Even omnivores will love this fun vegan sushi recipe! Instead of fish, this sushi is filled with crispy roasted sweet potatoes and crunchy cucumber. Dip them in my spicy vegan “mayo” for a sushi experience that rivals that of your favorite sushi bar.
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! Vegan sushi is one of my favorite plant-based treats. And, believe it or not, it’s super easy to make. Trust me, once you get the hang of rolling it, you’ll be making your own homemade sushi variations all the time!
There’s so many vegetables (and even fruits) that make great sushi fillings; I tried quite a few combinations while testing this recipe, and the combination of crispy, caramelized sweet potatoes with cool, crunchy cucumbers won hands down. Once you make this recipe, you’ll find yourself returning to it time and time again. It’s that good!
Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through all the steps to assembling and rolling the perfect vegan sushi roll Let’s get started.
Ingredients in Vegan Sushi:
- Sushi Rice: Sushi rice is non-optional; You can’t make sushi without it. Other rices don’t hold together well enough to make a sushi roll because they lack the moisture that gives sushi rice it’s unique texture and stickiness.
- Sushi Vinegar: You can buy sushi vinegar in most large grocery stores, but in this recipe I’ll show you how to make it at home. All you need to do is combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt, and pop it in the microwave until the sugar has fully dissolved into the vinegar.
- Nori Sheets: You buy nori sheets pre-toasted at the supermarket. There’s no need to toast them at home. Mine are half sheets. If you buy whole nori sheets, you can cut them in half or leave them whole. Obviously, the larger the sheet, the larger the roll you’ll end up with.
The Sweet Potato and Cucumber Filling:
- Sweet Potatoes: We’re going to roast the sweet potatoes in the oven, after coating them in spices and panko. They’ll be nice and spicy with a lovely texture.
- Oil: We’ll be using a neutral tasting oil to coat the sweet potatoes before roasting.
- Hot Paprika: Adds a nice spicy kick that works well with the sweetness in sweet potatoes.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder is a lot less sharp and aggressive than fresh garlic, and it definitely has a place in many recipes where fresh garlic might be overbearing.
- Cornstarch: This is a little cooking secret – cornstarch is the secret ingredient behind crispy sweet potato chips, which is essentially what we’re making here. It absorbs the moisture, meaning your chips come out crispy, not soggy.
- Panko: Panko stays crispy, unlike some breadcrumbs. We’ll be using it to add a little texture to the sweet potatoes. If you prefer a gluten free vegan sushi, just omit the panko, or use gluten free breadcrumbs.
- Cucumber: Cucumber is a nice foil to earthy sweet potatoes.
The Sriracha Mayo Dipping Sauce:
- Vegan Mayo: Vegan mayo should be very easy to find in most supermarkets.
- Sriracha Sauce: That classic, oh so yummy chili sauce. It works so well here!
- Lemon Juice: Lemon Juice adds a wonderful tangy depth to your sauce.
- Garlic Powder: A milder alternative to fresh garlic.
Let’s Make Vegan Sushi!
- The most important thing you can do to make delicious sushi is to WASH your sushi rice. Put it in a sieve or colander and give it a good wash, moving it around with your hands and gently rubbing the grains between your fingers. In Japan they call this “sharpening”. Do this three or four time, or until the water runs clear. Japanese rice contains much higher levels of starch and protein than other kinds of rice, and it needs washing to remove the excess. Don’t skip this important step!
- Now, put the washed rice in a bowl , cover with water and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. Why do you need to soak sushi rice? Because it will absorb water, and it’s that water than ensures even cooking. If you don’t soak the rice, some grains will come out cooked, and some will come out raw. For perfect vegan sushi, you need to soak the rice.
- Wash the rice one final time and put it in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the water, cover the pan and bring the water to a hard boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer (don’t take the lid off) and simmer for 15 more minutes. With the lid still on the pan, remove the pan from the heat and allow the rice steam inside the pan for 10 minutes.
- Take the lid off the rice, and allow it to cool while you get on with the rest of the recipe. The next thing we’re going to do is to mix your rice vinegar with sugar and salt. Pop the bowl in the microwave for one minute, or until the sugar has dissolved into the vinegar. Now, gently stir it into your warm sushi rice, taking care not to break any of the grains. At this point your rice will look very wet and gelatinous, but don’t worry, the rice will absorb the sushi vinegar as it cools off. Leave the rice to cool while you make the filling.
- Peel your sweet potato and cut it into shoestring size pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl and add the oil, spices, salt, cornstarch and panko. Shake the bowl, tossing the sweet potatoes, to make sure they are evenly coated in the mixture.
- Now spread the sweet potatoes out on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each piece. Roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Deseed the cucumber and cut it into matchstick size pieces. I’m using half of an English cucumber which weighs 165 grams.
- Lay your bamboo mat out. You can cover it in cling film to protect it from getting sticky rice on it, but this is optional. Lay your nori out shiny side down, textured side up. It should be about an inch from the bottom of the mat. Now, wet your hands, shake off the water, and pick up a lemon sized piece of rice. Push the rice down with your wet hands, spreading it out evenly over the nori sheet. Leave a centimeter clear on the bottom and two centimeters on the horizontal side furthest away from you (see picture.) Make a slight groove in the rice about 1 centimeter up from the bottom of the rice. This is where your filling will go.
- Fill the groove with your filling, pushing it gently into the rice.
- With your thumbs on the back of the mat, and your forefingers on the filling, pull the mat up and over the filling. Just go to the end of the rice, and stop, pressing the mat down. Now, using the mat and both hands, roll the vegan sushi roll forward. You should end up with a neat roll. It does take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll whiz through it!
- The next trick is cutting the sushi! Use a clean, sharp knife, the sharpest knife you have. Get your knife wet, don’t wipe it off – and cut the roll in half. Once the roll is in half, you can line the two halves up and continue cutting equal size pieces. You should get six pieces from each roll.
- Lastly, simply mix the sauce ingredients together in a dipping bowl and serve alongside your sushi. Enjoy!
Did You Make This Recipe?
If You Love Vegan Sushi, You Might Also Like These Recipes:
Vegan Sushi With Sriracha Dipping Sauce
For The Sushi Rice
- 250 grams (1 ¼ cups) sushi rice
- 300 ml (1 ⅓ cups) water
For The Homemade Sushi Vinegar
- 75 ml ( ⅓ cup) rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp sea salt
For The Sushi Filling
- 1 sweet potato peeled and cut lengthwise into 1 cm pieces *I used 1 large sweet potato, which weighed 275 grams
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- ½ tsp hot paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 25 grams panko or gluten free bread crumbs
- ½ English cucumber cut into long thin slices
- 6 nori sheets
Sriracha Mayo Sauce
- 175 grams vegan mayo
- 3 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp garlic powder
To Make The Sushi Rice:
- Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. It's essential that sushi rice is well washed, so wash it several times, turning it over with your hands. Transfer to a bowl, add enough water to cover, and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Rinse again and add the rice to a saucepan with 300 ml (1 ¼ cup) of water . Put the lid on the pan and bring to a hard boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat (do not remove the lid), and allow the rice to steam inside the pan for 10-15 minutes.
To Make Homemade Sushi Vinegar
- Put the rice vinegar, sugar and salt into a small bowl and microwave for one minute, or until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the sushi vinegar into the rice, taking care not to break the grains. Allow the rice to cool completely while you make the filling.
To Make The Sushi Filling:
- Heat the oven to 225 C (450 F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the sweet potato and cut it into long thin strips, about 1 cm in thickness.
- Transfer the sweet potato to a bowl and add the oil, hot paprika, garlic powder, cornstarch and panko (or gluten free bread crumbs). Toss until everything is evenly coated in the oil and spices. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 20- 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Cut the cumber in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into long thin strips.
To Make The Sriracha Mayo Sauce
- Mix together the all the ingredients for the vegan srirach mayo sauce and put in the fridge until ready to use.
To Roll The Sushi
- Lay the bamboo mat out and place the nori shiny side down on the mat. The textured side should be facing you.
- Wet your hands and spread about lemon sized handful of sushi rice evenly over the nori sheet, leaving about 1 cm on the edge closets to you clean and 2cm (1 inch) clean on the edge furthest away from you (see picture above.) Make a small groove in the rice with your fingers for the filling.
- Place two potato logs and two strips of cucumber just slightly below center in the groove you created.
- With your thumbs on the back of the mat and your fingers on the front, pull the bamboo mat up and over the filling and press down with your thumbs. Now, using both hands, roll the mat forward.
- Wet a sharp knife and cut the sushi roll into 6 pieces. Serve with sriracho mayo.