Vegetable Sushi Rolls & Nigiri

I know that traditional sushi is not for everyone. But the recipe below is different and you should at least have a look at it before saying No! 🙂

Sushi is often associated with raw fish. However, it is sometimes also served with cooked meat and/or vegetables.

In Budapest, a land which is quite far from the sea, it has been slightly difficult to have access to fresh seafood and sea fish. Therefore, I have been experimenting with vegetable sushi rolls and nigiri. These are not quite traditional, but it has been fun to experiment with new tastes and ingredients. Below is just an idea of what you can make and then you can adjust flavours according to your preferences. In some cases, I used fish sauce for marinades. For those following a vegan diet, you can opt for kombu and shiitake stock instead which is also great and adds that umami flavour.

In order to make the sushi rolls, I found that it is essential to have a bamboo rolling mat. This makes life much easier when it comes to rolling.

Making your own sushi at home is so much fun and a great way to entertain your family/friends! If you are making it for the first time, do not get disheartened by the process and maybe the not-so-perfect result. Traditionally, sushi chefs spend all their lives perfecting their craft, and as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect!’

Hope you give this recipe a go and enjoy making and eating these sushi rolls and nigiri as much as we did! 🙂

Vegetable Sushi Rolls & Nigiri

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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A twist on the Japanese sushi rolls and nigiri


    For the rice
  • 500g sushi rice
  • 550g water
  • 80g rice vinegar
  • 16g white sugar
  • 7g fine sea salt
  • For the filling
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 aubergine, small
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Kombu
  • To serve
  • Nori (seaweed sheets)
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi paste
  • Soy sauce


  1. Start by preparing the rice according to the package instructions. If no instructions available, follow the ones below. Place the rice into a fine sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water comes out clean. Place the rice and water in a big pot and bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed.
  2. In the meantime, in a small saucepan combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and heat until both sugar and salt has dissolved.
  3. Once the rice is ready, transfer to a plastic or wooden bowl. Pour over the rice vinegar mixture and stir into the rice while it is still hot. Always use a wooden or plastic spoon. Let the rice cool completely to room temperature before using it. Do not refrigerate it!!
  4. Cut the carrots and aubergine into matchsticks and blanche the tomatoes. Blanching the tomatoes helps to peel them much easier. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds.
  5. For the marinades: Steep some kombu in hot water for a couple of minutes. In a small bowl (with a lid) combine the kombu ‘tea’, soy sauce, rice vinegar and the chopped carrot. In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce and add the chopped aubergine. In another bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and add the tomato quarters. Let them marinade for a couple of hours to absorb flavour. (you can also prepare these the night before and place them in your refrigerator!)
  6. For the sushi rolls: Once the rice is completely cool, place the nori onto the rolling mat, shiny side down. With wet hands, scoop some rice and spread it on the nori starting from the end closest to you and leave an inch of the nori uncovered at the other end. Press the rice while spreading it onto the nori so it sticks properly. Always make sure to wet your hands when handling the rice. This will help the rice not to stick to your hands.
  7. Place the toppings onto the rice. I added some avocado slices to the carrots and used aubergine on its own. However feel free to combine the ingredients according to your taste. Do not exaggerate with the toppings as it will make it much more difficult when it comes to rolling.
  8. To roll: Lift the edge of the bamboo mat closest to you, then roll away from you while applying some light pressure to keep the roll firm. Tip: Brush the bare edge of the nori with some water to make sure that it sticks and seals the roll. While rolling ensure that the roll has a cylinder/round shape for aesthetic purposes. Remove the mat and place the sushi roll onto a chopping board.
  9. Using a very sharp knife, wet the blade and slice the roll in half. Put the two halves alongside each other and slice into individual pieces. You will have uniform size every time.
  10. For the nigiri: Take a small amount of rice into your hands and form it into a small log. Place a very small amount of wasabi paste (optional) and then place the tomato quarter on top.
  11. Continue with the above steps until you make use of all the rice.
  12. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

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