I'm a sushi lover, and vegan sushi is my jam. This easy vegan sushi recipe is simple, fresh, and healthy! With 4 incredible dipping sauces these veggie sushi rolls made with avocado, sweet potato, cucumber, and carrots are super yummy and nourishing.
Don't miss this vegan sushi bowl recipe either for the days you don't feel like rolling sushi! It's packed with epic options and lots of sauce recipes! We can't get enough of these simple and delicious Salad Rolls with spicy Thai peanut sauce either or this Grilled Tofu Noodle bowl that is literally bursting with flavor and crunchiness! All are easy, gluten-free friendly, oil-free and delicious summer meal ideas that are loved by everyone - vegan or not!
Are you looking for an easy vegan sushi recipe that you can make at home? Well, look no further. Homemade sushi is surprisingly easy to make; and with just a few tips, you’ll be making sushi like a pro in no time.
Making good rice and rolling the sushi rolls were the two sticking points preventing me from making tasty sushi at home. It was one failed attempt after another! Too sticky, too soft, hard in the middle, not sticky enough - the list goes on.
I stumbled across this rice-making technique while reading Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. After so many rice disasters, I had to pinch myself with this method! It's so simple and reliable!!
Here I share tips so you can create your own tasty vegan sushi!
Ingredients for Vegan Sushi Rolls
Some of the most popular types of sushi are the California Roll (the original inside-out roll), the Crunchy Roll, the Dynamite Roll, and Rainbow Roll. I love re-creating plant-based versions of these popular rolls.
Here’s what you’ll need to make some of our favorites:
- Rice – short grain Japanese sushi rice
- Nori sheets – dried seaweed sheets found in Asian markets, in the International Aisle at large grocery stores or online.
- Avocado – adds a wonderful, fresh creamy richness.
- Sweet potato – baked until sweet and tender with a crunchy crust.
- Cucumber – adds freshness and crunch. Usually cut into spears or thin sheets.
- Carrots – grate them for the perfect texture, sweetness and crunch.
- Dipping sauces – what’s sushi without sauce? At our house it’s a problem! See below for some tasty sweet, spicy, salty, umami, dipping sauce recipes.
- Sesame seeds – adds nuttiness and texture.
- Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, spicy mayo, eel sauce, pickled ginger and toasted sesame seeds.
Additional optional fillings: mushrooms, tofu, asparagus, beets, grilled eggplant, radish, beans or sprouts.
Technique Highlight – How to Make Perfect Sushi Rice
I’ve tried many sushi rice recipes over the years with unreliable results. Using this easy method, consistently produces perfect rice every time.
Rinse the rice under cold water.
Soak the rice for 15 minutes.
Cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and rest for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl, stir in vinegar and mix thoroughly until rice is cool. Voilà, perfect rice!
Cover the bowl of rice with a damp cloth while making sushi rolls.
How to Roll Vegan Sushi Rolls - 2 ways
I’ve taken a lot of vegan (vegetarian) sushi classes from professional sushi chefs. They make it look so dang easy. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for 2 rolling methods (traditional and inside out) using a bamboo mat.
Let’s start with inside out rolls . . .
- Make the sushi rice.
- Gather and prepare all the filling ingredients (slice avocado, grate carrots, cut cucumbers, etc.).
- Cover bamboo mat with plastic wrap or bag (this is done for easy cleanup, I don’t cover mine).
- Set out a small dish of water for dipping your fingers.
- Lay the nori sheet (shiny side down) on the mat.
- Dip fingers in water and spread and press the rice evenly over nori sheet covering the whole sheet with rice (don't make the rice too thick!). Sprinkle sesame seeds over the rice.
- Flip the nori over and make a couple rows of veggies at the lower end (closest to you).
- Take the filling all the way to the outside edges so the end pieces are full.
- But, don’t overfill the rolls.
- Starting with the lower edge, lift the bamboo mat up and over the sushi filling creating a log. (thumbs behind and fingers curled over the roll). Gently tuck the edge under with your fingers as you roll the sushi and squeeze along the length of the roll to secure the filling.
- Then lift the mat and continue to tuck and roll the log (jelly roll style) until the sushi is rolled all the way through the end of the nori sheet.
- Gently squeeze the finished log and remove the mat. Pro Tip remember to pull the mat out after each roll or you’ll end up with the mat rolled into the sushi!!!
- Cover the roll in plastic wrap and chill in fridge while you roll the other sushi.
- Remove the plastic wrap. Cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half, and repeat until you have 8 even slices.
- Top with thinly sliced avocado, crunchy sweet potato shoestrings or a dab of Vegenaise topped with a pickled jalapeno or radish slice.
Method for Traditional Roll (nori on outside)
- For a traditional sushi roll, follow the above instructions to #6 but leave an inch at the top end with no rice.
- Place a couple rows of vegetables on the rice in the bottom third (closest to you) of the nori sheet. Make sure the filling goes all the way to the sides. Pro Tip: add a squirt of spicy mayo for extra flavor. Continue to roll following the directions above.
- Cut the sushi roll into 8 even pieces as above.
- Top with a dab of Vegenaise and a jalapeno or strawberry slice (or any topping you enjoy).
Tips for Making Simple Vegan Sushi
Prepare the filling and sauces while the rice is cooking.
Keep the bowl of rice covered while you are making the sushi rolls.
Dip your fingers in water before handling the rice to prevent it from sticking to you.
Don't use too much rice or filling!
Wipe the knife between each cut. Also Chef taught us to dip the tip of a sharp knife into water, tip the blade up and let the bead of water run down the sharp edge of the knife before cutting.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll in half and the halves in half and the quarters in half until you have 8 equal pieces. Remember: slice don’t saw the pieces.
Use a bamboo mat to make rolling the sushi easier. They are inexpensive and widely available in supermarkets, kitchen stores or online (affiliate link). You can roll sushi by hand or using a clean kitchen towel if you don't have a bamboo mat.
Gluten-free Option - sub tamari for soy sauce and short grain brown rice for white rice.
Storage and Leftovers - sushi is best served as fresh as possible! Same day ensures best texture and flavors. Because this sushi is made without fish though, the sushi can be stored for one day in the fridge with good success.
Vegan Sushi Dipping Sauce Recipes
Four of our favorite vegan dipping sauces for sushi. I like to drizzle a bit of each on every piece!
Spicy Mayo Sauce (yum yum sauce) – so simple, yummy, and easy to make (recipe below).
Spicy Soy Sauce – stir a blob of wasabi into your soy sauce.
Wasabi Mayo – stir a blob of wasabi and a few drops of soy sauce into Vegenaise.
Unagi Sauce (eel sauce recipe) – no eels in this sauce!!! Delicious as a drizzle or brushed on zucchini, eggplant or mushroom slices while grilling (soooo tasty!). Kinda sweet, sorta spicy dipping sauce – a must for vegan sushi rolls. (recipe below)
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Easy Vegan Sushi Recipe (simple+delicious)
- Bamboo Rolling Mat
- 1 ½ cups Japanese sushi rice (short-grain white)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2-4 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 sheets nori (seaweed)
- 3-4 avocados, sliced
- 1-2 small cucumbers, seeded and sliced
- 1 small baked sweet potato (method below)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 spicy mayo recipe*
- 1 unagi sauce recipe*
- soya sauce
- wasabi paste
- sesame seeds, black & white
- 1 bamboo rolling mat
- ***Preheat oven to 425º F. Once the rice is soaking, skip to the sweet potato preparation so they will both be ready at the same time!***
Making the Rice
- Soak the rice for 15 minutes in cold water.
- Drain and place in a lidded saucepan with 1 ½ cups of water.
- Cover the pan, bring to a boil then turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
- Cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat, and leave covered for another 15 minutes.
- Remove lid, add 2 - 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar (stirred together with 1 tsp sugar).Stir thoroughly to incorporate while the rice cools. Cover with a lid or damp cloth.
- Pro Tip: Keep the cooked rice covered when not in use.
- One More Tip: Keep a bowl of water for dipping finger tips while spreading the rice (prevents sticking).
- Last Tip: Keep a clean, folded kitchen towel next to workspace to keep mat, hands, and surfaces clean and clear for rolling.
Prepping the Sweet Potato Fries (make these while the rice is soaking)
- Preheat the oven to 425º F. Rack on bottom ⅓ of oven.
- Cut the sweet potato into ~¼" rods.
- Dip them in some plant-based milk, then into a bowl of panko bread crumbs.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been drizzled with 1 tbsp of oil. Shake the fries on the sheet to lightly coat the fries. Sprinkle with coarsely ground salt.
- Cook for 10-18 minutes until tender and crisp - shaking (or turning) halfway through. The fries should be tender and sweet on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Vegetable Filling for Sushi Rolls
- Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and skin. Slice each half lengthwise into thick slices.
- Peel and grate the carrots.
- Slice small Persian cucumber into long thin slices or wedges. (Deseed cucumber if too juicy.)
Spicy Mayo Recipe
- Whisk together ¼ cup Vegenaise, 2 tablespoons sriracha (more or less to taste), and 1 tsp of soya sauce.
Unagi Sauce Recipe (vegan eel sauce) Optional but delicious!!!
- ¼ cup mirin, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar: mix together in a small saucepan. Optional: add a few slices of jalapeno pepper or a squirt of sriracha for some heat.
- Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring up to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 8-10 minutes until it starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. It will end up being about the consistency of maple syrup.
- Store the sauce in the fridge for up to 3 months.
- Lay out your bamboo mat with an piece of plastic wrapped around it (optional: to keep the mat clean).
- For a traditional roll, place a sheet of nori (shiny side down) on the mat.
- Spread a layer of rice evenly over the nori (not too thick) leaving a small space at the top of the sheet.
- Place your ingredients in the bottom third of the nori sheet in a couple rows.
- Pick up the bottom edge of the nori and pull it up and over the filling ingredients rolling it away from you (curl your fingers over the bamboo mat and gently press along the length of the log through the mat). This will gently compress the filling and rice together.
- See details for inside out rolls in recipe post.
- Here's a video that shows traditional and inside out rolls (both are quick, easy and fun). The rolling starts at about 1:51 on the video.
- Place the rolls in the fridge wrapped in plastic until it's time to serve them.
- At serving time, take a very sharp, clean-edged knife, dip the tip into water, hold the tip of the blade up and let the water run down and off the blade. Wipe the blade between each cut.
- Slice the sushi roll in half. Slice each half in half, slice each quarter in half. This will ensure you have 8 evenly cut pieces.
- Decorate the top of your rolls with crispy sweet potato shoestrings, a dab of Vegenaise with a jalapeno slice or strawberry slice, some pickled radishes or thinnly sliced avocados.
- Arrange them on a serving plate and serve with dipping sauces, pickled ginger, and toasted sesame seeds.
This recipe is from simplyceecee.co food blog. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or republish this recipe without prior permission. Thank you.
This post was originally posted in March 2019 and updated in April 2021 with updated recipe instructions, photos, tips and tricks.