Veggie sushi is an easy vegan sushi roll that celebrates fresh summer vegetables. It’s a great way to get started making sushi at home!
veggie sushi is perfect for summer
Veggie sushi gives vegetarians and vegans the chance to enjoy all the famous flavors and textures of Japanese sushi in a plant based form. It makes the ideal no cook appetizer or light meal for warm nights. I love it because I don’t have to source sushi grade fish, and I can linger over it al fresco without worrying about it spoiling. Plus all those crisp veggies are so refreshing. It’s the Japanese version of a Thai summer roll. another favorite summer appetizer.
what’s in veggie sushi?
Veggie sushi is similar to regular sushi, without the raw (or cooked) fish. It’s basically crisp veggies of your choice rolled up in a blanket of sushi rice, encased in a nori, or seaweed, wrap.
- sushi rice ~ this is simply a Japanese style short grain starchy rice that is seasoned with rice wine vinegar, a bit of sugar, and salt. Look for it in the International section of your supermarket, it will be labeled sushi rice, rose rice, or Calrose rice.
- nori ~ sheets of dried seaweed. Look for it in the Asian section of your supermarket. Buy an extra package because it will keep for a long time in your pantry and you are definitely going to make more veggie sushi rolls!
- rice wine vinegar
how to make vegan sushi
Making sushi at home is super easy. Usually I don’t even use a sushi rolling mat, I just use a clean kitchen towel. Works perfectly! But I have to say the mat made it even easier and more satisfying. I recommend picking one up, they’re cheap and definitely worth having.
- Lay down a sushi mat or clean towel on a flat surface.
- Take a sheet of nori, and lay it on top of your mat with the smoother, shinier side facing down.
- Take some cooled sushi rice, and spread it across the nori, leaving about 1/2-1 inch around all sides. The layer of rice shouldn’t be too thick, but you don’t want to see too many bare spots. You’ll get a feel for it super quickly after a roll or two!
- Lay your ingredients towards the bottom half of the roll, but leaving a little bit of plain rice at the bottom, like the picture above.
- Starting from the bottom, use the mat or your kitchen towel to gently fold the bottom of the nori over your ingredients. You want to roll it fairly tight.
- Keep rolling firmly, until you’re almost at the end of your piece of nori. I like to dab a little bit of water along the top edge of the nori before finishing my roll, it helps it stick together better.
- To slice your sushi roll, I have the best luck using a sharp serrated knife, and dipping it quickly in a cup of water between each slice. This gives the cleanest slices. Often the first and last slices are a little raggedy, I use these as taste testers 🙂
- Congrats, you’re a pro!
how to make quick pickled radishes for a veggie sushi roll
It’s extremely easy to make a quick pickled veggie, and I make them all the time for garnishes and snacks. Here, I pared the method down even more for a quick, tart pickled radish that really livens up this vegetable sushi.
- Pack a half pint jar with rinsed and dried radishes cut into matchsticks.
- Add a bit of rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar for flavor.
- Fill the rest of the jar almost to the top with distilled white vinegar.
- Allow to sit in the fridge for at least several hours, or up to overnight (you can taste them as they sit and drain them once they’ve reached your desired level of tang, if you want.)
- The vibrant pink color comes just from the skin of the radishes, so don’t peel them if you want that nice color.
- Note: this kind of quick pickle isn’t meant for long term storage, so keep them in the fridge and plan to eat them up within the week.
what to serve with your veggie sushi
I served this veggie sushi appetizer-style, on a big platter with some dipping sauces and pickled ginger. But it would make an equally lovely lunch or light dinner. Here’s a few ideas for sauces and accompaniments…
- A simple soy dipping sauce – this is sort of essential. I like a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a little toasted sesame oil. Just mix to taste!
- Pickled ginger
- Spicy mayo dipping sauce (recipe below)
- Wasabi sauce
more appetizers for summer
- Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
- How to Make Tzatziki Dip
- Bloody Mary Gazpacho
- Farmers Market Hummus
- Pan Con Tomate (Spanish tomato bread)
- Cowboy Caviar Recipe
- Goat Cheese and Summer Squash Tart
Garden Veggie Sushi
For the quick pickled radishes
- about 1/2 bunch of radishes, or enough to pack a half pint jar, julienned
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- distilled white vinegar, to fill the jar
- pinch salt
- pinch sugar
For the sushi rice
- 2 cups sushi rice, cooked according to package instructions and allowed to partially cool.
- 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
For the sushi rolls
- 4-5 sheets nori (dried seaweed sheets)
- 1/2 medium cucumber, julienned
- 1 large handful of chives, chopped into pieces about 4-5 inches long
- 1/3 cup chive blossoms (optional)
- 1/2 cup quick pickled radishes (instructions below)
- a sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional
To make the quick pickled radishes
- Pack the sliced radishes into a half pint jar. Pour in the rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled white vinegar. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight. Note: this will create a fairly sharp pickled radish. Since only a small amount goes into each sushi roll, I think it's the right flavor balance, but they will taste quite tart right out of the jar.
To make the sushi rice
- While the cooked sushi rice is still warm, add the rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar and mix to combine. Try not to over-mix or the rice can become starchy.
- Allow the rice to cool to just about room temperature before assembling the rolls.
To make the sushi rolls
- Lay out your sushi mat (or you can use a kitchen towel) on a flat surface.
- Take a sheet of nori, and place it with the smoother, shinier side down.
- Spread rice over the sheet of nori, leaving about 1/2" of space all the way around the edges. The layer of rice doesn't need to be thick, but you shouldn't see too many bare spots through it.
- Arrange your sushi ingredients across the bottom third of the rice layer.
- Starting from the bottom, use the sushi mat or towel to roll the nori into a tight roll.
- To slice the sushi, I have the best luck with a good serrated knife, dipped quickly in water between each slice.
- Serve the sushi right away, or keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish with chive blossoms and sesame seeds.
To make the spicy mayo dip
- Whisk together all of the ingredients, tasting as you go. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- bell peppers
- chile peppers
- green beans