Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke

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If you’ve been following me here at Meat Free Keto for a while, you know that I enjoy drawing inspiration from various cuisines for my recipes. I think it’s really fun to explore other cultures through food, ingredients and rituals around eating. Fun fact: I actually wanted to get a Masters Degree in Gastronomy with a focus on Food & Culture, but I couldn’t justify the expense, just for the fun of it. I’ve always wanted to see Hawaii, but because of the ethics of visiting, I likely will never get there. So, I decided to create a little mini vacation for myself with Hawaiian food. The first recipe on this culinary tour is a low carb vegan basic poke that can be eaten alone as a side salad, or within a poke bowl.

Is this a traditional recipe? Of course not. It’s watermelon instead of tuna and it’s being made outside of Boston by a girl who has never even been to Hawaii. However, this recipe is totally delicious and definitely worth making if you want to infuse your day with a little Hawaiian flavor.

Also, before you worry too much: yes, you can have fruit on keto. There’s a saying that I like to apply to situations like this: the damage is in the dose. What I mean by that, is while watermelon isn’t low carb by nature, if you limit the serving size, you can easily accommodate the carbs into your day. In this case, the serving size is 75g, which is about a half cup of cubed watermelon, and it contains 5.3g of net carbs. So, while it’s not the lowest carb food in the world, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

I’ll be posting a poke bowl recipe using this poke in a bit, so stay tuned for that! I’d also love to hear if you make this – either in the comments below, or on instagram.

Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke | Meat Free Keto - a super simple way to add a little Hawaiian flavor to your veggie bowl.

Notes on Making Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke

  • Order of operations is important here. While it may not seem crucial to drain the watermelon, or let it marinate, it actually makes a pretty big difference in the end.
  • The recipe calls for around 2 cups (300g) of cubed watermelon, which is about the amount that you can buy pre-cut in stores. This was done very purposefully, so you don’t have to buy a whole watermelon!
  • This recipe doubles really nicely. And realistically, you don’t even have to fully double the marinade ingredients. For double the quantity of watermelon, I used 1.5 times the amount of marinade ingredients. While you can just double everything, I noticed that a lot of the sauce just pooled at the bottom of the bowl, and was kind of wasted.
  • While I strive to provide accurate nutritional information, different varieties and brands of ingredients will have varying nutrient values, so your calculations might not be the same as mine. If it’s pretty close, I wouldn’t worry too much about it! If it’s a bit far off, maybe double check the math or the ingredient labels.

Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke | Meat Free Keto - a super simple way to add a little Hawaiian flavor to your veggie bowl.

Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke | Meat Free Keto - a super simple way to add a little Hawaiian flavor to your veggie bowl.

Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke

Print Recipe
This Hawaiian-inspired low carb vegan version of a basic poke makes for a delicious side dish and adds a bit of flare to a veggie bowl.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Hawaiian, Vegan
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 servings
Calories 72


  • 300 g watermelon (~2 cups), cubed
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks scallions sliced (green part only)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds I like using these black ones for the drama


  • Cube the watermelon into pieces that are around 1inch/2.5cm. Place the pieces into a bowl, and chill (uncovered) in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. This will let the watermelon drain completely, and the surface will dry out from being uncovered in the fridge, which will allow it to absorb the sauce better.
  • Once the watermelon has chilled (for however long you decide), drain the cubes and transfer them to a lidded storage container.
  • In a small dish, whisk together the remaining ingredients (except for the sesame seeds). Pour this marinade over the watermelon and shake the container to distribute the sauce. Make sure the lid is secured!
  • Let the watermelon marinate for anywhere between 1-4 hours in the fridge, so that the flavors blend together and the watermelon absorbs the sauce. I like to shake the container every hour or so just to re-distribute the marinade.
  • Once chilled, toss the watermelon with the sesame seeds and serve. I like to drizzle the remaining sauce over the watermelon, because why let all that flavor go to waste?


To calculate net carbs - subtract the grams of fiber and sugar alcohols (if applicable) from the total grams of carbohydrates in the recipe.
I recommend letting the watermelon drain for at least an hour and then marinate for an hour before serving. For the best results, go the distance and chill the watermelon overnight and then marinate for a few hours.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.6g | Protein: 1.3g | Fat: 5g | Fiber: 0.7g
Low Carb Vegan Basic Poke | Meat Free Keto - a super simple way to add a little Hawaiian flavor to your veggie bowl.
For reference, this is what a serving looks like! The main pictures show the recipe doubled.

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