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How to Roll Sushi

Learning How to Roll Sushi at home in your own kitchen saves money, and it isn’t difficult at all. With only a few ingredients, it is easy to make custom sushi rolls at home for a fraction of the cost.

persons hands rolling sushi in nori with a sushi maker mat

Sushi is colorful and beautiful, so people often think it must be difficult to make, but nothing could be further from the truth. With a few helpful tips, you can be rolling sushi like a master and creating sushi like this Easy Vegan Sushi in the comfort of your own kitchen.

My sister actually taught me how to do this one day on a visit to her house, and I was surprised at how simple was when I watched her do it. She used a bamboo rolling mat which makes it easier, but you don’t even have to have one.

overhead shot of nori sheets, sliced carrots, celery, avocado, bowl of sushi rice and bamboo mat

Ingredients needed

There are not a lot of ingredients needed to make sushi rolls. This list gives the basics plus optional extras.

  • Rice- Short grain (or medium grain) rice is what you’ll need to buy to make sushi.
  • Nori sheets-These are basically edible seaweed sheets that wrap around the outside of sushi and are used with maki rolls. They are completely optional but do add a nice salty flavor.
  • Fillings- We eat plant-based, so raw sliced vegetables make up the stuffing for our vegan sushi, and I’ve included a list below of some of the most commonly used options.
  • Optional stuffings- Other stuffing ideas could include tofu or tempeh and even fruit like mango and pineapple. Also, try my Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

white oval plate with veggie sushi lined up on plate

How to make sushi rolls

Begin by cooking and seasoning the rice first. This recipe for How to Make Sushi Rice can help. Also, go ahead and prep your fillings by slicing them to the appropriate size to fit in the rolls.

overhead shot of nori sheets, sliced carrots, celery, avocado, bowl of sushi rice and bamboo mat

Next, slide your sushi mat into a twist-tie gallon-sized plastic bag or cover it with plastic wrap because it will greatly simplify the rolling and clean-up processes.

There are two main types of rolls that we use when making veggie sushi at home. We are going to be doing maki rolls and using nori sheets for this recipe. In an upcoming article, we’ll cover the uramaki rolling technic as well.

  • Maki rolls- These use nori seaweed sheets on the outside of the rolls.
  • Uramaki rolls- Instead of seaweed, these rolls use sesame seeds on the outside.

Rolling sushi

On your bamboo sushi rolling mat covered in plastic, place a sheet of nori with the rough side up, and the lines running in the same direction as the bamboo mat. 

Spread the rice all the way out to the edges. You can use a rubber spatula, your rice paddle, or your damp fingertips to smooth it more evenly if you need to.  For a maki rollwith the nori on the outside, go all the way out to the very edge except for the one furthest from you. Leave about a ½-inch edge of nori on the far end blank, that will help seal the roll later. 

Begin to add your ingredients.  I add mine in the center. You want to lay out your fillings in a horizontal row. Try to keep them close enough to bundle together easily.

Starting at the end closest to you, carefully lift the edge of the mat to bring it up and over the fillings. Begin rolling, using the mat to encourage the roll to take on a circular shape. As you roll, gently squeeze to tighten the roll up as it forms. This will help compress the rice enough to hold it together, which will keep the sushi from falling apart. Take care not to let the bamboo mat or the plastic wrap get caught up in the roll. 

When the roll is completely formed, use your fingers and run them along the ½-inch strip of nori that was left uncovered at the end with dampened fingers. This will help the edge to stick to the outside of the roll, creating a secure seal.  If you are using hummushomemade vegan cream cheese, or plant-based mayo in your sushi, you can also use these ingredients along the edges to seal the roll.

In the video below, the chef demonstrates how simple it actually is to roll sushi. Visuals always help me, so I’m betting it will help you too.

Cutting the sushi rolls

Lightly wet a serrated or very sharp knife and begin slicing the sushi into even pieces. Every so often, you will probably need to clean off the knife and wet it again to keep the slices neat.

If you are planning to pack these for lunch or eat them for a meal at home, you may want to cut them in half for easier handling or just skip the cutting process altogether. 

overhead shot of plate full of veggie sushi, dish of soy sauce, chopstick, and bowl of rice

Helpful tips and suggestions

  • No mess- Sliding your mat into a gallon-sized twist-tie plastic bag or covering it with plastic wrap will greatly simplify the rolling and clean-up processes.
  • Damp hands- Wetting your hands often while rolling the sushi will help with the stickiness.
  • Wet knife- Keeping your knife wet help make the cutting process much smoother.
  • Bento box- Homemade sushi is great in bento boxes for packing lunches.

Storage

Wrap the sushi rolls in plastic wrap individually to store. If you plan to slice them, wait until you’re ready to serve to slice.  They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but they do not freeze well.

Dipping sauce options

white plate of colorful vegan sushi on wooden board with chopsticks

Serving suggestions

Sushi can be a meal in itself if you make enough of it. Other times, it’s great to pair it with other Asian-inspired recipes like these.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

About the Chef

close up of drenda michelle brennan

Drenda Michell Brennan lived in Japan in the 1990s and learned many traditional Asian cooking methods. She is the mother of 3 Japanese-American grown children and grandmother (HuneyGram) to 7 grandchildren. She also happens to be the sister of Terri Edwards, the owner and operator of EatPlant-Based. Read more about her story in this article, From Veggie Hater to Plant-Based.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

persons hands rolling sushi in nori with a sushi maker mat

How to Roll Sushi

Yield: 1 roll
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Sushi is colorful and beautiful, so we often think it must be difficult to make, but nothing could be further from the truth. With a few helpful tips, you can be rolling sushi like a master and creating sushi any time you like.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup COOKED sushi rice
  • 1 nori seaweed sheet
  • Filling ingredients such as sliced carrots, cucumber, lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Cook and season your sushi rice before beginning. If you need help with that, this recipe for Vegan Sushi can guide you through the process. Also, go ahead and prep your fillings by slicing them to the appropriate size to fit in the rolls.
  2. Next, slide your sushi mat into a twist-tie gallon-sized plastic bag or cover it with plastic wrap because it will greatly simplify the rolling and clean-up processes.
  3. There are two main types of rolls that we use when making veggie sushi at home. We are going to be doing maki rolls and using nori sheets for this recipe. In an upcoming article, we'll cover the uramaki rolling technic as well.
  4. On your bamboo sushi rolling mat covered in plastic, place a sheet of nori with the rough side up, and the lines running in the same direction as the bamboo mat. 
  5. Spread the rice all the way out to the edges. You can use a rubber spatula, your rice paddle, or your damp fingertips to smooth it more evenly if you need to.  For a maki rollwith the nori on the outside, go all the way out to the very edge except for the one furthest from you. Leave about a ½-inch edge of nori on the far end blank, that will help seal the roll later. 
  6. Begin to add your ingredients.  I add mine in the center. You want to lay out your fillings in a horizontal row. Try to keep them close enough to bundle together easily.
  7. Starting at the end closest to you, carefully lift the edge of the mat to bring it up and over the fillings. Begin rolling, using the mat to encourage the roll to take on a circular shape. As you roll, gently squeeze to tighten the roll up as it forms. This will help compress the rice enough to hold it together, which will keep the sushi from falling apart. Take care not to let the bamboo mat or the plastic wrap get caught up in the roll. 
  8. When the roll is completely formed, use your fingers and run them along the ½-inch strip of nori that was left uncovered at the end with dampened fingers. This will help the edge to stick to the outside of the roll, creating a secure seal.  If you are using hummushomemade vegan cream cheese, or plant-based mayo in your sushi, you can also use these ingredients along the edges to seal the roll.
  9. There is a video included above that can be useful in seeing how it is done.

Cutting the Sushi

  1. Lightly wet a serrated or very sharp knife and begin slicing the sushi into even pieces. Every so often, you will probably need to clean off the knife and wet it again to keep the slices neat.
  2. If you are planning to pack these for lunch or eat them for a meal at home, you may want to cut them in half for easier handling or just skip the cutting process altogether. 

Notes

Helpful Tips:

  • No mess- Sliding your mat into a gallon-sized twist-tie plastic bag or covering it with plastic wrap will greatly simplify the rolling and clean-up processes.
  • Damp hands- Wetting your hands often while rolling the sushi will help with the stickiness.
  • Storage- Wrap sushi rolls in plastic wrap individually to store. If you plan to slice them, wait until you’re ready to serve to slice.  They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Bento box- Homemade sushi is great in bento boxes for packing lunches.

Storage:

Wrap the sushi rolls in plastic wrap individually to store. If you plan to slice them, wait until you’re ready to serve to slice.  They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but they do not freeze well.

About the Chef:

Believe it or not, this how-to recipe came from my sister who used to hate vegetables. No, I’m not kidding! You can read her story in this article, From Veggie Hater to Plant-Based. She lived in Japan back in the 80s and early 90s and knows a thing or two about cooking. I love to eat her food and learn the cooking methods that she developed from living in Asia. She has a wealth of information as you will see from this recipe and more to come. My Asian Stir Fry Sauce was inspired by her and one of her Japanese friends.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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