This is the best vegan sushi recipe because it’s made with simple ingredients and creates the perfect veggie sushi filled with sweet potatoes, avocado, and more. Make delicious sushi rolls at home with easy-to-follow instructions.
I am absolutely the last person who you’d think would be singing the praises of sushi. In fact, the first several times I tried it, I hated it. Let’s blame that on immature taste buds.
For years I’ve allowed the taste preferences of my inner seven-year-old to run the show. That meant mac and cheese and mashed potatoes were my go-to favorites. The good news is that taste buds are malleable. I am an expert on this topic because there are so many foods I hated that thought I would always hate, but now I like. When you keep giving food a chance, you suddenly like them.
This is the story for me and vegan sushi.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding sugar and vinegar to the rice creates a distinct flavor and sticky texture that helps the rolls stay put after slicing them
- Using sweet potato tater tots adds a bit of crunch to every bite, without making these rolls overly complicated to make
- Using vegan mayo and sriracha creates a spicy dipping sauce that means this vegan sushi is dripping with irresistible goodness in every bite!
What is Sushi?
Sushi originated in Japan and consists of a roll of seaweed wrap called nori, vinegar-infused cooked rice, and other ingredients, such as veggies. The word “sushi” actually means “sour rice” which is why vinegar is usually added to sushi rice.
Traditional sushi is oftentimes served with raw fish, but this vegan version is simply nori, rice, and veggies. If you find yourself doubting whether sushi without fish is good, let me tell you, this vegan sushi is amazing!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Nori — Think of Nori, dried seaweed sheets, like tortillas used to roll burritos. You can buy Nori in the International aisle of most grocery stores.
- Rice — I recommend using Japanese sushi rice for sushi because it creates nice, sticky rice. Make your sushi healthier by using sticky brown rice.
- Vinegar — We’ll add vinegar to the rice to create a slightly sour taste. Once combined with all the other ingredients it works.
- Sugar — We’ll add a little sugar to the rice to offset the sour from the vinegar.
- Salt — A bit of salt is added to the rice for flavor.
- Sweet potato tater tots — I know it seems like an odd ingredient for vegan sushi fillings. I got the inspiration from a local sushi shop that adds sweet potato tempura in their vegetarian sushi recipes. I wanted to add that sweet potato flavor, but without the work of making homemade tempura. Sweet potato tater tots did the trick!
- Red bell pepper — I love the color and flavor that thinly sliced red bell peppers add.
- Avocado — sliced avocado adds both flavor and texture for vegan sushi.
- Green onions — All the flavors are fairly mild, so adding a bit of sliced green onions contributes wonderfully to the flavor profile.
How to Make Vegan Sushi
Once you know your vegan sushi options, you will love making your own at home. So, let’s talk about making vegan sushi.
If you’re new to homemade sushi, this recipe is perfect for beginners! Maki sushi rolls have seaweed on the outside and make a beautiful and delicious meal.
There are a few steps when preparing the ingredients for easy vegan sushi, and it begins with sweet potatoes. So, let’s get started. Here’s a synopsis:
- Prepare the rice — Follow the steps below to ensure the perfect sticky rice for sushi.
- Make the sweet potatoes — Cook the sweet potato tater tots according to the package directions.
- Fill and roll — Add the rice and toppings to nori sheets, then roll them.
- Slice — Cut the rolls into individual bite-size pieces
- Serve with Sauce — Serve the vegan sushi with sauce and enjoy!
Step One: Prepare the Sticky Rice
Getting the rice right is one of the most important steps of a good sushi roll. I recommend buying sushi rice, which is typically short-grain white rice.
You can use brown rice to make sushi, but the flavor, texture, and color will be different.
Here are the steps to make the best vegan sushi rice:
- Soak. Rinse the rice and place it in a pan with 3 cups water. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Boil. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Simmer. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Rest. When the rice is done, remove it from heat, cover it, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. When the rice is ready, transfer it to a bowl. Pour in the vinegar mixture and stir to ensure the rice is coated. Cover with a wet kitchen cloth until you’re ready to roll the sushi.
Step Two: Prepare the Sweet Potatoes
As described above, we’re using sweet potato tater tots to make a crunchy potato filling for this vegan sushi rolls recipe. I find sweet potatoes make a really tasty non-fish sushi. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups from a bag of frozen sweet potatoes.
Cook the tots according to the package instructions, cooking them until good and crispy. When the tots are done, remove them from the oven and set them aside until cool enough to handle. Then place them on a cutting board and chop each in half lengthwise.
Step Three: Roll the Sushi
This is maki sushi which means the nori is on the outside of the roll. Place a nori sheet on the bamboo sushi mat, with the shiny side of the nori sheet down. Ka small bowl with water nearby to dip your fingers in because this can be a sticky process.
Spoon rice on the nori sheet and create a thin layer across the bottom 2/3 of the nori sheet. You’ll want to leave about 1 1/2 inches at the top without rice. Press the rice firmly to ensure it sticks to the nori.
On the bottom half of the roll, add a strip of chopped sweet potato tater tots, then a layer of avocado slices, red bell pepper slices, and green onion slivers.
You want to create vegan sushi rolls that all have consistent ingredients. That’s why thin slices of the veggies are important.
To roll the sushi, use the bamboo roller, using your fingers to gently press down on the nori sheet as it rolls up. Roll it tightly to the end. Dip your fingers in water and apply that to the end of the nori sheet and finish rolling the nori, pressing gently to seal it.
Place the sushi roll, seam side down, on the counter, and allow it to sit while you prepare the remaining sushi rolls. This helps create a nice, firm sushi roll.
How to Make Sushi with a Mat
If you don’t have a bamboo mat, you can still make sushi.
Use a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or even plastic wrap. Then follow the steps above to roll the sushi, using the parchment paper to pull the sushi roll up and over.
Step Four: Cut the Sushi Rolls
To cut the nori rolls:
- Place the nori roll on a cutting board.
- Dip a sharp knife in water before each cut.
- Cut #1: cut the nori roll in half.
- Cut #2: cut each half in half.
- Cut #3: cut the remaining pieces in half, resulting in 8 sushi slices per roll.
- Repeat this process with the remaining rolls.
Sushi Dipping Sauce
There are a number of sauces you can create to dip your sushi Combine ingredients like soy sauce with maple syrup for a very simple sauce. Sometimes, I’ll combine vegan mayo with sriracha and that’s delicious.
Other Vegan Sushi Fillings
Here are more veggie sushi ideas that might work for fillings too:
- Tofu — Make tofu sushi rolls by adding slices of marinated tofu
- Cucumber — Sliced cucumber is another popular sushi ingredient
- Ginger — You can add pickled ginger either inside the roll or serve it on the side
- Cream Cheese — Add dollops of vegan cream cheese as a filling
- Cabbage — Pickled red cabbage is another colorful and tasty option
- Greens — Chopped greens add texture to your vegan sushi.
More Asian Recipes
There are lots of goodies you can serve with vegan sushi, including these:
As you can see, vegan sushi recipes are easy to make and create a stunning dish!
- 1 ½ cup frozen sweet potato tater tots
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
- 1 avocado peeled and sliced
- 2 green onions sliced thinly lengthwise
- 5 sheets of nori
For the Sushi Rice
- Rinse rice and then place in a pan with 3 cups water. Allow it to sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Then place over medium to medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. When the rice is done remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. When the rice is done and has set for 10 minutes, transfer it to a bowl. Pour in the vinegar mixture and stir to ensure the rice is coated. Cover with a wet kitchen cloth until you're ready to roll the sushi.
For the Sushi Roll
- Cook sweet potato tater tots according to package instructions, cooking them until good and crispy. When done, remove from heat and allow to cool, until cool enough to handle. Then put on a cutting board and chop each in half lengthwise.
- Place a nori sheet on the bamboo sushi mat, shiny side down. Have a small bowl with water nearby to dip your fingers in. Spoon rice on the nori sheet and create a layer of sushi rice across the bottom 2/3 of the nori sheet. You'll want to leave about 2 inches at the top without rice. Be sure to press the rice firmly to ensure it sticks on the nori sheet.
- On the bottom half of the roll, add a strip of chopped sweet potato tater tots, then a layer of avocado slices, red bell pepper slices, and green onion slivers.
- Use the bamboo roller to roll the nori, using your fingers to gently press down on the nori sheet as it rolls up. Roll it tightly to the end. Dip your fingers in water and apply that to the end of the nori sheet and finish rolling the nori, pressing gently to seal it. Allow the roll to sit for a minute or two, seem side down. Repeat this proceess with remaining nori sheets, rice, and toppings.
- To cut the nori rolls, use a sharp knife dipped in water. Cut the nori roll in half. Dip the knife again, then cut each half in half. Dip the knife again, then cut the remaining pieces in half, providing 8 slices per roll. Repeat with remaining rolls.
For the Spicy Dipping Sauce
- Make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 10–20 seconds to heat it up. Stir to combine.
- Serve the sushi bites with the sauce.
(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new text in 2021.