top of page

"Step-by-Step Guide: How to Cook Veggie Sushi at Home"

Veggie sushi offers a delightful plant-based alternative to traditional sushi, with a variety of vegetables and sometimes vegan cream cheese taking the place of fish. This article will guide you through the process of making your own veggie sushi at home, from preparing the sushi rice and vegetables to mastering the rolling technique and adding creative twists. Whether you're a seasoned sushi maker or trying your hand at this culinary art for the first time, these tips will help you create delicious, healthy, and visually appealing sushi rolls and bowls.

Key Takeaways

  • Season the sushi rice with a special sauce and choose a colorful array of vegetables for stuffing, including options like romaine lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers.

  • Use a sushi mat covered with plastic for easy rolling of maki rolls with nori sheets, and consider adding marinated or charred vegetables for unique flavors.

  • Incorporate vegan cashew cream cheese to make your veggie sushi completely vegan, and add plant-based fats like avocado for creaminess.

  • Create a complete meal with vegetarian sushi bowls, pressing and baking tofu for protein, and arranging a mix of fresh and cooked ingredients.

  • Finish with hand rolls and garnish your veggie sushi with herbs, spices, and serve with pairings like pickled ginger or soy sauce for an authentic experience.

Preparing the Sushi Rice and Vegetables

Seasoning the Rice

The secret to authentic sushi rice lies in its seasoning. Once the rice is cooked, it's crucial to season it while it's still warm. Begin by transferring the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning by combining rice vinegar, a sweetener of your choice, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium-high, stirring continuously until it simmers—be careful not to let it boil.

After the seasoning is ready, pour it over the warm rice. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the vinegar mixture into the rice, ensuring it's evenly distributed. The rice will become sticky as it cools, which is perfect for sushi making. To speed up the cooling process, you can spread the rice out on a baking sheet.

Cutting Vegetables for Sushi

The art of slicing vegetables for sushi is crucial for achieving the perfect roll. For vegetables like cucumber and bell pepper, slice them into thin, even strips. A knife or a julienne peeler can be your best tools for this technique.

Here's a list of common vegetables to consider for your sushi, along with the recommended cutting style:

  • Romaine Lettuce - long, thin strips

  • Carrots - julienne or thin matchsticks

  • Cabbages (red & green) - finely shredded

  • Radishes - thin rounds or matchsticks

  • Bell Peppers - thin strips

  • Avocado - slices or thin strips

  • Cucumber - thin strips or julienne

  • Oshinko (pickled daikon) - thin strips

  • Broccoli sprouts - as is

  • Broccoli - small florets

  • Pineapple - thin strips

  • Mango - thin strips

Remember, the more colorful your selection, the more visually striking your sushi will be.

Variety in Veggie Selection

Embracing a variety of vegetables is key to creating vibrant and flavorful veggie sushi. Incorporate both fresh and cooked ingredients to achieve a balance of textures and tastes. For instance, the crunch of raw cucumber pairs beautifully with the smokiness of charred scallions, while cilantro leaves add a fresh herbal note. Marinated vegetables, such as oshinko, introduce a delightful tang and complexity to your rolls.

Here's a list of common vegetables that can add color and nutrition to your sushi:

  • Romaine Lettuce

  • Carrots

  • Red and Green Cabbages

  • Radishes

  • Bell Peppers

  • Avocado

  • Cucumber

  • Oshinko (pickled daikon)

  • Broccoli sprouts

  • Broccoli

  • Pineapple

  • Mango

Remember, the more colorful your selection, the more visually appealing and nutritious your sushi will be. Feel free to experiment with additional toppings like seaweed salad, kale, or pea shoots to personalize your creation.

Mastering the Maki Roll Technique

Setting Up Your Sushi Mat

Before you begin rolling your maki, it's essential to properly set up your sushi mat. Cover your bamboo mat with plastic wrap to prevent sticking and to ensure a clean work surface. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the mat, ready for the rice and fillings.

  • Prep all ingredients and have your tools at hand.

  • Lay the wrapped mat on a flat surface and position the nori.

  • Moisten your fingers to spread the sushi rice evenly.

Once your mat is set up and your ingredients are prepared, you're ready to start layering and rolling your maki. The key is to apply gentle pressure and roll tightly enough to hold the roll together without squashing the ingredients inside.

Layering Ingredients on Nori Sheets

Once you have your sushi mat set up and your sushi rice prepared, it's time to layer the ingredients on your nori sheets. Begin by laying a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on your bamboo mat. With wet fingers, spread about 1/2 cup of rice evenly across the nori, leaving a 1/2-inch edge at the far end. This edge is crucial as it will help seal the roll. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sesame seeds over the rice for a subtle nutty flavor and a hint of crunch.

Flip the nori sheet so the rice side is down and align it to the edge of the mat. Now, arrange your chosen fillings - such as cucumber, mango, avocado, or sweet umami tofu - in a horizontal row at the bottom of the nori. The combination of these ingredients not only provides a delightful mix of textures but also a beautiful array of colors once the roll is sliced.

Remember, the beauty of veggie sushi is in its versatility. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and even fruits to find your perfect roll. Just be mindful of balancing flavors and textures for the best experience.

Rolling and Sealing Maki Rolls

Once you've layered your ingredients on the nori sheet, the art of rolling begins. Start at the end closest to you, lifting the edge of the mat to envelop the fillings. Roll forward, using the mat to shape the sushi into a tight cylinder. As you progress, apply gentle pressure to ensure the rice compresses, which is crucial for the roll's integrity. Be mindful to prevent the mat or plastic wrap from being rolled into the sushi itself.

After rolling, it's time to slice your creation into bite-sized pieces. A sharp knife is essential for clean cuts, and remember to wet the blade between slices to prevent sticking. Enjoy your maki rolls as a delightful finger food, complemented by a warm towel for a traditional sushi experience.

Creating Vegan Sushi with a Twist

Using Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese

The introduction of Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese into sushi rolls brings a delightful creaminess that rivals traditional dairy-based cheese. This dairy-free alternative is not only perfect for those following a vegan lifestyle but also for anyone looking to add a unique twist to their sushi creations. The cashew cream cheese can be easily spread on nori sheets before adding other ingredients, ensuring a rich flavor in every bite.

To incorporate this vegan delight into your sushi, start by blending soaked cashews with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. The result is a smooth, spreadable cheese that's both nutritious and indulgent. Here's a simple guide to get you started:

  • Soak raw cashews overnight.

  • Drain and blend with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt.

  • Adjust the consistency with a bit of water if needed.

  • Spread on nori sheets before adding vegetables and rolling.

Incorporating Plant-Based Fats

To create a richer flavor and texture in your veggie sushi, incorporating plant-based fats is essential. Avocado is a popular choice, providing a creamy consistency and a dose of healthy monounsaturated fats. Nuts and seeds, such as sesame seeds or crushed walnuts, can also add a satisfying crunch and nutritional value.

For those looking to replicate the mouthfeel of traditional sushi, consider using vegan mayonnaise or a drizzle of flaxseed oil. These ingredients not only contribute to the overall taste but also enhance the sushi's visual appeal with their glossy finish.

Adding Marinated and Charred Veggies

To elevate your veggie sushi, consider adding marinated and charred vegetables for a burst of flavor and texture. Marinating vegetables like oshinko or cucumbers in seasoned rice vinegar, or a blend of sugar, salt, and unseasoned rice vinegar, can introduce a delightful tanginess to your rolls. Charred vegetables, on the other hand, contribute a smoky depth that complements the freshness of raw ingredients.

When assembling your sushi, layer these marinated and charred veggies with fresh elements for a complex taste profile. For instance, pair raw cucumber slices with charred scallions and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves. This combination not only enhances the visual appeal but also the gastronomic experience.

Lastly, to maintain the integrity of your sushi when meal prepping, pack the components strategically. Place tofu or other dense ingredients at the bottom, followed by rice, and then the veggies on top to prevent sogginess. This method is particularly effective in a mason jar setup.

Assembling Vegetarian Sushi Bowls

Pressing and Baking Tofu

To achieve the perfect texture for your vegetarian sushi bowls, pressing the tofu is a crucial step. Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Drain the tofu and wrap it in a kitchen towel or paper towels. Place a heavy object, such as a cast-iron skillet, on top to press out the moisture for 15-30 minutes. For a more efficient process, consider using a tofu press.

Once the tofu is sufficiently pressed, cut it into 1-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with sesame oil and soy sauce for flavor, then coat them with cornstarch to ensure a crispy exterior. Arrange the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until each piece is golden brown and crispy.

Remember to use firm tofu for the best results, and if you're looking for a gluten-free option, tamari or coconut aminos can be excellent substitutes for soy sauce. The sesame oil is recommended for its rich, nutty flavor, but olive oil can be used if necessary.

Arranging Bowl Components

Once you have pressed and baked your tofu to perfection, it's time to arrange the components of your vegetarian sushi bowl. Start with a base of perfectly cooked sushi rice, ensuring it's fluffy and tender. Allow the rice to cool slightly before adding it to the bowl to prevent the vegetables from wilting.

Remember to add variety and balance to your bowl. Incorporate different textures and flavors to create a visually appealing and satisfying meal. Top your creation with a drizzle of your favorite sauce, and don't forget the final flourish of sesame seeds or other toppings for that extra crunch and taste.

Building Your Sushi Bowl

Once you have your sushi rice fluffy and vegetables prepped, it's time to assemble your vegetarian sushi bowls. Start with a generous base of seasoned sushi rice. Layer on your choice of proteins such as crispy tofu or tempeh for a hearty meal. Then, add a colorful array of vegetables like avocado, carrots, and cucumbers. Don't forget to include strips of nori for that authentic sushi touch.

Finally, drizzle your favorite sauce, like spicy mayo or a light soy dressing, to bring all the components together. Whether you opt for a meticulously arranged bowl or a more casual presentation, the result is a delightful and nutritious dish that satisfies your sushi cravings at home.

Finishing Touches and Presentation

Forming Hand Rolls

Hand rolls, or temaki sushi, offer a delightful twist to traditional sushi presentations. These sushi rebels are akin to tacos of the sushi world, with a cone-shaped nori sheet brimming with rice and a medley of fillings, all rolled by hand into a convenient and scrumptious package.

To begin forming your hand rolls, lay a piece of nori shiny-side down in one hand. With your other hand, slightly dampened, spread about a quarter cup of sushi rice in a square over half of the nori. Then, place your chosen fillings—such as tofu, avocado, bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber—in a diagonal line across the rice, pointing toward your thumb.

For a final touch, consider drizzling a homemade sauce over the hand rolls. A simple whisk of mayonnaise, tamari, ginger, vinegar, brown rice syrup, sea salt, and pepper can elevate the flavors to new heights. Serve with pickled ginger and a small dollop of wasabi on the side for a complete sushi experience.

Garnishing with Herbs and Spices

The final flourish of herbs and spices can elevate your veggie sushi from good to great. A sprinkle of sesame seeds or a dash of furikake can add a delightful crunch and a burst of flavor. However, for those adhering to a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, it's important to check the ingredients of furikake, as some varieties contain dried seafood or eggs.

When garnishing, consider the balance of flavors and textures. A small mound of pickled ginger or a dab of wasabi can provide a sharp contrast to the milder taste of vegetables. Green onions, radishes, and even thin slices of jalapeno or serrano peppers can introduce a fresh and spicy kick to each bite.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

After crafting your perfect veggie sushi, the final flourish comes with thoughtful serving suggestions and pairings. A well-rounded meal enhances the sushi experience, offering a symphony of flavors and textures. Consider the following pairings to elevate your sushi dining:

  • Japanese vegetable side dishes provide a refreshing crunch and a burst of flavor that complements the delicate taste of sushi.

  • A warm bowl of Japanese soup can act as a comforting counterpoint to the cool sushi.

  • Pickled vegetables bring acidity and brightness, cutting through the richness of the sushi rice.

  • For a more substantial meal, include Rice side dishes that can absorb the sushi's flavors.

  • Japanese Salads, with their light dressings, offer a crisp contrast to the sushi's texture.


Crafting veggie sushi at home is a delightful and creative culinary adventure that allows you to explore a variety of flavors and textures. Whether you opt for the classic maki rolls or experiment with hand rolls and sushi bowls, the key is to enjoy the process and personalize your sushi with your favorite vegetables and fillings. Remember to be patient, as rolling sushi can take some practice, but the end result is a healthy, vibrant, and satisfying meal that's both vegan-friendly and a feast for the eyes. So gather your ingredients, invite some friends or family to join in, and roll up your sleeves for a fun sushi-making session that's sure to impress!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between vegan sushi and vegetarian sushi?

Vegan sushi is made with rice seasoned with a sauce and stuffed with sliced vegetables, rolled without any animal products. Vegetarian sushi may include similar ingredients but can also contain dairy products like cream cheese. Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese is a dairy-free alternative for making sushi completely vegan.

How do I prepare the sushi mat for rolling veggie sushi?

Prepare your sushi mat by sliding it into a gallon-sized plastic bag with a twist-tie or covering it with plastic wrap. This helps simplify the rolling process and makes clean-up easier.

What vegetables can I use in veggie sushi?

Common vegetables for sushi include romaine lettuce, carrots, cabbages, radishes, bell peppers, avocado, cucumber, oshinko (pickled daikon), broccoli, and sprouts. Adding colorful vegetables like pineapple or mango can enhance the visual appeal and flavor.

How do I make my veggie sushi rolls stand out?

To make your veggie rolls stand out, use a mix of fresh and cooked ingredients with a generous amount of herbs. Incorporate raw vegetables like cucumber with charred scallions and cilantro leaves. Marinated veggies like oshinko add acidity and texture, while avocado provides creaminess.

What are the steps to make a vegetarian sushi bowl?

To make a vegetarian sushi bowl, press and bake tofu for a crispy texture, and then arrange tofu, avocado, bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber in your bowl. Add your choice of sushi rice and other desired ingredients to build your bowl.

How do I form hand rolls for veggie sushi?

To form hand rolls, hold a sheet of nori shiny side down and spread sushi rice evenly over half of it. Place your fillings diagonally across the rice, roll into a cone shape, and seal the edge with a few grains of sushi rice or wasabi, if desired. Serve with pickled ginger.

19 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page