Enjoy vegan sushi from home; they’re easy to make, fun to customize, and within no time at all, you’ll be enjoying restaurant-quality veggie sushi rolls (makizushi) packed with all your vegetable faves and ready to impress; with no meat or seafood in sight!
The Best Veggie Sushi Rolls – Fun, Fresh, and Flavorful!
Every family has its traditions, and for my sister and me, that involves lots of vegan sushi making – which is exactly what we did when I was in Germany recently. Let’s be honest, it tastes great but is also so fun to make as a group (sushi-making party!). So, I thought it was finally time to share a recipe for these delicious (and adaptable) veggie sushi rolls.
Homemade sushi is much simpler to make than it seems! Plus, it’s easy to customize and can be packed with tons of delicious fresh veggies and ingredients you’ll love, like avocado, cucumber, bell peppers, and even dairy-free cream cheese. And you all know I love a veggie-packed, Asian-inspired recipe – like Korean scallion pancakes, veggie lo mein, vegan cabbage rolls, and vegetable chop suey!
Whether you just want sushi without fish, vegetarian sushi, or vegan sushi, keep on reading for the best sushi recipe I’ve made (not to toot my own horn!) after many years of perfecting it. How are such a simple combination of seasoned rice, dried seaweed, and fresh veggies so addictively delicious?! While you’re at it, you might like this vegetable gyoza recipe too!
The Ingredients and Tools You’ll Need
For the sushi rice
- Sushi rice: You can use white or brown sushi rice (brown requires a little extra cooking time, though – follow box).
- Rice vinegar: Essential for this seasoned sushi rice
- Sugar: You can alternatively use a sugar-free sweetener. But don’t omit it entirely.
- Salt: Just a little needed to season the rice.
- Bell pepper
- Spring onion
- Avocado (dipped in lemon if not eating immediately)
Optional other veggie sushi rolls fillings: sweet potato fries, pumpkin fries, tofu, asparagus, green beans, mango, enoki mushroom, sprouts, radish, etc. Because this sushi is without fish doesn’t mean it’s not packed with flavor!
Other sushi recipe ingredients
- Nori sheets: You’ll need 12-16 nori sheets (nori leaves) based on how much you stuff them with fillings.
- Pickled ginger (recommended)
- Soy sauce: Or tamari for gluten-free
- Wasabi (recommended)
- Vegan cream cheese (optional)
- Sushi mat (bamboo mat): If you don’t have one, you could use a thick kitchen towel (place the sushi on a piece of plastic wrap over the kitchen towel). It’s also possible to do with just parchment paper, though slightly trickier. The bamboo mat is the easiest way to get a tight sushi roll.
- Chopsticks (optional)
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Vegan Sushi
Step 1: Soak the rice
- First, rinse the sushi rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Drip dry, then transfer to a pot and cover with plenty of cold water.
- Allow the rice to soak for 20-30 minutes, then drain and add a fresh 900 ml (3 3/4th cups) of water.
Step 2: How to cook sushi rice
- Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid, and let the rice steam for about 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot (still covered) to steam for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, but don’t let the mixture boil.
- Transfer the rice to a large bowl and pour the rice vinegar mixture over it. Mix well with 2 wooden spoons, and then cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel to cool (without drying).
Step 3: Assemble the sushi rolls
- While the rice cools, chop the vegetables to thin matchsticks.
- To assemble a sushi roll, place a nori sheet, smooth side down, onto a sushi mat. Then use enough rice to spread across the sheet in a thin layer, leaving the bottom 3-4 cm (1 ½-inches) empty.
I recommend keeping a small bowl of water near you to dip your fingers into a lot, as this will stop the rice from sticking to them.
- Then, it’s time to place the fillings in the vegan sushi rolls. Place the vegetable matchsticks side-by-side in 2-3 rows on the top third of the nori sheet. Optionally, add vegan cream cheese underneath the veggies.
Step 4: How to roll sushi
Now it’s time to roll up the sushi – this takes a bit of practice, but don’t worry, you’ll get it in no time. Also, even ugly sushi rolls taste great (wahey!)
- Use the bamboo mat to roll the nori sheet (follow the step-by-step pictures). Then lightly wet the end of the nori sheet to ‘seal’ the sushi roll.
- Place the sushi roll on a cutting board and cut it with a sharp knife into pieces about 3-5 cm (1 1/2-2 inches) in size. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. Then serve!
How to Serve and Store
Serve the vegan sushi with soy sauce (tamari for GF), wasabi, and pickled ginger. I also like to sprinkle them with sesame seeds. You could also enjoy the veggie sushi rolls with vegan mayo, make a spicy vegan mayo with the addition of sriracha, or even use yum yum sauce.
To store: This sushi recipe is best enjoyed as fresh as possible, as the rice will begin to dry out and the quality deteriorates. I recommend storing the sushi rolls wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 2-3 days, though try to eat it within 24hrs, if possible. However, remember that avocado will brown quickly, so dip them in lemon juice.
What is actually sushi?
While many people think of sushi as the raw fish part of this dish, sushi actually refers to ‘sour tasting’ rice. The vinegared, seasoned rice is combined with vegetables, fish, and other proteins in various forms. For example, this recipe is for vegan sushi rolls aka ‘makizushi,’ a roll with rice and fillings wrapped inside dried seaweed (nori).
Can you replace the white rice in sushi?
You can use several types of rice/grains for sushi, including brown sushi rice (cooked similarly but slightly longer), quinoa, couscous, or even cauliflower rice (low-carb option). There are also options to make sushi with red rice and black rice too. However, each will require a different cooking/preparation method. I personally recommend avoiding any long-grain rice, which won’t bind as well.
What are other types of sushi?
- Make a sushi burrito: Slice your rolled sushi in half (at a slight angle), and voilà, two sushi burritos. Perfect for a quick lunch with no utensils required!
- Roll the sushi into a temaki roll: Cut each nori sheet in half, then top with the rice and fillings of your choice over the left 1/3 of the nori (make sure to leave the bottom left corner empty for rolling over. Then roll from the bottom corner left-right, and you’ll have a triangle vegetarian sushi ‘temaki’ roll. No need to panic about tight rolling or bamboo mats!
- To roll and inside out roll (uramaki): Spread the rice over the nori as mentioned above. Then flip the nori over, placing the rice side face-down over plastic wrap. Add your fillings over the nori and then roll up and seal. Make sure to roll tightly, so the fillings don’t all slide out.
Recipe Notes for the Best Vegan Sushi
- Be careful not to overfill: This is one of the most important tips. If you try to overload the sushi, it’ll be a nightmare to roll up.
- Practice makes perfect: Your first-ever veggie sushi rolls may not look the best, but don’t worry, practice makes perfect (and it’s a great excuse to eat more delicious sushi!)
- Use a slightly damp knife: When slicing the sushi, if needed.
- Host a sushi–making party: Want to have some fun of it? Like I do with my sister and her partner, you can throw a sushi party by preparing lots of filling options and rice ready for the beginning of the ‘party,’ then guests can choose and fill and roll their own sushi rolls!
Other Healthy Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Tantanmen ramen with bok choy
- Creamy vegan ramen
- Sticky teriyaki tofu
- Kung pao cauliflower
- Peanut butter noodles
If you try this vegan sushi recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
For the sushi rice
- 1 carrot
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 1 white radish
- 3 red radishes
- 2-3 spring onions
- 1 avocado
- 12 leaves of nori (more if needed)
- pickled ginger
- soy sauce
- wasabi (optional)
- vegan cream cheese (optional)
Cook the sushi rice
- Rinse the sushi rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Let the water drip off, transfer the rice into a pot and cover with plenty of cold water.
- Let the rice soak in the water for about 20-30 minutes, then drain the water and add 900 ml (3 3/4 cups) of fresh water.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and let the rice simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot (still covered) on the stove for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the rice vinegar with the sugar and salt (don't let it boil!) until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
- Transfer the rice into a large bowl and pour the rice vinegar mixture over it. Mix well with 2 wooden spoons and then cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel.
Make the sushi rolls
- While the rice is cooling, cut vegetables of choice into sticks.
- Then place a nori sheet, smooth side down, on a sushi mat. Add a generous amount of sushi rice and spread it out with moistened fingers, but leave out the last 3-4 cm (1 1/2 inches) at the bottom of the nori sheet.Note: It is best to have a small bowl of water ready to keep dipping your fingers in between.
- Place the vegetable strips in 2-3 rows on the top third of the nori sheet. Optionally, add vegan cream cheese underneath.
- Then roll up the nori sheet tightly using the bamboo mat (see step-by-step pictures in the post). Rolling up takes a little practice, but gets better each time.
- Wet the end from the nori sheet with water to "seal" the sushi roll.
- Place the sushi roll on a cutting board and cut it with a sharp knife into pieces about 3-5 cm (1 1/2-2 inches) in size. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients.
- Serve the vegan sushi with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. Enjoy!
- Use veggies of choice: Some other options are zucchini, asparagus, green beans, mango, enoki mushroom, sprouts, etc. You can also add fried tofu or tempeh.
- Be careful not to overfill: This is one of the most important tips. If you try to overload the sushi, it’ll be difficult to roll up.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically