Denise and I both love sushi, and, with a little care, it’s something we both seem to be able to order out in relative comfort. But I could eat sushi a lot more often than I go out to eat. You can make sushi at home, but mostly, I’m too lazy to roll my own maki*, and I don’t trust my own judgement on sushi grade fish. When I do sushi at home, it’s always vegan.
So my solution to weeknight laziness and/or heat is a sushi salad — flavors on the order of a California roll** or a veggie roll, which differs from restaurant to restaurant. I’m going to give a menu of options — the rice, cold avocado and cucumber, and dressing are necessary. Everything else is optional — I’m including some roasted veg, as an option, and some additional vegetables I’ve used and liked.
This recipe makes one sushi rice bowl. Increase as needed to feed more people. The roasted veg will make enough mushrooms for one, but I would just roast the whole bunch of asparagus and use the leftovers for snacking the rest of the week.
The recipe calls for sesame in the form of seeds in the dressing and toasted sesame oil in the rice and roasted vegetables — this is optional. It adds a nice bit of flavor, but if you’re allergic or just don’t have it, don’t worry about it; your sushi bowls will still be good.
*(Side note: Want to learn to roll sushi? The internet has tons of videos, but the one I learned from is part of the sadly short-lived Post-Punk Kitchen video series: Episode 1: Sushi and Cupcakes, which I used years ago when living in Bismarck, North Dakota before they got a sushi restaurant — they have one now. If you can eat soy, try the tempeh “spicy tuna.” It’s so good.)
**(Side note 2: Regarding California rolls, beware the imitation crab sticks. They can be rife with allergens, including dairy, soy, egg, and gluten, and likely they have corn derivatives. It would be generally safer to avoid it.)
Vegan Sushi Rice Salad
- 1/2 cup sushi rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar (set aside for after rice is cooked — and check this for additives!)
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
Cooked option veg:
- 3 or so shitake mushrooms, washed and stemmed
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and discarded (you will likely have leftovers of this, which is good!)
- 1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt (optional) and pepper, lightly applied
Raw veg (use these with or without roasted vegetables):
- 1/2 cup cucumber, cut into sticks or cubed
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 1/4 sheet nori, cut into thin strips and then into bits (use scissors for this)
Additional raw veg options:
- carrots, finely shredded
- sugar snap peas, strings removed, cut in half
- 1 Tablespoon gluten-free tamari or soy sauce replacer, or coconut aminos (I have not tested coconut aminos in this recipe)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (check this for additives!)
- 1 pinch of garlic powder
- 1 pinch of ginger powder
- 1 pinch of wasabi powder (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
If you’re going to roast vegetables, preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Start the rice. I always use a rice cooker, but if you don’t, you can do this on the stovetop. Just don’t ask me how. I can’t cook rice on the stove at all.
Roast veg: Toss mushrooms and asparagus in oils, and sparingly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
While the rice is cooking, prepare your raw vegetables.
Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together.
When the rice is done, toss the rice with rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame oil, if using. If using raw carrots, I like to toss them in with the hot rice to soften them.
Scoop the rice into a bowl. Top with the roasted and raw veg, sprinkling nori on top, then add the dressing.