How to Make Vegan Sushi at Home

By Mary Margaret Chappell,

Last Updated:
  • 2.4k

Sushi is easy to make at home, and it’s a super-healthy option for snacks and meals. Plus, you can get creative and max out on your favorite plant-based fillings. Here’s how to make and roll your own vegan sushi.

1. Select and Season the Grains 

No, you don’t need specialty rice to make sushi. Any short-grain rice type will work, as will other small whole grains such as quinoa, millet, barley, and bulgur. 

The real secret to tasty sushi rice and grains is the seasoning. This master recipe provides that perfect balance of sour and sweetness with a touch of salt—the flavor profile that gives the grains their “sushiness.” Be sure to use the optional arrowroot powder or cornstarch with non-rice grains, as it will help them stick together.

Sushi Rice Recipe (or Other Grains)

  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch, optional 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, optional
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice or other whole grains

Stir the vinegar, maple syrup, arrowroot (if using), and salt into 2 cups of hot (just-cooked) grains. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes so the grains absorb the flavors. Cool until easy to handle, then use to make sushi.

2. Choose Your Sushi Fillings

The following are some go-to fillings for veggie sushi rolls. Use as many or few as you’d like.

  • Avocado
  • Green onions (scallions)
  • Cucumber
  • Summer squash
  • Firm or extra-firm tofu
  • Leafy greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potato

Use Leftovers

Raid the fridge for roasted and steamed vegetables, beans, and spreads that can be tucked inside your rolls along with fresh veggies. 

Veggies to Skip

Avoid potentially stringy or tough additions such as celery, fennel, or fat asparagus.

3. Prep Your Fillings Strategically

For the smoothest sushi rolling (and eating) experience, it’s important to be strategic in the way you prepare your chosen fillings. The best approach depends on the ingredient. 

Slice into Strips

Avocados, green onions, cooked vegetables, cucumbers, summer squash, tofu, and leafy greens are best sliced into long strips so that they can be laid the length of the sushi roll.

Dice Small 

Juicy or chewy items, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, and fruit, should be chopped into small pieces so they won’t fall out.


Grating hard vegetables, including carrots, cabbage, and other root veggies helps soften their crunch so they don’t upstage other fillings. 

How to Roll Sushi

  1. Set up a sushi-making station with a sushi mat or clean kitchen towel, some nori seaweed sheets, your seasoned grains, a selection of fillings, and a small bowl of water.
  2. Place one nori sheet shiny side down on the mat or towel. Lightly dampen your hands with the water; then spread ⅔ cup seasoned grains on the nori sheet with your hands, leaving a 1-inch border along top and bottom edges. Wet the edges with a finger.
  3. Arrange the fillings in a line across the center of the grains. Don’t go overboard: Overstuffed sushi can be hard to roll! Use the mat or towel to tightly roll the nori around the filling, tucking the filling under as you roll so it’s not pushed out the top or sides. Press to seal. 
  4. Using a sharp, damp knife, slice the roll into rounds. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

3 Types of Sushi

When you want to mix things up a bit while still getting your sushi fix, try these alternatives to maki (the nori-wrapped rolls that most people associate with sushi).


Temaki, or hand rolls, are rolled like cones around sushi grains and fillings. To make: Cut nori sheets in half. Spread grains over ⅓ of the halved nori sheet, and top with filling choices. Roll the nori into a cone around the grains and fillings, and seal in place with a dab of wasabi, rice, or water.


Onigiri are compact balls of grains rolled around fillings. To make: Scoop ¼ cup sushi grains on a piece of plastic wrap. Make an indentation in the center, fill with small, chopped filling options, then cover fillings with more rice. Twist and squeeze the plastic wrap around the grains to make a tight ball. Garnish with nori sheets, sesame seeds, and pickled ginger, if desired.


Chirashi—which comes from the Japanese word for “scatter”—is a kind of sushi salad. Simply scatter your favorite sushi fillings over a bowl of sushi grains. That’s it!

Vegan Sushi Recipes from Forks Over Knives

Looking for sushi ideas beyond your basic freestyle veggie roll? Forks Over Knives has got a bunch to get your creative juices flowing. 

This article was originally published on May 7, 2020, and has been updated.

Related News

Try Our Top-RatedMeal Planner Free

Forks Meal Planner takes the hard work out of making nutritious meals the whole family will enjoy.



Join our best-selling course at a new lower price!

Save $200 Now

About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.