What’s great about rolling your own sushi is that you can use a lot less sugar and salt than most restaurants do (so no sushi face the next day), and you can get creative and healthy with your fillings (as much as I love my spicy/crunchy/mayo rolls, they aren’t exactly the most waistline-friendly options). Some popular filling choices include carrots, red peppers, and cucumbers. You could take it one step further and try asparagus, marinated mushrooms, marinated tofu, baked sweet potato, sprouts, or even mangoes. The combinations are endless.
For a somewhat beginner cook, I’ve rolled my fair share of veggie sushi (I think my love for it comes from years of watching my mom roll kimbap, a Korean style roll I’ll be sharing later), and I’ve realized that, like many things in life, the simpler the better. I recommend sticking to 3-4 fillings (it’s easier to roll/eat), and my go-to roll is actually the simplest of all—avocado sushi.
What makes this avocado sushi special is the mix of quinoa and brown rice as the base. I found that brown rice was a bit bland in flavor (especially when avocado is your only filling), while quinoa (a popular alternative) was just too damn hard to work with. Combine the two and voilà! The brown rice helps hold the quinoa so it’s super easy to roll, and the quinoa adds a smooth and nutty flavor. It’s a great twist to a simple avo roll. If you’re looking for a delicious, easy, everyday sushi recipe, give this one a go!
For Quinoa-Brown Rice Mixture
- 2/3 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2 1/3 cup water
- pinch of salt
Note: This mixture keeps well in the fridge and is amazing in other grain/power bowls!
For Sushi Vinegar (to add to rice)
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp organic cane sugar (you can use coconut sugar, but it does change the taste a bit)
- 1/8 tsp salt
For Sushi Roll & Fillings
- 5 sheets of sushi nori (roasted seaweed)
- About 1 1/2 avocados
- Optional: Sesame oil to massage the rolls (this is more of a kimbap step, but it’s delicious with veggie rolls)
Note: Feel free to build on top of this roll and throw in some veggies!
- Sushi rolling mat (I use this set)
- Rice paddle
- Sharp sushi knife (this one works well!)
- Small bowl of cold water with drops of vinegar (prevents rice from sticking to your hands)
Makes about 5 rolls
Make The Quinoa-Brown Rice Mixture
- Rinse brown rice under running water and drain. Add 2/3 cup brown rice, 2 1/3 cup water and a dash of salt to a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a slow, steady simmer and cover with lid. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa under running water. At the 30 minute mark, add quinoa to the pot and evenly stir it into the brown rice. Bring to boil (shouldn’t take too long), then reduce to a slow, steady simmer and cover with lid. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes. The quinoa-brown rice should be perfectly cooked by then.
- While the quinoa-brown rice is cooking, combine the 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp sugar and 1/8 tsp salt in a small bowl to make the sushi vinegar mixture.
- Once the quinoa-brown rice is cooked, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Pour sushi vinegar and gently fold with a wooden paddle. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, until the quinoa-brown rice is at room temperature.
Prep The Sushi Fillings (Just Avocado In This Case)
- While the quinoa-brown rice is cooling, slice up the avocados into matchsticks.
Time To Get Rolling
- Lay bamboo mat on a flat surface (lines placed horizontally). Have a small bowl of water-vinegar mixture right by you, so you can dip your hands to prevent rice from sticking to your hands. A towel would be handy too.
- Place nori on bamboo sushi mat, with the shiny side down. Moisten hands with water-vinegar mixture and spread a layer of rice evenly on nori sheet, leaving about 1 1/2” toward the top of the sheet. It should be about 1/4” thick. (Don’t press down too firmly as you want the mixture to stay fluffy.)
- Line up avocados an inch from the bottom. To roll, place your thumbs under the bottom edge of sushi mat, and use remaining fingers to hold the filling in place. Bring the mat up and tightly roll over the filling. Press firmly to enclose the roll.
- Raise the mat and move the sushi roll forward and press down again (don’t roll the sushi mat into the roll :)). Continue until the sushi roll is completed, and wrap the mat around the roll and give one final squeeze to tighten it.
- Place aside, with the seam-side down to help keep the roll together. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients. It should make about 5 rolls. (Optional: I sometimes massage the rolls with a little bit of sesame oil. This is totally not what you do for traditional sushi–it’s more of a kimbap technique, but it works well with veggie rolls.)
- To slice, run a sharp sushi knife under cold water. Use one hand to keep the roll down, and slowly slice the roll in half. Line up the halves parallel to each other and slice them into smaller pieces (about 4-5 pieces each).
- Serve with pickled ginger and a side of tamari with wasabi. Best when served right away, but will keep well in fridge for up to 2 days.
Do any of you love making your own sushi? Tips, tricks, questions, or fav sushi combos, all welcome below!
Photographs by Frances F. Denny
Did you make this?
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