A Guide to Homemade Vegan Sushi (with videos!)

Going out for sushi is fun, and so is making it at home. Here are the basics you need to know for how to make vegan sushi with videos to illustrate the different techniques, plus vegan sushi recipes to get you started.

vegan sushi rice in a square bowl with nori in the background

How to Make Sushi Rice

Good sushi starts with the rice, and there are a few ways to go about making your sushi rice. You can do it on the stove, in a rice cooker or in a pressure cooker, and you can make it from white rice, brown rice or a mix.

Choose your rice: If you can find sushi rice (white or brown), definitely pick some up! Sushi rice is ideal but not required for making sushi at home. Short grain white or short grain brown rice are your next best options. I have also made sushi using both conventional white rice and jasmine rice. These won’t be quite as sticky, but you can make it work. Regular brown rice does not work well for sushi.

Prepare your rice: There are a lot of methods for making sushi rice, and the one I use is a little bit short-cutty. You simply prepare your rice using your favorite method (stove, pressure cooker or rice cooker), but for every cup of water, add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon agave nectar to your pot.  For example, I make white or brown sushi rice in my Instant Pot using the same method I’d use to make regular rice. It comes out perfectly every time.

Some people add the vinegar and agave after cooking. See which way you prefer!

Notes on doing a rice mix: Doing a rice mix just requires some simple math. The basic rule is that you use 1 cup water for 1 cup white rice and 2 cups water for each 1 cup brown rice. You calculate the amount of vinegar and agave, just like you would if you were using only one type of rice.

For example, if I was doing 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup white, that would mean 3 cups water, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar and 3 tablespoons agave nectar. Follow the cooking time for brown rice, since that is the longest cooking time.

Vegan Sushi Toppings

Really, your limit in the toppings department is your imagination. Anything that you can slice into skinny pieces is fair game. Here are some of my favorite vegan sushi toppings:

  • tofu (cooked or uncooked)
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • avocado
  • cooked sweet potato
  • cucumber
  • carrot
  • green onion
  • cooked eggplant
  • mango
  • lettuce
  • kale salad
  • tomato

Any veggies or plant-based protein are fair game. You can go conventional or experiment with more off-the-wall sushi fillings. Have fun with it!

Going out for sushi is fun, and so is making it at home. Here are the basics you need to know for how to make vegan sushi with videos to illustrate the different techniques, plus vegan sushi recipes to get you started.

Sushi Rolling Tips

Rolling sushi is easier than you think, and you don’t need a sushi rolling mat to do it (with the exception of inside-out rolls). A sushi mat helps you get a nice, even pressure across the whole roll as you’re working, but you can just be careful when shaping your roll instead. I almost never use a rolling mat when making sushi for my family.

To roll your sushi, you’ll need:

  • sushi nori – You can find this at most grocery stores or online.
  • cooked sushi rice that’s cool enough to handle
  • your fillings – Slice them into long, thin pieces.
  • a small bowl of water – You’ll want to keep your fingers moist for most of the process, so the rice won’t stick to your hands as much.
  • a kitchen towel – Even with a water bowl, the rice is going to stick a bit.
  • a sharp knife - This is key for slicing your sushi. You may want to moisten the knife before slicing, as well, to keep the rice from gumming it up.

Different Sushi Rolling Techniques

Roasted sweet potato and fresh green onion make a healthy, satisfying filling for this brown rice sushi roll.

Conventional Sushi

To get started, lay out one piece of sushi nori on a clean, dry cutting board. You want the shiny side facing down.

Moisten your fingers in your water bowl, then grab a handful of rice. It takes about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of rice to make one sushi roll, depending on how thickly you lay it on.

Spread and press the rice firmly all over your nori piece, but be sure to leave about a half-inch “tab” of nori along one edge. This tab is what you’ll use to seal your roll closed.

Now it’s time to spread out your toppings! You want your toppings about a half inch from the edge opposite your tab. Lay them parallel to the tab. Don’t overdo it, 2-3 toppings maximum seems to work well for me. Too many toppings will cause your roll to split when you’re rolling it.

Now, you’re ready to roll. Start at the end with the toppings, and roll slowly, pressing gently along the whole roll as you go. Don’t press too hard, because you can split the nori. This is sort of a feel-it situation. You’ll have some fails at first and improve as you keep at it.

When you get to the tab, dip your fingers in the water bowl, and moisten that naked strip of nori. The wet tab will stick to the nori on the outside of the roll, sealing it closed.

From there, you just slice and go! Slice your sushi into rounds gently, using a slow sawing motion. Usually, you can get six to eight pieces from one roll.

This Sweet Potato Sushi video shows you the rolling process in action:

Sushi Burrito

Sushi burritos are super hot right now. You might think this is just another name for a hand roll, but the sushi burrito is a bit different. To make a sushi burrito, spread out the rice and arrange your toppings, just like for conventional sushi, but you can be more generous with your toppings.

Sushi Burrito

Here is where things are different: instead of rolling several times, you just roll it up once, and you only slice it once, rather than slicing it into small rounds. You end up with a much larger roll. It’s a lot faster than rolling conventional sushi. We make these once a week in my house, because they’re so easy and fun!

Here is a video showing you how to roll a sushi burrito:

Hand Rolls

Hand rolls are a whole different situation. They use a lot less rice and only half a piece of nori. You also lay out the rice and toppings differently, since you’ll be rolling at an angle. These are great if you want to use less rice per roll or need to use up a last little bit of rice and toppings after making other sushi rolls.

Here is a video that shows you how to make a veggie hand roll:

Inside-Out Rolls

You do need a rolling mat to do an inside-out roll, because it’s a bit more of a delicate process. You’ll also need plastic wrap to make an inside-out roll.

This technique is tricky to explain, so check out this video that shows off the process very well:

Nigiri

Nigiri is probably the easiest kind of sushi to make. Like a hand roll, it’s a great way to use up that last little bit of rice and toppings.

You don’t need seaweed at all (though you can use some). Instead, you make your sushi rice as usual, form it into balls and lay a slice of your topping of choice on top. You can use a strip of nori like a band around your nigiri, but it’s optional.

Here’s a veggie nigiri video to show you how easy this is to do:

Vegan Sushi Recipes

You can really get creative with your vegan sushi. Here are some vegan sushi recipes to get you started!

Roasted sweet potato and fresh green onion make a healthy, satisfying filling for this brown rice sushi roll.

Sweet Potato Brown Rice Sushi

This is a very simple roll, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! Sweet potato and brown rice were made for each other, and a little bit of green onion gives this vegan sushi roll a nice bite.

Sunrise Nori Wraps

Sunrise Nori Wraps

This is a more unconventional spin on vegan sushi. There’s no rice or rolling at all, which is a real time-saver. It almost treats the nori like a soft taco shell.

vegan sushi on a white plate with a blue border

Basic Veggie Rolls

This is more of a skeleton recipe for white rice sushi. You can mix and match your fillings as you please! The rolls pictured above are a salad roll starring lettuce and tomato.

an array of fruit sushi on a green tray - kiri, strawberry, mango, banana, and pineapple

Fruit Sushi

Dessert sushi is so much fun to make! To make the rice, you skip the vinegar and replace some or all of the cooking water with coconut milk.

Featured images via Thinkstock, Sunrise Nori Wraps by Amie Valpone, Basic Veggie Rolls by Andrea Reynolds, Fruit Sushi by Maggie McCracken. All other photos by Becky Striepe.

52 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thank you.

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y6 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Paulo R
Paulo R7 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R7 months ago

ty

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Mike R
Mike R7 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A7 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A7 months ago

Noted

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