in the kitchen with: jill bliss’ vegetarian sushi

One of the foods I overdose on when I go to the USA is sushi.  I always think I will never be able to get enough.  Inevitably, I have too much, I swear I never want to see another sushi bar again…until the next time.  Imagine how happy I was to see Jill Bliss’s recipe for vegetarian sushi.  Now I can even out my consumption throughout the year without fear of overload!  It was so easy to make, I’m hooked.  Do you have any special ingredient combinations you put into your rolls?  Please share! -Kristina

About Jill: Jill Bliss runs her independent art and design studio and teaches in the Graphic Design Department at PSU in Portland, Oregon. For the past decade, Jill has been making art, stationery goods, fabric accessories, and many other items utilizing sustainable ideas and materials inspired by her childhood farm life and an adulthood spent in art schools in New York City and San Francisco. All of her creative output finds its inspiration in the intricate details of the natural world; plants, trees, animals, tide pools and forests, as well as in urban architectural forms. [Click Here for a sneak peek of Jill’s Portland home!]

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Jill Bliss’ vegetable sushi

Why I chose this recipe: This is a relatively fast and impressive dish to make the next time you have an impromptu get-together. you can even make the rolls a day in advance, storing them in the fridge in aluminum foil and cutting them into discs as your guests arrive.  The recipe below makes about 4 rolls, but you can easily double, triple or quadruple the amount of rice and rolls to suit the occasion!

1 cup sushi rice

2 cups water

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

nori [seaweed wraps]

assortment of thinly sliced or grated veggies

small bowl of water

soy sauce

You will also need: a rice paddle and a bamboo mat.

To make the rice: In an uncovered saucepan, combine 1 cup sushi rice with 2 cups water. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmering and cover with the lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape, cook for approximately 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and close the lid and allow the rice to sit for 5 minutes.  Transfer the rice to a tray or shallow dish, and pour the rice vinegar over it, mixing it in with the rice paddle. The rice will be very mushy and sticky.  Fan the rice to cool it.  {Some people add a tiny bit of sugar and salt to the rice vinegar before mixing with the sushi.  This is a matter of personal taste.}

Meanwhile, scope out your fridge and thinly chop any veggies or other small items that look appealing. sushi uses very small amounts of ingredients so even half a carrot or cucumber will be enough!  For the column, we used avocado, carrot, and cucumber.  But I have used many things, from azuki beans, cilantro, sweet potatoes, greens, sprouts, cooked beans, tofu, seitan, tempeh, you name it!  Later in the summer, I look forward to making sushi using fresh picked veggies from my garden and fruit sushi with fresh berries and melons, yum!

A special note when you use cucumber: cut it in half, peel it, then cut it into thin long wedges, cutting off and discarding the seed parts.

To make the roll: Place one sheet of nori on your work surface. You can toast it for a second over and open flame to enhance the flavor, if you like.  Spread a thin layer of rice with your paddle, leaving about 3/4″ along the top and about 1″ along the bottom while getting it as close to the sides as possible. This is the messy part, and may take you a few times to get the hang of it, and mid way you may even decide you’d prefer to use your hands!

Put your veggies in a long strip down the center of the rice as shown. dip your finger tips in the bowl of water and moisten the top edge of the nori.

From the bottom edge, roll your nori over the veggies and rice, sealing it along the top with the watered edge.

Put your roll in the middle of the bamboo mat, roll it up and roll it along your work surface several times to seal the edges and even out the veggies and rice inside.

Set aside your finished roll and make another one!

To slice the roll: I’ve found that a small serrated knife works best for cutting rolls into discs.  Start by cutting the roll in half, then align the two parts one above (or next to) the other.  This will help you make pieces which are more similar in size.

Serve with ginger or other pickled vegetables, wasabi, soy sauce, or any condiments you fancy.

{Note from Kristina:  I made a stylistic decision to use a plastic tray to style these shots, although I did indeed make the sushi myself (and it sure was good!!).  Jill gave me a soft rap on the knuckles for it.  I ask her and your forgiveness in advance!!!  I should have used a different tray, I know.  Props:  orange soy sauce dish:  mud australia; tray under soy sauce:  sia international; dipping tray:  Sabon; chopsticks: Habitat; flower vase: Le Petit Atelier de Paris}

  1. shevon says:

    Great photos of the sushi making process! I love it.

  2. We are big fans of all veggie sushi.

  3. Nikole says:

    Yum! I like to add fresh basil (or other herbs) to veg sushi.

  4. susan says:

    as always beautiful photos!
    we love sushi too and here are a couple of our combos:

    strips of steamed carrots and parsnips with scallion strips

    steamed leek strips, golden delicious apple thin wedges and a smear of mango chutney (maybe not for everyone but we love it!)

    fresh tiny thin french green beans, carrots and avocado.

  5. Stevie says:

    Avocado + cream cheese is my favorite roll. The two form a perfectly creamy but firm center that’s just wonderful! Sometimes I’ll even add a sliver of strawberry.

  6. Catalina says:

    I LOVE sushi! used to make it in Vancouver . My favourite is BC roll with salmon skin, roe, cucumber, sweet sauce. Ohhhhhh, just veggi?

    avocado+coriander+red pepper+mango (this is just great as salad as well)

    lettuce + avocado + onions (cooked) and oyster sauce

  7. Jelli says:

    Husband and I like to “impress” his work colleagues by inviting them over to sushi. We tend toward imitation crab, avocado, cream cheese, carrot, and cucumber. Yum. I’ve found that when our rolls sit in the fridge overnight the rice tends to dry and scatter when the sushi is served the next day.

  8. Kristina says:

    yes I think refrigeration is the kiss of death for sushi rice. anybody have suggestions on refrigerating that doesn’t permanently render the rice hard and less attractive?

  9. so excited to try the vegetarian recipe! thank you!!!

  10. Shannon says:

    I love sushi. I have often had “sushi parties” where we all roll our own sushi from ingredients I prepared beforehand. So much fun.

    Where are the orange chopsticks and fish chopstick holders from?? They’re amazing!!

  11. Manda Tarr says:

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful and informative post! I will be making some of these this weekend! It’s so much fresher than buying it from the local supermarket in a pinch :)

  12. Toni says:

    Yummy, these look delicious! Thanks for sharing another vegan friendly recipe. I’m a big fan of Jill Bliss too. She’s amazing!

  13. jill bliss says:

    YUM! thanks everyone for sharing their own sushi combos – i’ll have to make some of them soon! this summer i’ll be experimenting with melon and other fruit sushi rolls and dipping sauces. just have to wait for the melon seedlings on my windowsill to grow some melons!

  14. kristina says:

    @Shannon – the chopsticks are from Habitat, I picked them up last time in London, but something tells me you could find them in the US pretty easily. I got the little fish from some shop in Rome about 10 years ago. But I bet they have them by the bucketload in Chinatown (NYC)! The store I got them in has tons of stuff I’ve seen in Chinatown.

  15. Karen says:

    Favorite homemade sushi combo is avocado, carrot, sauteed mushrooms, and bacon. Each bite is more delicious than the last :P

    FYI lately many grocery stores (Whole Foods, Wegmans) are carrying sushi grade cutlets of fish, usually salmon and tuna, and sometimes eel.

  16. Trianna says:

    I love sushi and have tried to make it several times. Each time I have the same problem it is that the nori is very dry and chewy instead of moist and tasty like it is in the shops. Does anyone have a recommendation to fix this problem. I would love to make delicious sushi at home.

  17. sandra lund says:

    I love sushi – I ad nigella seeds (don’t know if they are called that in English), it is so good!

  18. Kristina says:


    I have tried toasting it over the flame on the stove. Try that. If you don’t have a flame, see if a hot burner emits enough heat for it.


  19. Tracy M says:

    Wouldn’t toasting it make it dry instead of moist? This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it out :D

  20. Nancy says:

    I just got done making sushi for the first time, inspired by this post! It’s so funny that you posted this, I had just spoken to my mom about making our own sushi, and I come home and here’s the instructions! It was really easy. Thank you.

  21. I love making sushi, it’s really fun for entertaining and usually much less expensive than dining out! We love to make quick hand rolls with julienned carrots, green onion, our home-sprouted radish greens, avocado, and green leaf lettuce. The “secret” way to take it over the top is so easy: spicy mayo. Mayo + Sriracha + drop of sesame oil. Yesss!

  22. Melanie says:

    Trianna, your Nori might be old.

    Best veggie roll EVAR – vinegared carrots, cucumber, avocado, toasted slivered almonds. Yum.

  23. Emma Jo says:

    At my home we do Sushiwraps for lunch (it’s very filling!)
    1. soft taco wrap
    2. thin layer horseradish cream cheese
    3. nori
    4. sushi rice
    5. avocado, thin slices smoked salmon
    Roll it, pour soy sauce over if you want. Volia!

  24. Celine says:

    Having moved recently from Vancouver (the city of 4,000 sushi restaurants) to central NY I was in major sushi withdrawal so I’ve been making it weekly. My favorites are smoked salmon, dates and avocado. The sweet and salty and chewy is amazing! and also, I like smoked salmon and cream cheese. Pear and veg is also good as well as steamed sweet potato. I love sushi!

  25. Jessica Kemp says:

    I tried this recipe out this weekend since I’ve *gasp* never made sushi before. Which is stupid, really. But I did it – and I was kicking myself all the way to the last bite…it was so good.

    I added the sugar and salt to the rice and really loved how it balanced out the vinegar. Also – instead of using the rice spoon I just used wet hands – my rice spoon from my “sushi kit” was already broken when I opened it.

    I forgot cucumber, but had eggs and micro greens. So I steamed some scrambled eggs with garlic and cut that into strips and used that along with the greens, and avacado and strips of carrot. YUM. My husband and I ate it out on our back porch with some Liberty Ale from Anchor Steam (great pairing).

  26. Julia says:

    Veggie sushi is great, we make some almost every week. One tip we use: dip the rice paddle in a cup of water to make it easier to spread the sticky rice.

  27. jill bliss says:

    oooh, i love the suggestion to dip the rice paddle in water. good idea! so happy to have encouraged others to make sushi!

  28. Trianna says:

    Thanks for the ideas about the nori. I’ll have to find a way to make sure it is fresh and then toast it a bit before using it. Thanks for all the great ideas on what to put in the sushi too!

  29. Erin D says:

    My friends and I are the (self-proclaimed) queens of veggie sushi fests and here are some of our favorite combos:

    cucumber, carrot and mushroom with cream cheese and a little spread of almond butter

    radish sprouts, red peppers, firm tofu and pickled carrots

    sweet potato, avocado, green onion with sesame seeds

    bonus: mango and cream cheese for desert with blackberries on top to look like roe!

    great post…thanks!

  30. Heather says:

    I LOVE making my own veggie sushi, I like the tradition vegetables like carrots, asparagus, cucumber, and avocado. But something that I found that was AMAZING was butternut squash. I bought pre-cut packages squash, baked it in the oven until it was soft and then put it in the roll. It made for a VERY rich and almost dessert-like sushi! Something to try!

  31. Beautiful photos and it’s inspiring to know I can try making sushi too. I’ve only ever eaten veggie sushi and I think it’s delicious. Hmm, think I must make a plan for a sushi night this week.

  32. Angela says:

    I’ve had a roll similar to that with cream cheese (instead of the avocado, since both of those are kind of mushy ingredients). Delicious! I’m excited to try this at home :)

  33. LEILA says:

    I really loved this recipe! It is as easy as it seams to be. I’m talking from Brazil, if someone wants I can post some delicius local recipes. Just let me know.

  34. Mia says:

    actually, it is Kimbob in korean.

    1. grace says:


      which part of the post you’re referencing? i couldn’t find a reference to gimbap/kimbap in the post:


  35. Samantha says:

    ah, I love sushi and ironically I just bought a sushi mat at whole foods today! can’t wait to try this recipe.. thank you!

  36. Kelli J.R. says:

    I was vegetarian for about a year… I’m somewhat ashamed to say I could no longer afford it. I still love making my own vegetarian sushi at home though! Avocado is my favorite part.


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