Guys, I really really miss vegan sushi.
After getting married, the wife and I moved into a cozy apartment just north of LA’s ‘Little Osaka’ (2nd only to LA’s Little Tokyo). It was amazing – not only were we minutes away from the beach and some of LA’s best shopping and dining, we were also just a short jaunt away from our favorite sushi restaurant, Sushi Stop. Seriously, if you haven’t had Sushi Stop, three words: $3 Avocado Rolls! (is that four words?)
Alas – those days are behind us. Earlier this year, we did ‘the adult thing’ and moved to the ‘burbs. Of course, when buying our home we came to understand the true meaning of ‘value’ and knew if we wanted a home that met our checklist within our budget, we would have to go deep DEEP into suburgatory.
Literally, the closest sushi place to our new home also sells Mexican Food, Gyros, and lottery scratchers. What!? Just, no.
But good news. Vegan Sushi is super easy to make at home, and I’mma show you how. Follow me!
First off, I am a sucker for a good bowl. There’s something so comforting about tossing all of your favorite things over a bed of rice, and covering it with a sauce and fun toppings (bonus, no rolling skills required).
Now the base of any good sushi is a well seasoned rice. Specifically, a short grain glutinous rice, such as traditional shari (sushi rice) or Cal. Rose rice. This is important because the rice needs to have the perfect amount of starch to bind together and absorb the seasonings.
What makes sushi rice taste like sushi rice? The perfect combination of sour, sweet, and salty that can only be achieved with rice vinegar, real [vegan] sugar, and salt.
Since we are ditching the “360 nori approach”, let’s ensure we get that salty ocean-y flavor in every bite with Furikake, a Japanese condiment consisting of nori strips, sesame seeds, sugar, and other seasonings. Buyer beware – it’s important to read the ingredients closely as some Furikake blends have bonito or katsuobushi (dried fish flakes) and/or other seafood.
Of course, you can always have some handy pieces of nori on the side, which are perfect for impromptu hand rolls. I personally love these ‘spicy flavored’ roasted seaweed snacks.
And here comes the fun part – the toppings! I like to stick to the basic ‘veggie roll’ version, consisting of crisp carrots, refreshing cucumbers, and rich avocado. Mmmm, avocado. This version also has some bell peppers and bean sprouts for extra crunch, and I like to serve my bowl with freshly chopped scallions with a side of wasabi and soy sauce.
Of course, no bowl is complete without a sauce that can get up all in there and bring the bowl home. Feel free to experiment with your favorite condiments (I hear Sriracha calling my name). I love the taste of wasabi, so I whipped up a quick wasabi mayo, and boy I’m glad I did.
When it’s all said and done, this bowl is sure to satisfy your sushi cravings, and given the fact that prep is minimal, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Although we are miles away from our favorite sushi spots, my wife and I have a new tradition – sushi bowl date night. Dig in.
- 2 cups Sushi Rice
- 2 cups Water
- ⅓ cup Rice Vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp. Sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. Salt
- 2 tbsp. Furikake (make sure it's the vegan kind)
- ½ cup Vegan Mayo
- 3 tsp. Prepared Wasabi (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp. Water
- Carrots, shredded
- Cucumbers, julienned
- Bell Pepper, chopped
- Bean Sprouts
- Green Onions
- Any other toppings of your choice
- Wash your rice under cold water until the water runs clear, then place the rice in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water and set to ‘cook.’
- Meanwhile, place the vinegar in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 20-30 seconds until warm; add the salt and sugar and stir to dissolve.
- When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and let cool for 10 minutes; while the rice is still warm to the touch, fold in the vinegar seasoning, and let the rice cool completely. Don’t worry if the rice looks a little wet - it will absorb the seasoning soon enough.
- Once the rice is cool, fold in the Furikake gently, taking care not to mash the nori turning your rice green.
- Place your mayonnaise, wasabi, and water in a bowl or shaker bottle, and mix well.
- Alternatively omit the wasabi and replace for Sriracha, as per your taste.
- Wash and chop your veggies, and put them aside. Wait to cut your avocado till the last moment, to prevent browning.
- Place a generous mound of seasoned rice in the center of your bowl, placing the vegetables around the rice as you wish.
- Top with chopped scallions, additional Furikake and a generous amount of wasabi mayo, and enjoy with roasted seaweed snacks on the side.