Japanese Style Vegan Faux Fish (100% Watermelon)

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Japanese Style Vegan Faux Fish (100% Watermelon)

This faux fish is an excellent replacement for raw tuna fish in asian – specifically Japanese – recipes. It takes a little while to make, but it’s well worth the effort!


  • 200-gram watermelon
  • 1 tablespoon kelp powder
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
For Basting:
  • roughly 1/2 cup water


  1. Cut the watermelon into the shape of your liking, I went for the common shape of a salmon filet but a tuna steak might be more fitting as it resembles the color, texture, and taste of tuna more. I recommend keeping it whole, rather than cutting it into small, bite-sized cubes (which you can always do afterward) in order to retain its shape when baking in the oven.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except for the watermelon to create a marinade, this can be done in a shallow dish or zip-lock bag. The marinade will be quite thick so you can use your hands to make sure that the watermelon is fully covered. Add in the watermelon and transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 12-24 hours.

  3. Once all the flavors have been absorbed by the watermelon, transfer to an ovenproof bowl or dish and bake in the oven for about 2 hours at 180° C (this may vary depending on how you’ve cut your ‘fish’. Keep your eye on it as it bakes and add a bit of water every time it gets dry. The fish should be semi-submerged in the diluted marinade. I used 1/2 a cup of added water.

  4. Once the fish has finished baking, take it out of the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, wash off any excess marinade or burnt bits, and voilà your fish is ready to eat! It can be used as-is, or cut into smaller pieces to use in ‘tuna’ sushi or ‘tuna’ tartare. Enjoy!