Watermelon Sashimi

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Plate of Watermelon Sashimi slices for a delicious vegan snack

Do you ever look at foods and wonder what else they could be?

I do it all the time. That’s how I come up with recipes like Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwiches, Vegan Pepperoni, Eggplant Queso, and Quinoa Brittle. I think it’s limiting to think of foods as only being enjoyed one way.

Such is the case with watermelon. Think big, people. It isn’t just meant to be cubed and enjoyed at BBQs (although, absolutely delicious).

What if you turned it into “sashimi”?

Halved fresh watermelon for making vegan Watermelon Sashimi

What is Sashimi?

Sashimi is a Japanese dish of fresh raw fish or seafood (such as salmon or tuna) cut into bite-sized pieces. It’s usually enjoyed with soy sauce and wasabi. The exact origin is a bit of a mystery, but it’s thought that it may have originated from a dish called namasu or as a sort of “fast food”.

The following is our plant-based watermelon “sashimi” inspired by the concept.

Watermelon “Sashimi”

Just looking at watermelon it has the same hue as tuna or salmon. Kind of weird, right? The texture may be different, but its color and flavor lend to a fun application of sashimi. This plant-based version is oh-so much fun. Plus, it only requires 7 ingredients and 10 minutes!

Simply slice watermelon into triangles, wick away some of the moisture, and brush with a sesame-tamari glaze. A little wasabi adds a kick, which I thoroughly enjoy with sushi.

Wood cutting board with watermelon, avocado, onion, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, wasabi, and gluten-free tamari

Toppings can be modified to what sounds best to you, but to keep things simple I went with avocado, red onion and pickled ginger. A few sesame seeds (black or white) add a nice pop of color and tiny crunch.

Sprinkling sesame seeds onto vegan Watermelon Sashimi for a vegan summer appetizer

I hope you all LOVE this sashimi! It’s:

& So delicious

This makes the perfect summer afternoon or pre-dinner snack. In fact, if I had friends over for Portobello Stir-FryPeanut Butter Tofu Stir-Fry, or Brown Rice Sushi, I might just serve this as an appetizer. My friends are going to be so confused (and so happy) about this.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Using chopsticks to pick up a piece of vegan Watermelon Sashimi

Watermelon Sashimi

Simple, refreshing, flavorful watermelon sashimi in 10 minutes! Ripe watermelon brushed with a sesame-tamari glaze, topped with avocado, onion, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds! A simple, summer-friendly appetizer or side.
Author Minimalist Baker
Triangular watermelon slices topped with avocado, red onion, and pickled ginger
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 30 (pieces)
Course Appetizer, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Japanese-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 24 hours



  • 1 small watermelon (cut into bite-size triangles)
  • 2 Tbsp finely sliced avocado
  • 2 Tbsp pickled ginger
  • 1/4 medium red onion (very thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 tsp sesame seeds


  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp tamari (if gluten-free, ensure gluten-free)
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi (optional)


  • Cut watermelon into bite-sized triangles and set on a paper towel or clean towel to draw out some of the moisture.
  • In the meantime, whisk together the glaze ingredients. Set aside.
  • To assemble, transfer watermelon to serving plate(s) and brush the tops with the glaze. Then top with avocado, red onion, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy immediately! Best when fresh, though can be refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 30 servings)

Serving: 1 pieces Calories: 16 Carbohydrates: 2.2 g Protein: 0.3 g Fat: 0.8 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 61 mg Sugar: 1 g
Platter with amazing Watermelon Sashimi for a plant-based appetizer recipe

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My Rating:

  1. Omnivore4Life says

    Or…just eat watermelon as watermelon and sashimi as sashimi. If you don’t want to eat meat, why try make things taste, look, or feel like you’re eating meat…meat can’t be replaced by fruits, vegetables, or plants no matter how much you try.

  2. Dana says

    I made this as an appetizer for my mother, grandmother, and sisters for Mother’s Day yesterday (followed by fresh summer rolls and Alicia Silverstone’s edamame potato salad). This was such a fun and light dish! We all agreed that this is a new summery family favorite. Thank you!

  3. Ian Hamilton says

    Ah missed a trick here. Marinate in a little oil and soy, then roast in the oven. All graininess disappears, the corners go nicely caramelised, comes out with the texture and look of seared ahi tuna. Wait until cooked then add your toppings and serve on some sushi rice.

  4. Vegan Recipes says

    What a fantastic recipe! I love the mix of all the different flavors from the ingredients. It looks super yummy! :)

  5. Blanca says

    I thought you were doing the watermelon in oven craze! Is like real sashimi! :D
    But this looks awesome too (and a lot less time consuming)!

  6. Sam says

    I always add watermelon to my sushi since its color mocks salmon and its sweetness pairs well with wasabi. A recipe for watermelon poke would be interesting, considering it consisted one of my favorite flavor combinations!

  7. Danielle says

    I am so excited to make this! How creative, I love how you think outside the watermelon box! My kids will devour these…if I don’t eat them all myself first. Thanks for always sharing the best recipes around.
    xo, danielle

  8. Suzy says

    Dana, where do you put the wasabi? On the side, or would you put a little drop on top of the ginger?? These look great!! How creative!!

  9. Mason says

    I’ve seen this done with a vacuum sealer and always wrote it off as I don’t cook in the Chopped kitchen. You, Dana, have convinced me to try it anyway!!

  10. Cassie says

    VERY interesting take on sashimi, haha! This is perfect for any raw vegan party or fruitarian picnic! I bet avocado tastes really nice with the watermelon!

  11. Lucie says

    what a genius idea! such a healthy, great looking, affordable, think-outside-the-box appetizer or snack.
    love your creativity and your recipes!

  12. Aleksandra says

    I cannot believe no one before thought about it. You could patent it and sell for millions! Cannot imagine someone who would say no to that ;)
    (although I have a feeling no one can patent food)