Vegan Sushi Ideas: Creative Plant-Based Rolls and Recipes

Sushi has been part of Japanese cuisine for many years. Interestingly, “sushi” means “it’s sour” since it was originally a dish of rice and fish preserved in salt. Traditional sushi included the fermentation steps, requiring more time to prepare.

Modern-day sushi is a fast food and, according to the Japanese tradition, far more straightforward than the popular varieties found in the rest of the world. In Japan, the flavor comes from the freshness of the raw fish or seafood used and does not rely on a huge variety of sauces.

If you crave sushi as a vegan, you’ll be happy to know that there are so many ingredients you can use to make great-tasting sushi. It’s also surprisingly more uncomplicated than you think to prepare the rice and roll the sushi.

Let’s move ahead to some mouthwatering vegan sushi ideas:

Creative Vegan Sushi Rolls

The vegan world presents so many incredible ingredients that you can use to substitute fish in sushi dishes. You can substitute sushi rice with other rice varieties or grains like bulghur, millet, quinoa,  etc., once you gain some sushi-making experience. The idea is to get a sticky mixture that’s easy to work when wrapping it into the nori– traditional recipes call for sugar and vinegar. Finally, sushi needs a dipping sauce; once again, there’s no shortage of ideas.

When looking for vegan sushi ideas online, you will be pleasantly surprised that you are not the only vegan considering how to recreate it while still standing up for our planet.

Forks Over Knives presents ten easy vegan sushi recipes that are creative and easy to make at home. Each sushi recipe uses a unique combination of ingredients that promises that each bite is delicious. The Quinoa Sushi with Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce has a very oriental flair, as does the Teriyaki Veggie Crunch Roll Sushi coated in puffed rice grains. If you prefer some sushi with a Mexican flair, try their creative Southwest Rice Rolls recipe. The filling contains avocado, bell pepper, and jalapeño; a pico de gallo salsa replaces the soy sauce.

DIY Vegan Sushi Recipes

It’s quite easy to become a DIY vegan sushi chef at home. The vegan world has so many wonderful ingredients that you can use to replicate any flavor. Besides using different grains, you can supplement fish with avocado, cucumber, tofu, mushrooms, butternut, tomatoes, zucchini, and so much more.

If you feel you aren’t good at combining the right ingredients to create great sushi rolls, don’t worry because others out there are better at doing this. Your only worry is finding vegan sushi ideas online, getting the ingredients,  and following them.

As a beginner, you want to start with something relatively easy. Here’s a recipe from Brand New Vegan that is uncomplicated and uses shredded fresh vegetables like carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, and avocado for the filling that most of us already have at home. Top these Homemade Sushi Rolls with toasted sesame seeds, and serve them with soy and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Easy and delicious, especially if this is your first time making sushi.

Delicious Vegan Sushi Fillings

When creating vegan sushi, Japanese short-grain rice is the best type, especially if you are a beginner. You can move on to other grains if you want to experiment or have a recipe to follow, but the stickiness of Japanese rice makes it easier to roll the seaweed with the other ingredients.

When deciding on the filling for your vegan sushi ideas, consider contrasting colors, textures, and flavors. You need at least two ingredients, but three or more looks better. Here’s an example of a good filling combination: Fried firm tofu with avocadoes, carrot, cucumber, carrot and finely sliced red onion.

However, you can change your combinations. Here are some ideas:

  • Use sprouts or microgreens
  • Sticks of marinated beet
  • Grilled mushrooms (any variety you prefer)
  • Thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Long strips of bell peppers in any color
  • Cooked sweet potato sticks (grilled, roasted, or pan-fried)
  • Pickled vegetables like kimchi
  • Mango makes an excellent filling when used with avocado and cucumber
  • Seasoned tomatoes
  • Marinated or grilled eggplant
  • Hearts of palm to make imitation crab

Unleash Your Inner Sushi Chef

Japanese vegan roll with vegetables

Once you have challenged yourself and made some sushi, you will realize how easy it is to recreate sushi ideas with vegan ingredients. Start by making this Simple Vegan Sushi with tofu and rice. You are ready to unleash your inner sushi chef once you have mastered preparing the rice and rolling ingredients into the nori.

Simple vegan Sushi (Makes 4 servings)


  • 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • ½ grated ginger
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 T. toasted sesame oil
  • ½. rice vinegar, or you can use a combination of rice and white wine vinegar
  • 5–6 Nori sheets


  1. Use the instructions from the packet to cook the rice and refrigerate in a large bowl to cool.
  2. Whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and water for the sauce and set aside.
  3. Place the oil in a skillet and heat up over medium heat. Place the tofu in the heated oil and saute on both sides until nicely crusted. Add the sauce and cook for a few more minutes to let the sauce thicken, tossing to ensure the tofu gets evenly coated. Set aside to cool.
  4. Mix the vinegar into the cooled rice.
  5. You are now ready to start with the assembly and rolling of the sushi. Place a nori sheet on a board or sushi mat. Spread cooked rice over the nori sheet and top with cucumber, tofu, carrots, and avocado. Gently roll the nori sheet over the top of the filling, ensuring a tight roll. Repeat the process to fill about five or six nori sheets.
  6. Serve with soy sauce and some pickled ginger.

Elevate Your Vegan Sushi Game

When creating vegan sushi ideas, it’s easy to elevate your game once you have mastered the art of the rolling and texture required and combining colors and flavors.

If you want to take your sushi skills a step further by creating sushi similar to the unbeatable flavor of shrimp tempura, here’s an excellent recipe from Allrecipes.

Fried tofu gives a satisfying crunch when using a drier tofu. Dust it with cornstarch before frying it in oil to enhance the crispiness. Serve it with the siracha-flavored vegan mayonnaise to match it with the flavor of shrimp tempura.

Plant-based Sushi Inspiration

You don’t always have to serve sushi in a roll. You can find several exciting ideas online for serving bowls, salad, crostini, or a stack with sushi-flavored ingredients.

Here’s a recipe for a plant-based sushi inspiration using cubed watermelon rind infused with brininess to create vegan tuna from Monson Made This. The stack includes a sticky, short-grained rice avocado, edamame, nori, and toasted black sesame. Use a ring mold or can to shape this inspiring sushi. If you hate food waste, this recipe is perfect!

Epic Vegan Sushi Rolls

Whether you want to make a vegan sushi roll with nori or a nigiri roll, you will want to sometimes deviate from the carrot, cucumber, and avocado to try the exciting array of ingredients mentioned in this post.

Your choice of topping and dipping sauces can also get as exciting as you want. Instead of constantly serving your vegan sushi rolls with soy sauce, try sauces with a pop of heat, the tanginess of lime, wasabi mayo, or an unagi sauce.

Get inspiration from EatDrinkBetter to get the best vegan sushi ideas. Here, you will find over 40 recipes encompassing all types of sushi and various ingredients. Whether the mood calls for a one-ingredient sushi roll, nigiri made with king oyster mushrooms, a vegan unagi ‘eel’ nigiri, or the gorgeous teriyaki tofu nigiri with crispy shallots, all you have to do is ensure you have the ingredients on hand for your creations.

Unconventional Vegan Sushi Creations

So far, the vegan sushi ideas have been reasonably conventional. However, you can also take your vegan sushi-making to another level by trying these innovative recipes from Chooseveg. Here, you will find recipes for several nori rolls with unusual fillings, including enoki mushrooms, the most inviting pink sushi rolls, lobster mushrooms with kimchi, faux-roe, and spicy carrot lox. You will also find a recipe for the easiest sushi rolls made with raw collard.

You can serve deconstructed sushi if you prefer not to roll your sushi. Chooseveg includes four ideas for making a sushi bowl, including one for a delicious Spicy Avocado Sushi Bowl.

When making vegan sushi, serve it as soon as possible to help retain the flavors and texture of the delicate, fresh ingredients. However, because vegan sushi doesn’t contain raw fish, you can store it in the fridge to consume it within 24 hours. That way, you can roll your sushi fix from the previous day to take to a friend for snacks, have people over for dinner, or even enjoy at work. Enjoy!

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