These vegan sushi bowls are made with delicious rice, baked tofu, loads of vegetables and a flavor-packed sweet soy-ginger sauce. Together, these ingredients create supremely nourishing, homemade sushi bowls that are filling and fully vegan.
You can make any or all components of this recipe based on your preferences and time available. All you really need for a delicious sushi bowl is some rice, seaweed and vegetables. I also recommend adding a source of plant-based protein!
Skill: Easy | Time: 60 min | Servings: 4
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Are Sushi Bowls Vegan?
Most sushi bowl recipes contain fish or seafood. Other non-vegan ingredients may be used, like mayonnaise (that contains egg).
Fortunately, it’s simple to skip the non-vegan ingredients and still have a tasty sushi bowl. However, if you’re looking for a balanced meal, you’ll want to add a great vegan protein source.
While store-bought vegan fish and seafood options are becoming more popular, I love to use edamame and/or a simple hoisin baked tofu to add loads of tasty protein.
Beyond that, just make some rice and use plenty of colorful vegetables. You can serve with plain soy sauce or make my easy sweet soy-ginger sauce (see recipe card) for added flavor.
If you’re a sriracha mayo fan, consider making your own mayonnaise! I also have a tasty vegan sriracha mayo recipe for you to try out.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Vegan Sushi Bowls
There are 4 components to this recipe, including sushi rice, baked hoisin tofu, sweet soy ginger sauce and the vegetables! While this might sound like a lot, it’s very versatile because you can use any vegetables or protein source you like or have on hand. You also can use any sauce you like.
If you want to make my full recipe as written, you’ll need the following ingredients.
Create well seasoned sushi rice with the following ingredients:
- Sushi rice: This short grain, sticky rice is essential for sushi bowl flavor and texture. While you can buy brown sushi rice, white sushi rice creates a far tastier bowl with a stickier texture.
- Rice vinegar: Use some rice vinegar to flavor the rice. Buy an unseasoned version if possible (if not, skip the salt and sugar).
- Sugar and salt: Along with rice vinegar, you’ll need some sugar and salt to flavor the sushi rice. Without these ingredients, your rice will be bland and not taste like sushi rice you’d get at a restaurant. If your rice vinegar is pre-seasoned (it’ll say so on the label) skip the salt and sugar.
Baked Hoisin Tofu
Add flavorful protein to your sushi with these ingredients:
- Extra firm tofu: I buy extra firm tofu in a vacuum-sealed package and don’t need to press it; just slice and it’s ready to use! If you typically press your tofu (and liquid comes out), do that for best results.
- Hoisin sauce: While sushi is Japanese, hoisin sauce is a common Chinese ingredient. It’s flavorful and slightly sweet, creating delicious baked tofu with minimal effort!
Sweet Soy-Ginger Sauce
Pack in some unique flavor with this blend of sauce ingredients:
- Soy sauce: Salty and full of unique umami flavor, soy sauce is indispensable when serving sushi bowls. You can use soy sauce on its own or combine with these other tasty ingredients for the ultimate sushi bowl sauce! Regular (light) soy sauce is best.
- Maple syrup: Add sweetness to this sauce with some maple syrup.
- Ginger: This root vegetable is full of spicy, aromatic flavor and makes a fantastic addition finely grated into the sauce!
- Rice vinegar: Some tangy vinegar helps round out the sauce flavors, although it’s technically optional. Leave it out for a sweeter sauce.
- Sesame oil: This richly flavored oil is my all-time favorite, and I always include it in this simple soy-ginger sauce.
- Sriracha: For a spicy kick, add some sriracha to this sauce or straight into your sushi bowl. Add as much or as little as you like.
Make sushi bowls more exciting by topping it with your favorite vegetables. My go-to veggies include:
- Carrots: Slightly sweet, bright orange and crunchy, grated carrot is a great addition to sushi bowls. If you want a different orange vegetable, try steamed or baked sweet potato or bell pepper slices!
- Cucumber: This refreshing vegetable is often used in restaurant sushi and a great addition to sushi bowls.
- Edamame: For a delicious protein boost, shelled edamame is fantastic to use in sushi bowls. I buy pre-shelled edamame and cook it with some water in the microwave (then strain the water away afterwards). I add the edamame straight into my sushi bowl, but you could also serve it as a high protein side dish.
- Red cabbage: This beautiful veggie adds fantastic color and nutrition to sushi bowls. It’s not common to use red cabbage in sushi; I use it solely for color! You could use green cabbage, a different leafy vegetable, or just leave this one out.
- Avocado: Avocado is another commonly used ingredient in restaurant sushi and a great addition to these bowls. It adds a creamy element and rich flavor. I highly recommend using avocado, especially if you don’t use mayonnaise or another ingredient with higher fat content. It’ll add that satisfaction factor!
- Nori: Seaweed sheets are typically used to roll sushi but can also be cut into strips and added to sushi bowls. This is important to include in vegan sushi bowls as it brings lots of seafood flavor. I like to use nori snacks as they’re lightly salted and roasted with some sesame oil for maximum flavor.
If you like, garnish with white or black sesame seeds and/or chopped green onion. I also love adding sriracha mayo to sushi bowls.
How to Make This Recipe: Instructions, Video Tutorial and Tips
There are 4 components to this recipe, all of which are easy to prepare individually. However, together, this recipe does take some time and effort – but it’s always well worth it!
If you’re short on time, you can leave out any component except the rice.
Step 1: Prepare Sushi Rice
This is the most intricate and time-consuming step of this recipe. However, it’s the one ingredient you truly need to create a delicious sushi bowl.
Start by adding the sushi rice to a mesh (or other type) strainer and rinsing the rice until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch from the rice and is critical to get the right texture.
Then add the rinsed and drained rice to a large pot with water. Use a 1:1 ratio for the rice and water; if you’ll cook 2 cups of rice, add 2 cups of water.
Bring this pot to a boil with the lid on. As soon as it begins boiling, turn the heat to low and, keeping the lid on, cook the rice for 10 minutes.
After you’ve cooked the rice, carefully transfer it into a large mixing bowl.
While your rice cooks, prepare the seasoning by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. Make sure all the salt and sugar crystals are dissolved into your vinegar. You may need to heat the mixture to dissolve everything completely. You can do this in a small pot over low heat or in a microwave for 10-40 seconds.
Gently pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and stir gently. Use a spatula to carefully pull the rice upwards rather than pressing down.
Once the vinegar and rice are mixed, place a damp towel over your rice to prevent drying. Let the rice cool to room temperature.
How to Cook Sushi Rice More Quickly
The above technique creates the best sushi rice, in my opinion. It’s not quite restaurant-quality but pretty darn close.
However, it’s time consuming and I don’t always plan ahead enough to prepare sushi rice properly.
Often, I skip the rinsing step. I add sushi rice straight from the container into a pot along with the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Then cook as above.
Cooking the vinegar, sugar and salt into the rice isn’t traditional or technically the correct way to do things, but it saves time. It also avoids the need to carefully mix vinegar into the rice after cooking.
I also frequently cool the rice by placing it into my fridge and stirring regularly to release heat. Again, not the “right” way to do things, but it speeds the process.
I hope I don’t offend anyone with this alternative method for cooking the rice. The results have always been fine for me. Since I add so much other flavor to a sushi bowl, the rice can be less-than-perfect, and the meal is still delicious.
Step 2: Prepare Baked Hoisin Tofu
If you typically press tofu, and lots of liquid comes out, start by doing that. I buy an extra-firm tofu in a vacuum-sealed package that doesn’t need pressing.
Slice the tofu thinly and place onto a baking tray that’s lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (for easy clean up).
Brush hoisin sauce onto both sides of the tofu slices, using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon.
Bake in an oven preheated to 375 °F for 12-15 minutes. It’ll be done when the edges begin to look crisp and hoisin sauce sticks to the tofu.
Remove from your oven and let cool, then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. I typically cut each slice into 6 smaller squares.
Step 3: Make Sweet Soy Ginger Sauce
This sauce is quick and easy to make. Simply grate some ginger using the fine grating edge of a box grater.
Then, mix the grated ginger with all the other ingredients. Whisk together in a small bowl or shake in a jar with a lid. You can also use a small blender to blend this sauce together.
Step 4: Prepare Vegetables
Prep all the vegetables you want to use. There are no rules here, get your veggies ready however you like to chop or otherwise prepare them.
I typically like to cut everything small and bite-sized. It’s great when you get most ingredients in most bites.
Grating the carrot (and even cucumber) or julienning the vegetables is probably best; but do whatever you like.
I highly recommend using edamame (or serving it on the side) especially if you skip the tofu. I also recommend using nori. Without nori seaweed sheets, these bowls won’t have much distinct sushi flavor.
Step 5: Assemble Sushi Bowls
Assemble sushi bowls by dividing all the ingredients you prepped into 4 bowls (or containers for meal prep). You can arrange everything nicely or dump it in; sauce and all!
It’s optional to serve topped with white and/or black sesame seeds. Chopped green onion also adds a delicious flavor.
You can also make a quick batch of vegan sriracha mayo if you like extra spice and creaminess.
How to Serve this Recipe: Create a Balanced Vegan Sushi Bowl
This recipe contains it all! Tofu and edamame provide plant-based protein, and you’ll get lots of energizing carbohydrates from the rice.
There are healthy fats in the tofu, edamame, sesame oil (in the sauce) and avocado; depending on what you use.
And of course, there’s loads of colorful veggies! I like to eat as many colors as I can in sushi bowls. It’s so easy to add orange, green and purple veg to this recipe and each color offers unique nutrients that vegans need!
Vegan Sushi Bowl Variations
You can make vegan sushi bowls however you like; there are endless variations to try! Think of sushi restaurant menus and go from there.
You can also play around with vegan fish or seafood alternatives. Whether these are store-bought or homemade, vegan fish and seafood options are easier to find every day!
How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. This recipe is great to meal prep as it’ll be tasty later in the week too.
For best results, keep the sauce separate from your vegetables. Salt in the sauce causes the vegetables to wilt. You should also keep the nori separate as it’ll soften quickly once mixed into everything else.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please rate and comment below so others benefit from your experience.
More Deliciously Filling Vegan Dinner Recipes
Vegan Sushi Bowl (with Baked Tofu)
- 2 cup sushi rice (450 g)
- 2 cup water (plus more for washing)
- 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Baked Hoisin Tofu
- 350 grams extra firm tofu (1 standard block)
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
Sweet Soy Ginger Sauce
Sushi Bowl Vegetables
- 1 cup carrot , grated (100 g)
- 1 cup cucumber , cut into matchsticks (135 g)
- 1 cup edamame , cooked and shelled (160 g)
- 1 cup red cabbage , thinly sliced (120 g)
- 1 medium avocado
- 2 sheets nori (or a pack of nori snacks)
- sriracha mayo
- sesame seeds (white and/or black)
- green onion , sliced
Step 1: Prepare Sushi Rice
- Place the sushi rice in a mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.2 cup sushi rice
- Add the rinsed and fully drained rice to a large pot with a lid. Add water in a 1:1 ratio to the amount of rice used.2 cup water
- Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, with the lid on. When the pot comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cook your rice, with the lid on the pot, for 10 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Make sure the sugar and salt dissolve completely into the vinegar; you may need to heat the vinegar to help the sugar and salt dissolve (use a microwave or small pot over low heat).3 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt
- Once cooked, carefully transfer the hot rice to a mixing bowl.
- Gently pour your rice vinegar mixture over the hot rice. Gently mix the vinegar into your rice until well-coated.
- Cover the rice with a damp towel and cool to about room temperature.
Step 2: Prepare Baked Hoisin Tofu
- Preheat your oven to 375 °F.
- If needed, press your extra firm tofu.350 grams extra firm tofu
- Slice the tofu thinly.
- Place tofu slices onto a baking tray lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Brush the hoisin sauce onto both sides of the tofu. Use a pastry brush or a spoon.¼ cup hoisin sauce
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tofu edges start to crisp, and the sauce sticks to the tofu.
- Cool the tofu slices slightly before cutting into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Step 3: Make Sweet Soy Ginger Sauce
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl or jar: soy sauce, water, maple syrup, grated ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha.2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sriracha
- Whisk together (or place lid on jar to shake together).
Step 4: Prepare Vegetables
- Peel and grate the carrot.1 cup carrot
- Slice cucumber into matchsticks.1 cup cucumber
- Cook edamame and shell if needed. I cook my frozen, pre-shelled edamame in the microwave, covered in water, for 3-4 minutes then drain away the water. You could also cook edamame in a small pot over medium heat until cooked through.1 cup edamame
- Thinly slice the red cabbage.1 cup red cabbage
- Thinly slice the avocado or cut into small pieces.1 medium avocado
- Use scissors to cut the nori into small strips.2 sheets nori
- If desired, prep a batch of vegan sriracha mayo.
Step 5: Assemble Sushi Bowl
- Divide the rice into 4 bowls and top each with ¼ of the other ingredients (tofu, carrots, cucumber, edamame, red cabbage, avocado and nori).
- Pour ¼ of the sauce over each bowl. Optional to drizzle sriracha mayo over the bowls as well.sriracha mayo
- Optional to garnish with white and/or black sesame seeds and/or chopped green onion.sesame seeds, green onion