When you're craving veggie sushi for dinner; but not the cost or the hassle of rolling sushi, these vegan sushi bowls are the perfect fun and delicious option!! This take on a popular and beloved Japanese 'fast food' is packed with colorful, crunchy veggies, sweet, salty, umami flavors, and of course spicy mayo sauce for dipping.
Our family loves veggie sushi and sushi bowls - they are surprisingly quick and easy to put together. I love how nourishing they are for my family, and the kids love the dipping sauces!
In this recipe I include 2 of our favorite sushi rolls deconstructed to 'star' in your sushi bowl!
Sushi Lover? For more sushi roll ideas, tips for making perfect sushi rice, how to roll sushi like a pro, and 4 more sushi sauce recipes, check out my Vegan Sushi Recipe!
Sushi bowls are basically rice bowls with all the flavors and fillings of rolled sushi (no fish), but less time consuming! Here's what you'll need to build your own bowl:
- Rice - Japanese style short-grain rice (aka sushi rice), brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice all work for a sushi bowl. So if you are gluten-free or grain-free, there's still a yummy option for you!
- Veggie Sushi Fillings - this is where the magic happens! Choose all your favorite sushi ingredients like grated carrots, cucumber sticks, radish slices, avocadoes, sweet potato fries, marinated tofu, etc. Plus choose one 'star' ingredient (more below)!
- Sushi Dipping Sauce - serve with traditional sauces like soy sauce (tamari), wasabi, and pickled ginger; but also try unagi sauce (eel sauce), teriyaki sauce, dynamite sauce, sweet soy sauce, and spicy sriracha mayo sauce.
How to Make a Sushi Bowl
It's fun to set out all the sushi bowl fixings: rice, toppings, and sauces buffet style and let each guest create their own masterpiece. When planning the fillings, keep in mind that the secret to the most incredible sushi bowls is a variety of textures (crunchy, creamy, crispy, chunky, smooth) and balanced flavors (sweet, salty, spicy, sour, umami).
To Assemble: place a scoop of rice in each bowl. Add small piles of grated carrots, cucumbers, cubed or sliced avocados (or an avocado rose!) whatever your favorites are. Then choose one 'star' ingredient (see below) and of course dipping sauces galore.
Garnish with pickled ginger, a glob of wasabi, toasted sesame seeds, and nori/seaweed crumbles.
Vegan Dynamite Sushi Roll Bowl
Tempura King Oyster Mushrooms - these tempura mushrooms mimic the texture and crunchiness of tempura shrimp very closely. They are warm, crunchy and super addictive. Pairing them with creamy avocado, crisp cucumbers or carrots, and a generous drizzle of dynamite sauce is honestly vegan sushi perfection!!
How to Make Tempura Mushrooms
- Shred, pull or cut the king oyster mushrooms to the size you prefer. *The shredded version creates small super crunchy 'tentacles' that are incredible!
- Heat the oil.
- Sift the dry ingredients for the batter. Don't add the cold water until the oil is ready to go.
- Once the oil is hot, add a few clusters of shredded mushrooms at a time. Cook until golden then flip and cook the other side.
- Transfer to a baking rack (place paper towelling under to catch the drippings).
- Immediately sprinkle with salt.
- Check the heat of the oil then continue frying in batches until all the mushrooms are cooked.
I don't fry or deep fry food very often; but every now and then there is something worth the extra indulgence, and these tempura mushrooms are one of those exceptions!!!! (So are these Vegan Baja Fish Tacos!)
Vegan California Sushi Roll Bowl
A classic California sushi roll includes crab salad, avocado, cucumber, nori, and sushi rice.
For my vegan version of the crab filling, I wanted something that was light with a texture similar to the fish version. Hearts of palm is a good vegan crab alternative for a vegan California roll.
How to Make Vegan Crab Salad
- Rinse the hearts of palm, pat dry, pulse them in a small food processor.
- Stir in the 'sea' spices and Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise) for creaminess.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
Leftover Idea: Leftover vegan crab salad makes a great sandwich with leafy greens, cucumber ribbons, sprouts, avocado, and a gherkin pickle!
How to Make an Avocado Rose
When I'm feeling fancy, I make an avocado rose for my bowl. People love them!
They take a bit of practice to get the hang of, but it's totally worth the effort.
Follow these steps:
- Choose a firm but ripe avocado (save the soft avocados for guacamole).
- Remove the pit and peel the avocado.
- Make evenly spaced cuts along the width of the avocado being careful to keep the avocado shape. Important Tip: Be sure to cut all the way through the avocado or the pieces won't slide away from each other.
- Cup bot hands over the sliced avocado (thumbs on one side, fingers on opposite side) and gently slide the pieces away from each other into a long rope.
- Pro Tip: have a kitchen towel close to keep hands clean throughout the process. Use a gentle touch to separate the slices being careful not to smoosh the avocado slices.
- Twist the rope into a tight circle.
- Gently press the tops of the rose petals slightly outward to 'open' the rose.
- Use a knife or spatula to move the rose to any meal that calls for avocado like a Buddha bowl, vegan taco bowl, avocado toast or charcuterie board to make it fancier!
Sushi Topping Ideas
Customize your sushi bowl - here's a few ideas:
- pickled ginger
- soy sauce (tamari if gluten free)
- wasabi (a must!)
- nori crumbles, seaweed snack crumbled and sprinkled over bowl
- toasted sesame seeds or try Seaweed Gomasio a 'sesame salt' seaweed flavor
- edamame beans - great texture, flavor, and plant protein
- mango slices - gorgeous color, sweetness and freshness
- pickled daikon, pickled radish, pickled carrots - crunchy, sour, and tangy
- sauce sauce and more sauce (keep reading for sushi sauce recipes and ideas)
Top 6 Favorite Sushi Dipping Sauces (vegan)
In our family, we LOVE a good sauce on everything. And our sushi is no exception. These are our top 6 vegan sushi sauce recipes (dairy-free, oil-free, gluten-free, vegetarian):
- Spicy Dynamite Sauce (aka: spicy sriracha mayo)
- Creamy Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce (sweet heat!) - ¼ cup Vegenaise, 2-3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek, 1 small garlic clove, ½ - 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Unagi - Eel Sauce (vegan)* - ingredients and instructions on Vegan Sushi Roll post
- Creamy Teriyaki Sauce - 1 tablespoon vegan teriyaki sauce or eel sauce plus 1 tablespoon Vegenaise (more or less to taste)
- Wasabi Soy Sauce - creamy or not (add a blob of wasabi into a small dish, drizzle with soy sauce or tamari, stir to incorporate until you get the consistency you enjoy - thick or thin). To make it super creamy add a small dab of Vegenaise and mix to incorporate. Taste and adjust per desired flavor and texture.
- Sweet and Spicy Tahini Sauce - completely scrumptious and elevates every vegan dinner!
*Despite its name, eel sauce does not have eel in it.
Vegan Sushi Meal Prep and Storage
Make ahead components: rice, dipping sauces, vegan crab filling, shredded carrots, cucumbers - store individually in the fridge. Use up for lunches and dinners for up to 3 or 4 days (rice can stay in fridge for longer or be frozen).
Same day: the mango, avocado and tempura mushrooms are all best if served fresh.
Tempura Mushrooms - to reheat the tempura mushrooms the next day, throw them in an air fryer for a few minutes or a toaster oven to warm them through and crisp them up.
More Delicious Vegan Bowl Ideas
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Epic Vegan Sushi Bowl Recipe
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Basic Sushi Bowl Ingredients (for all options)
- 2 cups cooked rice (sushi, basmati, brown)
- 2-3 Persian cucumbers, julienne
- 1-2 grated carrots
- 1-2 avocado (sliced, diced, rose)
Optional Toppings and Ingredients for all Bowls
- 1 cup edamame beans
- pickled ginger
- sesame seeds, toasted
- nori flakes (optional)
Mushroom Shrimp Tempura (vegan Dynamite Roll)
- 3-4 king oyster mushrooms, shredded/pulled
- 1 cup flour, ap or gf
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 - 1 ¼ cups soda water or ice cold water
- oil for frying
Crabby Hearts of Palm (vegan California Roll)
- 14 oz tin hearts of palm, whole
- 2-3 tablespoons Vegenaise
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 - 1 ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
- pinch salt, to taste
Rice, (white, brown)
- Prepare the sushi rice (basmati, brown or quinoa) or use leftover rice!
Basic Sushi Rice Bowl Ingredients
- Prepare the vegetables: julienne or matchstick the cucumbers, shred the carrots, and slice or dice the avocado. If you're feeling fancy, try an avocado rose!
How to Make an Avocado Rose
- Easy but takes a little finessing: Slice avocado in half, remove pit, and skin.
- Place cut side down and make thin slices across the avocado.
- Pro Tip: Make sure you slice all the way through the avocado for each slice. Maintain the avocado shape as you slice it.
- Cup your fingers over the avocado and gently slide the slices away from each other starting in the center. Fanning the slices into a long snake.
- Start at one end and curl the avocado snake into itself until it's coiled into a circle (rose).
- 'Open' the rose by gently pressing the top of the petals out.
Vegan Dynamite Roll Option
- Start heating the oil in a medium size pan or skillet over medium heat (to ~350 - 360º F).
- King Oyster Mushrooms - remove the caps and shred the stems by holding one end and pulling a fork through the length of the stem. Turn the stem and continue to shred until you've shredded the whole stem. Pull any bigger pieces apart.
- OR for larger chunks, break the stems into long thin pieces instead of shredding.
- Save the caps for another recipe or break into chunks and fry along with the rest.
- Tempura Batter: sift all dry ingredients into a medium bowl. *Add 1 cup of cold water, stir, and then add more as needed to resemble thin pancake batter.
- *Don't add the cold water to the dry ingredients until the oil is hot and the mushrooms are ready to go.
- Check to be sure the oil is hot. If no thermometer, place drop of batter into the pan - it should sink down, bounce up, and then sizzle and bubble right away.
- Once the oil is ready, add the first batch of mushrooms to the pan. Pro Tip: At least half the surface should be oil (don't overcrowd the pan).
- After 2 or 3 minutes, gently flip the mushrooms (away from you) and cook the other side until golden and crispy.
- Remove to cooling rack with paper towel below to catch the drippings. Immediately sprinkle with salt so it sticks to the hot tempura. Continue until all the mushrooms are cooked.
- Remove all the stray bits of tempura from the oil before each new batch so you don't get burnt bits sticking to next batch.
Vegan California Roll Option
- Hearts of palm vegan crab meat.Drain, rinse and pat dry the hearts of palm.
- Cut into large chunks and add to food processor. Pulse a few times. Do not over blend.
- Add the vegan mayo and sriracha, old bay, and salt. Pulse a few times.
- Stir with a spoon, taste, adjust seasoning as necessary. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Vegan Sushi Dipping Sauces and Accompaniments
- Make your choice of sauces (details in post) and accompaniments, eg. spicy mayo, soy sauce, wasabi, 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.
I made a vegetarian bowl version of this. I included the tempura mushrooms and the crab salad. It was absolutely fantastic. I made the rice in advance and it didn’t take a long time to come together. It’s better thank takeout.
Oh Yay, so happy you enjoyed the sushi bowl. Hope you made a few of the sushi sauces too! Have a great week!