You won't miss the fish in this vegan sushi recipe! Instead, marinated beets, cucumber, and avocado create a fresh, fun, and flavorful filling.
I’ve shared vegan sushi recipes before, but earlier this winter, I thought of another idea that I just had to try. I wanted to make vegan sushi that looked like, well, not vegan sushi. I thought that if I marinated pink Chioggia beets they’d look pretty darn similar to tuna. How cute would that be?! There was just one problem: Jack hates beets.
Sure, he’ll eat certain beet recipes from time to time, but that only happens when I put a dish in front of him and don’t tell him what’s in it. And in our house, vegan sushi is one thing we always make together. I prep the filling, and Jack assembles the rolls. I really couldn’t do it without him…
Until this winter! After a few very messy rolls and some pointers from Jack (I kept the beets out of sight), I succeeded in making this adorable vegan sushi. I mean, doesn’t that look like fish?! I loved it, but of course, it had yet to pass the real test. When Jack finally tried it, I knew I had to share this vegan sushi recipe. Beets notwithstanding, he polished it off in no time.
Vegan Sushi Recipe Ingredients
In the past, I’ve made vegan sushi without any sort of “fish.” Instead, I’ve used medleys of produce like cabbage and shiitake mushrooms and mango and avocado. The rolls are great, but I think the tuna-like look of this vegan sushi is just so fun!
For this recipe, I recommend seeking out Chioggia beets as opposed to red or golden ones. They have a pretty pink and white pattern, which gives this recipe its signature look.
To prepare them, roast the beets for 45 to 60 minutes, until they’re soft and fork-tender. Allow them to cool slightly. Then, slip off the skins and slice them into strips.
Finally, marinate them! Made with tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger, the marinade infuses the beets with tangy, nutty flavor.
While the beets are marinating, prep the remaining ingredients:
- Sushi rice – Make sure to allow time for it to cool before you assemble your rolls!
- Cucumber – It adds a refreshing crunch.
- Avocado – Its creamy texture is fantastic here.
- Nori – Look for it in Asian markets or the Asian section of your grocery store.
I also recommend sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and a simple sriracha mayo for serving.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Vegan Sushi
If you’ve never made sushi at home before, don’t let it intimidate you. It’s surprisingly easy, and even if your rolls don’t look perfect, they’ll still taste great! Here’s what you need to do:
First, assemble the sushi ingredients on a bamboo sushi mat. Place a nori sheet glossy-side-down on the mat, and press a handful of the cooked rice into the lower two-thirds of the sheet. I like to keep a bowl of water and a kitchen towel nearby for this step. Your hands will get sticky!
Near the lower edge of the rice, place a row of the beet, cucumber, and avocado. Don’t add more than a single layer! Otherwise, your sushi will be difficult to roll.
Next, roll! Lift the lower edge of the bamboo mat, and use it to tuck and roll the sushi into a cylinder. Use the mat to gently press and secure the roll. This step will prevent it from coming apart when you slice it.
Remove the roll from the mat, set it aside, and repeat the rolling process with the remaining ingredients.
Finally, slice and eat. Use a sharp knife to cut the sushi into rounds, using a damp towel to wipe off the knife between cuts. Enjoy!
Vegan Sushi Serving Suggestions
I like to serve my vegan sushi rolls with sesame seeds and pickled ginger, which highlights the gingery flavor of the marinated beets. It’s yummy just like that, but it’s fantastic with a dipping sauce too. Serve it with plain tamari, soy sauce, or a creamy blend of vegan mayo and sriracha.
Round out the meal with a hot bowl of miso soup!
More Healthy Cooking Projects
If you love this easy vegan sushi recipe, try one of these healthy cooking projects next:
- Steamed Dumplings
- Fresh Spring Rolls
- Avocado Summer Rolls
- Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Green Chile Taquitos
- Homemade Tortillas
- Steamed Bao Buns
- Homemade Pasta
For the beets
- 2 pink Chioggia beets
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- Sea salt
For the rice
- 1 cup uncooked short-grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the rolls
- 4 nori sheets
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced into strips
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into long strips
- Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Tamari, for serving
- Pickled ginger, for serving
- Vegan mayo and sriracha, optional, for serving
- Prepare the beets: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the whole beets on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt. Wrap the beets in the foil and roast on a baking sheet for 45 to 60 minutes, or until soft and fork-tender. The time will depend on the size and freshness of the beets. Remove the beets from the oven and remove the foil. When they are cool to the touch, peel the skins. I like to hold them under running water and slide the skins off with my hands. Slice the beets lengthwise into ¼-inch strips.
- In the bottom of a small baking dish or shallow bowl, combine the rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and ginger. Add the beets, toss to coat, and set aside to marinate. After 15 minutes, toss again to ensure even coating.
- Make the rice: Cook the rice according to the directions in this post. Mix the cooked rice with the vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Assemble the rolls: Place a small bowl of water and a kitchen towel near your work area as your hands will get sticky. Place one nori sheet, glossy side down, onto a bamboo mat and press a handful of rice onto the lower two-thirds of the sheet. At the bottom of the rice place a row of beets, cucumber, and avocado. Don’t overfill or it will be more difficult to roll. Use the bamboo mat to tuck and roll the nori. Once rolled, use the bamboo mat to gently press and shape the roll. Place the roll to the side, cut-side down. Repeat with remaining rolls.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the sushi. Wipe the knife clean with a damp towel between cuts.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with tamari, pickled ginger, and vegan mayo mixed with a little sriracha, if desired.