Here’s a fun and economical way to enjoy the flavors of vegetable sushi but not the mess of making it — a tasty vegetable sushi salad featuring rice, avocado, carrots, cucumber, and nori. Also known as deconstructed sushi bowl, this version is vegan and quick to prepare once you have your rice cooked (it’s also a great way to use up leftover rice).
I’m a fan of vegetable sushi, but not of making it at home (quite a project and a bit of a mess!), so when I crave it, I go out for some or order in from the local Japanese eateries. The supermarket sells veggie sushi that’s quite acceptable, too.
But I also love the idea of the great flavors of sushi as a cold dish — I’m calling it a vegetable sushi salad, though it doesn’t fit neatly into the definition of salad, or a neatly arranged bowl.
I’ve seen a number of rendition of this fun idea on blogs; though I love the way it looks as a nicely arranged bowl with the ingredients topping the rice, my attempts at this presentation fell short. Plus, I wanted more of a blending of flavors, reminiscent of biting into a piece of sushi roll. Mixing everything in with the rice is not only easier, but gave me that all-in-one flavor I was looking for.
In addition to the optional scallion and/or sesame seeds, you can also consider serving this dish with pickled ginger and/or wasabi. Here are two brands of seaweed snacks; both are great for this recipe:
Annie Chun’s — this brand comes in several flavors
Sea Tangle Snacks — another good choice
For the nori, I recommend nori snacks rather than full sheets of nori, simply because they’re easier to deal with, nicely seasoned, and somewhat crisp. Pictured below the recipe box are a couple of the brands I get at my local natural foods store (this is for reference, and not a sponsored post!) — Annie Chun’s and Sea Tangle Snacks.
See more about this sea vegetable in this site’s Guide to Nori — With 10 Recipes that Aren’t Sushi.
This recipe has an option for using plant-based tuna, or baked tofu as a stand-in for tuna (truth be told, I prefer the latter). But this dish is good without either.
Recipe adapted from Vegan on a Budget by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
For the rice
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked white or brown rice, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sesame-ginger dressing, bottled or homemade (see link in Notes)
- 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 1 cup grated carrot or baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2 medium cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 4 sheets nori snacks, plus more for topping as desired
- 4 to 5 ounces plant-based tuna, flaked, or 4 ounces baked tofu, finely diced
- Thinly sliced scallion
- Sesame seeds
- In a medium serving bowl, combine the rice with the sesame-ginger dressing and stir together. Let it stand for 5 minutes or so.
- Gently stir the avocado, carrot, cucumber, and into the rice. Taste to see if you’d like to add a bit more dressing for moisture and flavor.
- Cut 4 nori snacks into short, narrow strips, and stir them in with the rice and veggies. Cut up 4 or more to pass around.
- Stir any or all of the optional additions into the rice, or use them as garnish. Serve at once. Pass around the extra nori for topping individual servings.
Link to our recipe for sesame-ginger dressing if you'd like to make your own.
Variations: Substitute other vegetables for the ones listed here. Think of some that you might come across in other vegetable sushi combos, like thinly sliced radish or turnip, sliced shiitake mushrooms, tender-crisp asparagus, or barely-cooked sweet potato.
If you like this nori-flavored bowl, you might also enjoy …