Sushi shortcut — the purists will cringe

I enjoy sushi, and since we don’t go out to eat all that much, it’s something that I’d like to make more at home.  My first attempt awhile back involved buying and cooking the special sushi rice, only to read in the instructions that the sushi rice, once cooked, cannot really be saved for another day — it becomes hard and inedible if refrigerated for any length of time.

Now, if I’d read this instruction ahead of time, I would have simply prepared less rice, and it wouldn’t have been a big deal.  With the rice already prepared, however, we over-stuffed ourselves with sushi to avoid wasting any.

The other day, I was flipping through a cookbook, looking for something else, when I spotted a sushi recipe that used brown rice.  Not only is brown rice healthier than sushi rice (which is white rice), it’s something we often have on hand, already cooked.  No special rice to mess with?  Sounds good to me!

Easy Vegetarian Sushi

  • nori seaweed sheets
  • rice vinegar
  • seasoned rice vinegar
  • cooked brown rice
  • avocado
  • carrots, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
  • tofu, cut into small strips and lightly browned on stove-top
  • soy sauce and wasabi for dipping

Start by mixing the cooked brown rice with some seasoned rice vinegar.  If you don’t have seasoned rice vinegar, make your own by adding some sugar and salt to regular rice vinegar.  Set aside, and prepare carrots, avocado, and tofu.

Lay out a nori sheet, shiny side down.  If you have a sushi mat, you can use it here, but it’s not essential.  Cover most of the nori with a thin layer of the seasoned brown rice, leaving a one inch gap at the top.  Place the other fillings in a line across the sheet, an inch or two from the bottom of the sheet.  (I didn’t take a photo at this stage, so instead you can enjoy my awesome drawing.)

Make a mixture of [unseasoned] rice vinegar and water in a small bowl and dip your fingers before rolling the sushi.  Roll the sushi, starting from the bottom of the sheet — moisten your fingers in the vinegar and water as necessary.

Let the rolls rest, covered on a plate, for 10-15 minutes before cutting them.  To cut, dip a sharp knife in the water and vinegar mixture and cut to desired size.

Dip sushi pieces in soy sauce spiced with wasabi.  I made this sushi to go with the Asian dumpling soup last week.


  • You can use almost anything you want to fill the rolls, just don’t try to stuff too much in there, or they won’t stay together well.
  • Many wasabi pastes have scary ingredient lists, including unnecessary food dyes.  I found powdered wasabi with a simple ingredient list: horseradish plus tumeric and spirulina for natural coloring.  Just mix a bit of the powder with a bit of water to reach desired consistency.


  1. I’m totally with you on the rice thing. I’ve always used short grain brown rice and it works just fine.

    And speaking of making the purists cringe… my favorite fillings are smoked fish (either salmon or mackrel) and cream cheese. It’s to die for! Somehow, I don’t think you eat fish… I wonder if you could make smoked tofu?

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Yeah, we don’t do fish, though I have given it some consideration over the last year or so. And to be 100% honest, I’ve been taking a fish-based omega-3 supplement since December, so I am, in a sense, eating fish.

      Cream cheese is one of our favorite fillings when we order sushi at restaurants, along with mango and asparagus (neither of which I had around the house). I did have cream cheese on hand when I made these but thought trying to spread it on top of the rice would be too messy and complicated.

      We have both smoked salt and smoked paprika, either of which would probably give a smoked flavor to tofu. Although I don’t buy them, some tofu comes precooked and seasoned, so there may be a store-bought option, too.

  2. Oscar Lara says:

    Wow I thought that sushi needed to be made with sticky rice. Looks like you can do it with whatever you have, those look great! My family and I tried a sushi recipe a while back (and we used white rice) check it out

  3. Michel says:

    You can get wasabi powder with just 1 ingredient – Wasabia japonica. It is called Namida 100% Pure Wasabi Powder, and it can be found at
    There are also a number of sushi and other recipes using wasabi that can be found at
    Why not make the cream cheese into a cylinder and roll up the sushi, or even put it under the rice with a smear of wasabi under that? It all works, as you just eat the failures. 🙂

  4. I usually just cut a thin slice of chream cheese and put it in like the other fillings… I think spreading it would get awfully messy (although I do it for lasagna… the trick is to zap it in the microwave until it gets really soft).

    And… am I the only person on the planet who thinks wasabi is foul? What am I missing?

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