowl is drizzled, simply, with good soy sauce. And there's a sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions. The other topping I really crave, not pictured here, is a showering of crispy, fried shallots. 

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Seasonal Variations

When it comes to toppings, what you see here is just a jumping off point. And I encourage you to play around with all the components. For example, you might trade in roasted squash cubes for the watermelon later in the year. Or, perhaps, a different melon varietal. And you could do roasted onions in place of scallions. Or, play around with the drizzle on top. For a quick poke bowl, I just do a soy sauce drizzle, but you could whip up something more complex. Have fun with it!

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl
Although, it can be argued, a vegetarian poke bowl isn't a real poke bowl, it's a great meal just the same. Keep your eyes peeled for other inspiration as well. I love seeing the creative vegetarian versions on menus at poke spots all over. Lots of ideas there that you might replicate in your own kitchens!

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How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

4.82 from 16 votes

For each bowl:
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked short-grain rice
  • 1/3 cup watermelon poke
  • 1/2 cup organic tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 cup sprouts or micro greens
  • 1/4 cup lightly-cooked asparagus (or other seasonal veg.)
  • 1/4 small avocado, thinly sliced
other toppings:
  • soy sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, thinly sliced watermelon radish
  1. Assemble each poke bowl with the rice as the base, topped with the watermelon poke, tofu, sprouts, asparagus, and avocado. Finish with a good drizzle of soy sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and watermelon radish.
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
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Recipe Rating


What do you suggest to make tofu flavorful and have a little kick to it with staying healthy.
Thank You


    You can season it or marinate it with just about any of your favorites. One of my easy faves is equal amounts of coco aminos or soy sauce, ponzu sauce, and sriracha sauce. Whisk together for a simple spicy marinade.

    Heidi Swanson

What an amazing idea with the marinated watermelon! They were little bombs of flavor that we couldn’t get enough of, and we used the leftover marinade to drizzle over the bowls. We’ll definitely be making this again – it’s a perfect summer dinner. Thank you!5 stars


    Thanks Katrina – agreed, it’s the perfect summer meal!

    Heidi Swanson

Really tasty, great summer meal! The watermelon takes on the flavor nicely and is yummy with the juiciness and sweetness. Love all your recipes, thanks Heidi!5 stars

Stacy W

    So happy you liked it Stacy!

    Heidi Swanson

Interesting! I will have to try the watermelon. We usually use steamed sweet potato for our vegan poke (it also changes texture while it marinates). Roasted slabs of sweet potato also make for a good vegan musubi.5 stars

Meg Oliver

Fabulous, thank you for posting!5 stars

Mel C

What would you suggest as alternatives to watermelon poke? From one of the weird few with a watermelon allergy.


    Another melon – cantaloupe? Give that a try.

    Heidi Swanson

This is such a great recipe! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

Tori Cooper

Poké bowls have arrived in London and are all the rage! Every lunchtime in Soho you’ll see queues out the door. And it’s easy to see why when they’re so beautifully colourful, customised, and packed with flavour.

Emma Warner

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