Dining & Wine

Plant-Based Plates: Watermelon Poke Bowls

March 3, 2022

Plant-based chef Bailey Ruskus is a professional chef, a cookbook author, a holistic nutritionist, a health coach and host of The Plant Remedy podcast. Classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, she uses her culinary expertise to create rich flavours with clean, nourishing ingredients and help people heal from chronic illness through good food and a healthy mindset. We’re honoured to share some of her favourite recipes—you’ll want to make these at home, stat! —Vita Daily

Watermelon Poke Bowls

This dish will deeply satisfy and refresh you at the same time. I always get a craving for poke when summer comes around, and the plant world really delivers here. The umami flavors of the marinade match perfectly with the sweetness of the watermelon. And the spicy sauce? Well, trust me when I say you’ll want to put this sauce on everything! As important as flavor is, finding ways to enjoy sustainable seafood alternatives is even more important in our world today. Finding better alternatives to seafood consumption can not only help preserve our oceans, but it can reduce your exposure to heavy metals like mercury. Flavour and sustainability all in one dish: Watermelon poke for the win! Makes 2 servings.

Marinated Watermelon
¼ cup (60 ml) coconut aminos
2 tbsp (30 ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) Sriracha
1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid aminos
1 tbsp (15 ml) plain rice vinegar
½ small or mini watermelon, peeled and cut into ½”(13-mm)cubes

Spicy Sauce
cup (120 ml) Cashew Cream or ½ cup (110 g) vegan mayo
1 tsp Sriracha (see Bai’s Tips)
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp plain rice vinegar

Poke Bowls
2 cups (380 g) cooked rice if choice
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
2 small watermelon radishes, thinly sliced (see Bai’s Tips)
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 sheets nori, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 medium lime, thickly sliced

First, make the marinated watermelon. In a small Mason jar, combine the coconut aminos, oil, Sriracha, liquid aminos and vinegar. Mix the ingredients well with a fork, or secure the jar’s lid and shake it until the ingredients are well combined. Place the watermelon in a large bowland pour the marinade over the watermelon. Gently toss to cover all the watermelon in the marinade without breaking any of the little pieces. Refrigerate the watermelon for 30 minutes, or up to overnight, to infuse a watermelon with all that great flavour. To make the spicy sauce, combine the Cashew Cream, Sriracha, lime juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Mix the ingredients well, taste the sauce for your desired spiciness and set the sauce aside. It’s time to build your poke bowls! Grab two serving bowls. First, put your rice in the bowls. Next, place a big scoop of your watermelon poke right in the middle. Add the cucumber, watermelon radishes, avocado,carrot, scallion and nori all around the watermelon poke. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of each serving, drizzle the poke with your spicy sauce and add the lime slices. Serve the poke bowls immediately. BAI’S TIPS: Add more Sriracha to the sauce if you’re feelin’ spicy! If you can’t find watermelon radishes, use any variety of radish you can find.

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