The origin story of ceviche is murky, but chef Rodolfo Cuadros loves one particular tale of food as medicine: South American sailors lost at sea cured raw seafood in a potent elixir of citrus juices to ward off scurvy from vitamin C deficiency. “It’s not documented history, but as a myth it’s pretty cool,” he says. At Wicker Park’s Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, he puts his own spin on the story with a vegan ceviche that swaps fish for seasonal produce like stone fruit, rhubarb, or, here, honeydew melon. Fresh with just a hint of heat, it makes for a lovely prologue to an early-spring meal.

Rodolfo Cuadros’s Honeydew Melon Ceviche

Makes:4 servings
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:45 minutes

1Small sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 tsp.Olive oil
1¾ tsp.Kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 cupSeasoned rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp.Agave syrup
2 cupsHoneydew melon chunks
2¼ cupsFrozen grated coconut (available at Pete’s Fresh Market)
1 cupLoosely packed cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1Serrano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
¾ cupFresh lime juice, divided
½ cupFresh celery juice (available at Pete’s Fresh Market)
 Black pepper, to taste
¼ cupRoasted corn kernels (like Corn Nuts)
1Small red onion, very thinly sliced

1. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast at 350 degrees until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar and agave in a medium bowl. Add melon, stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. While the melon marinates, prepare the leche de tigre: Combine coconut, cilantro, serrano pepper, ½ cup lime juice, celery juice, and remaining salt in a blender and process until very smooth, about 4 minutes.

3. Just before serving, strain melon, discarding the marinade. Return melon to the bowl and toss with remaining lime juice and a pinch of black pepper. Taste and add salt if desired.

4. Divide the leche de tigre among four plates, spreading it into a circle using the back of a spoon. Top each plate with a quarter of the melon. Garnish with sweet potatoes, roasted corn kernels, red onion, and a few cilantro leaves.