Recipe: Make our veggie sushi

PUBLISHED: 10:30 18 July 2020

Charlotte's vegetarian sushi   Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Charlotte's vegetarian sushi Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis


Yes, you can make delicious sushi without meat or fish says our food and drink editor.

My friends like to throw me a culinary challenge now and again. Not least veggie mate and neighbour Rachel who regularly gets my plant-based leftovers – because heavens forbid my children would eat ‘horrible vegetarian food’.

Last week in passing (well, she was definitely angling), Rachel mentioned one of her colleagues had made meat and fish free sushi. “It was really nice. And she was just wondering what you’d make,” Rach said with a glint in her eye, knowing full well my competitive nature.

Could I ‘beat’ her work mate and come up with the ultimate veggie sushi recipe?

So, here’s what I made. I still don’t know if I beat said colleague in the unofficial, unannounced competition, but I’d like to think my crack at it was pretty good.

Even better it used up loads of bits and pieces I had lurking in my fridge and cupboards. The only thing I actually had to buy was the sushi rice. I’m very obviously in the minority. Not everyone will have nori sheets, wasabi paste or Japanese 7 spice kicking about, but I’m a terrible ingredient hoarder and have all kinds of wacky things in my kitchen, just waiting for an opportunity to be used.

Well, their time to shine had arrived.

Some questionable looking carrots from the salad drawer were shaved and tossed in liquid smoke I bought months ago to pep-up a veggie burger recipe for my brother-in-law. The tube of wasabi I’ve had for nigh-on a year was squeezed into a bog-standard guacamole for an Asian twist. And the Coronavirus panic-bought smoked tofu (I used the Cauldron organic pieces) from the bottom of the freezer was given life with a sachet of 60p teriyaki sauce and shredded spring onions.

All in all, taking out the time for steeping the carrots and cooking the rice, assembling these takes less than 20 minutes – and it’s fun too. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a sushi rolling mat. I couldn’t find mine and clingfilm worked a treat. Bon appetit.

Vegan sushi

(serves two for a main meal or four for a starter)

Sushi rice:

180g sushi rice

350ml water

60ml rice wine vinegar

1/2tbsp oil

25g caster sugar

1/2tsp salt

For the ‘smoked salmon’ with lemon and 7 spice dressing:

1 large carrot, peeled then shaved

1tbsp liquid smoke

1 medium egg yolk

Juice ¼ lemon

1/2tsp sesame oil

Vegetable oil

Japanese 7 spice

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For the Guacasabi:

1 avocado, (stone removed) crushed roughly

Juice ¼ lime

2tbsps olive oil

1 spring onion, sliced

¼ red pepper, shredded

½ clove garlic, crushed

1tsp wasabi paste

For the teriyaki smoked tofu:

½ pack smoked tofu

1 small sachet teriyaki sauce

2 spring onions, shredded

To finish: 1 small bowl water, sesame seeds, dried nori sheets


Prepare the carrots a day in advance. Simply combine the carrot shavings with the liquid smoke in a small bowl and place in the fridge. Turn the carrots in the liquid every few hours.

To make the rice rinse it thoroughly until the water runs clear. Place in a pan with the water, boil, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until tender, with the water absorbed. Cover with a cloth to steam and leave for a short while until cool enough to handle. In another pan combine the vinegar, oil, sugar and salt over a low heat to dissolve the sugar and stir into the rice until the liquid is absorbed.

For the guacasabi filling simply combine all the ingredients and add a pinch of salt to taste.

For the teriyaki filling stir fry the tofu with the sauce until sticky.

Make the carrot dressing by whisking the egg yolk with the sesame oil and lemon juice. Add oil, a little by little, whisking all the time, until you have a spoon-coating sauce. Add 7 spice to taste.

To prepare the sushi have a bowl of water ready for dipping your hands in between (it stops them sticking to everything).

Start with the carrot topped sushi. Wet your clean hands and take just over 1tbsp of rice. Form it into a rectangle along the length of your index finger and set on a plate. Cut pieces of carrot to fit, lay over the top and finish with some dressing.

For the rolls cut a piece of nori in half and lay on a sushi rolling mat or piece of clingfilm. Spread each one with about 1cm thick of rice mixture, flattening with damp fingers. About a fifth of the way up the rice spread along one of your fillings, 2cm wide. Either the avocado mix, or the tofu, with shredded spring onions.

Carefully roll the bottom of the rice and nori up over the filling and use the mat or clingfilm to roll the whole thing into a sausage shape. Cut into pieces with a very sharp knife.

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