A common misconception (but getting less so) is that sushi is raw fish.  Nope, raw fish is sashimi.  Sushi refers to a type of preparation typically using cooked vinegared rice and often nori (seaweed).  Sushi lends itself well as a vegan option.  You can make almost anything as a filler.  There are different types of sushi, which mostly is a reference to size and form.  The kind I am making is called Futomaki (“fat roll”).

There are many sites on how to make sushi.  It is not difficult.  You cook rice (use a rice cooker!) and mix in the mirin and vinegar.  Lay out the Nori wrapping.  Lay down a layer of rice and add a strip of fillings to the center and then roll into a cylinder.  Cut into slices.  Easy!

There are variations involving types of rolls, but I am only going to make a standard roll which has Nori on the outside, rice on the inside, filling in the middle.  Serve with Wasabi and Soy Sauce.

This recipe is mostly one small rice cooker worth of rice and will make 6-9 full rolls (or 48-72 pieces).  Try to  make only enough to eat right away as it does not save well.  If you do need to save it, leave it in a cool sealed container.  Try not to use the refrigerator as that makes the rice hard.  You can even use marinated tomatoes if you want to mimic the fish.  It is pretty much like tuna!

Sushi Rice

  • Sticky short grain rice, 2.5 cups dry
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbls Mirin or sugar

Let rice sit for 30 minutes in water. Cook rice in rice cooker.  Fluff.  Wait 10 minutes.  Put in large bowl.  Mix other ingredients until salt dissolves.  Pour over rice.  Mix well with wooden spoon, but not aggressively.  Cool rice (fan?).  Cover with towel and let cool until using for sushi.

Nori wrapper

Tomato “Tuna” 

  • 2 large roma tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1/2 tbsp kelp powder heaping
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil

To make tomato tuna… boil the tomatoes for 2 minutes.  Cool and remove skins.  Slice into quadrants and remove seeds and any soft insides.  You will be left with the firmer chunks of tomato.  Slice into thin strips. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinade the tomatoes for at least ten minutes.


Possible Fillings:

  • Asparagus
  • Shitake Mushrooms (can use dried)
  • Spinach
  • Tofu (Fried) or use Aburaage (Inari Tofu)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cucumber
  • Black Beans
  • Carrot
  • Avocado
  • Fake shrimp or fish
  • Vegetable Tempura (see separate recipe)
  • Kampyo (dried gourd strips) rehydrated (good substitute for fish)

To prepare Shitake and Kampyo and Aburaage:

To use Kampyo, first rinse strips under water.  Place in bowl with salt.  Rub.  Rinse off salt and place in bowl with one cup clear water. Rehydrate overnight.

To use dried Shitake, also soak overnight in 1 cup of water. Squeeze out liquid from mushrooms back into bowl. Slice into strips after removing stem ends.  Cook strips of mushrooms in a pot with the shitake soaking water, and 2 tbls of Mirin, dash of soy or vegan dashi.   Bring to boil, cook 10 minutes, until slightly soft.

In clean pot, boil water and Kampyo for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Add Shitake water.  Add 1tbs Mirin. Dash of sake. 2tbs Soy Sauce.  Simmer for 15 minutes.   You want firm and a little crunch when bitten.  Not soft or mushy.

In same pot, place Aburaage.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool.  Cut into 1/4″ wide strips.
To prepare spinach:

Boil 3 cups water with 1/2tsp salt.  Cook fresh spinach leaves for 2 minutes. To not cook until mushy.  Rinse spinach with cold water. Drain water and set aside.

To assemble:

Get a bowl of water with some rice vinegar in it.  Get a clean towel.

Place bamboo rolling mat on table.  Lay Nori sheet on bamboo.  If there is a longer side, put longer side toward you.

Dip scoop in vinegar water so rice does not stick, or use your fingers after dipping them. Shake off extra water. Scoop 1.5 cups of sushi rice and place on nori.

Dip fingers in vinegar water and blot on towel. Using fingers, spread rice our toward the edges of the nori.  Leave the edge away from you free of rice for about 3/4″.  Make sure to keep the fingers damp with the vinegar water.  It will not hurt the sushi, but if the fingers dry, the rice will just stick to you.

Position your fillings left to right in the center.  Add each ingredient to the sides of the center ingredient.

Start rolling the rice using the bamboo mat, starting at the edge nearest you. Use your fingers and thumbs.  Carefully roll while pressing the roll tighter as you go.  Leave the bare nori strip at the far edge exposed.  Grab the matt and tug on it while holding the roll body, so as to tighten up the roll.   Using your finger, dampen the exposed nori and then roll the roll back over the exposed nori to complete the roll.

Let the roll sit for a few minutes.

Using a sharp knife, wet the blade in the vinegar water (shake off excess or just use a damp cloth).   Cut the roll in half.  Then cut each half in half.  Then each piece in half again. You should have 8 pieces.

Serve with Wasabi paste and soy sauce.