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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 40 pieces

Nori rolls are a great way to turn almost any combination of grains and veggies into convenient bite-size, take-along morsels. This vegan sushi recipe offers a fun variation on the Japanese classic. It calls for short-grain brown rice that’s seasoned with tomato sauce and chili powder. Then, Southwestern favorites like avocado and jalapeño are used for the filling. Finally, the rolls are served with fresh salsa and lime wedges instead of soy sauce. Once you’ve tried nori rolls without the usual Japanese ingredients, you’ll want to make them with everything. They’re a particularly good way to use up leftover cooked grains for lunch or dinner the next day.

Easy Vegan Sushi - Southwest Rice Rolls


  • 1½ cups short-grain brown rice
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 8-inch-square sheets nori (seaweed)
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bite-size strips red bell pepper
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Lime wedges


  1. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the rice; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups of water, the tomato sauce, chili powder, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread the rice on a baking sheet; cool to room temperature.
  2. For each roll, lay a sheet of nori on a sushi mat lined with plastic wrap. Using damp fingers, spread 1 scant cup of rice over the sheet to within 1 inch of the top edge. Arrange the avocado, bell pepper, and jalapeño crosswise on the rice, just below the center. Roll up from the bottom edge and press to seal the seam, brushing the edge with a little water if needed. Cut each roll into eight pieces. Arrange on a platter.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Serve the nori rolls with salsa and lime wedges.

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about the author

Carla Christian

Carla Christian, RD, LD, received her associate’s degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Michigan State University in 2009. She finished her dietetic internship from The University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010 and is a former chef in the Better Homes and Gardens® Test Kitchen. Photo by Jason Donnelly

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