Juicy Watermelon Steak? Medium Rare, Please

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This watermelon steak is an exclusive recipe from Mark Thompson’s (known as Sauce Stache on social media) new cookbook, “Making Vegan Meat: The Plant Based Food Science Cookbook.”

Craving a juicy watermelon steak? The following is an exclusive recipe excerpted from Mark Thompson’s (known as Sauce Stache on social media) new cookbook, Making Vegan Meat: The Plant Based Food Science Cookbook, which is available July 20.

Sauce Stache’s Watermelon Katsu Steak

After Ducks Eatery in New York premiered the watermelon steak, my interest was piqued in using watermelon as a meat replacement. I tried my hand at making watermelon ham (recipe further in the book) and I knew after that trial that I would have to take this watermelon experiment a heck of a lot further.

Watermelon as a vegan meat is an odd one for sure, and fun to play around with. Don’t expect a perfect meat substitute but expect to have fun and end up with a really uniquely textured vegan meat similar to raw fish.

This is one to play around with for sure. I have used a similar recipe sliced thin to make a fun jerky-like bacon. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Try adding Marmite or nutritional yeast for a meatier flavor, or you can really spice things up with a nice green sauce! Chimichurri! (Recipe included below.)

Sauce Stache watermelon steak
Thompson became interested in this dish after Ducks Eatery in New York premiered the watermelon steak. | Mark Thompson

Watermelon Katsu Steak


  • 4 watermelon slices, 2 inches thick
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegan egg replacer
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil for frying

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped


  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. 2

    Pat watermelon dry, then lightly salt and allow to sit on paper towel while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

  3. 3

    Mix together soy sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, paprika, olive oil, and brown sugar.

  4. 4

    Coat each slice of watermelon with mixture and place on baking sheet. Pour remaining mixture over the watermelon.

  5. 5

    Add a half-tablespoon of vegan butter on top of each slice of watermelon and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

  6. 6

    Once baked, allow to cool enough to work with, and dip in flour, then egg mixture, then panko.

  7. 7

    Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in large pot until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  8. 8

    Fry the watermelon pieces in small batches, constantly flipping until golden brown.

  9. 9

    Remove to rack or paper towel.

  10. 10

    For the sauce: Add everything into a food processor or blender and mix.

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