A few years ago, Aaron gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received: a trip to New York City to visit as many of the vegan restaurants and shops I could cram into one very awesome long weekend. It was a food-lover’s dream come true, and I immediately got started creating an itinerary for us based on my list of must-visit places. It took me half a day just to carefully narrow it down to what we could ambitiously cover.
As luck would have it (or maybe as Yelp would have it), every place we visited lived up to its hype and we didn’t have a single bad meal, snack, or drink while we were visiting. Nearly 4 years later, I can still taste those meals, with one of my favorites being our lunch at Beyond Sushi. We stopped by their Gramercy location and ordered a combo option so we could try a bunch of different items on their menu. The food was delicious, and I particularly loved the “Spicy Mang Roll” with black rice, avocado, mango, cucumber, and toasted cayenne sauce.
It’s taken me a while to put my own spin on this meal because I’ve always considered homemade sushi to be a little intimidating and complicated. Not so much the assembly part, but definitely figuring out how to roll sushi without making a complete mess. And much like rolling a burrito, I’ve learned that the key is not to overstuff your nori. A thin layer of sticky rice, a few rows of thinly sliced vegetables/fruit, and a light sprinkling of greens (because I’m always down for extra veggie power).
The vegan sushi recipe I’m sharing today is everything I loved about our sushi meal in NYC, simplified. I’ve replaced the black rice with more widely available short grain brown rice and the cayenne sauce with spicy sriracha mayo. It’s salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, creamy, and best of all: easy. If you’ve ever felt intimidated by homemade sushi, this recipe is for you!
P.S. Something to keep in mind: even the not-so-pretty rolls still taste great. ♥
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 2 cups water
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons organic cane sugar
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 nori sheets
- 2 persian cucumbers, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
- 1 small mango, pitted and sliced lengthwise into thin strips
- 1 small avocado, pitted and sliced lengthwise
- handful of micro greens (or sprouts)
- ¼ cup spicy vegan mayo (mix mayo with sriracha to taste)
- 4 teaspoons black and white sesame seeds
- low-sodium soy sauce, for serving (optional)
- Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice cooks, prep your filling ingredients for easy access. Place a small bowl of water and a clean kitchen towel next to your workspace (rolling the sushi will make your hands sticky).
- In a small bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Transfer the rice to a wide mixing bowl, then fold the vinegar mixture into the rice. Let the rice cool for 10 minutes, stirring it every few minutes to release steam.
- Place one nori sheet shiny side down onto the bamboo mat. Dip your hands in the small bowl of water and use your fingers to press rice onto the bottom ⅔ of the sheet. At the bottom of the rice, layer each of your toppings (cucumber, mango, then avocado) into even, horizontal lines. Lightly sprinkle micro greens, being careful not to overfill your rolls or they will be messy and difficult to roll.
- Use the bamboo mat to roll the nori: fold the mat over the filling so that the upper and lower edges of the rice meet. Squeeze along the length of the roll, pulling the top edge of the mat to tighten. Open the mat and roll the sushi forward to seal it. The rice should have enough moisture; if not, sprinkle a few drops of water along the edge. Set aside the roll, cut side down, until you have rolled all 4.
- Use a sharp knife dipped in water to cut each sushi roll into 6-8 pieces. Wipe the knife clean with a damp towel and dip into water between cuts. Serve immediately with a drizzle of spicy mayo, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and soy sauce for dipping.