If I’m being honest, the fine art of making sushi at home is a skill that has always evaded me, with my most dedicated efforts taking shape in lumpy ungainly rolls at best. Until recently that is, when I discovered a quick-fix solution to my cravings in the form of a vegan sushi cake!
The best part? Not only are sushi cakes much easier to assemble than hand-rolling sushi from scratch, they’re also endlessly adaptable. You can layer and garnish each sushi cake differently, playing with a multitude of your favourite vegan trimmings from avocado and edamame to pickled vegetables and more! Did I mention that they also happen to be easy on the eye too, especially if you go the extra step by naturally colouring your sushi rice blue (more on this below!)
Bookmark this recipe and leave your guests guessing as to just how you rustled up these impressive appetisers (which happen to be hearty enough to serve as mains too!).
All ingredients mentioned in this recipe have been sourced from Urban Platter, my go-to platform for stocking up on most of my pantry essentials right from baking supplies to global cooking ingredients and more! Links for the individual ingredients are provided in the recipe notes section of the recipe card below.
For the sushi rice
- Sushi rice: you will need short-grain sushi rice, as this variety has a firm yet plumpish texture which sticks together to bind the sushi cake.
- Butterfly pea flowers: this is entirely optional, but recommended if you want to give the sushi rice a natural blue colour (the final result is visually striking!).
- Sushi rice seasoning: we make our own by combining rice vinegar, sugar and sea salt.
- Nori: this is the green seaweed which you usually find wrapped around sushi rolls!
For the layers:
Both the vegan sushi cake layers and the choice of garnishes can be personalised as per your preference! Below are suggestions on what works well and have been used for this recipe, but feel free to pick and choose what you like, swapping them in for other trimmings that are more suited to your palate.
- A mango, rolled as a rose
- Boiled edamame, shelled
- Pickled Japanese eggplant
- Black sesame seeds
- Vegan Sriracha Mayo (alternatively, whisk together Sriracha with vegan Mayonnaise)
In addition, you will need a ring mould to assemble this sushi cake.
Tips For Making This Vegan Sushi Cake
- Start by rinsing the rice well until with running water with until the water is clear. This should remove the excess starch in the rice. If you are using blue pea flowers, add it to the rice whilst it is cooking, stirring often to ensure that the rice is evenly dyed blue! Just don’t forget to strain the flowers out with a slotted spoon once the rice is cooked. You can also just leave the flowers in, as it will not affect the flavour of the rice.
- Prepare the sushi vinegar whilst the rice is cooking. Keep aside 2 tbsp for seasoning the sushi rice, whilst using the remainder to marinate the cucumber and carrots. The marinade gives the cucumber and carrot strips a wet and sticky texture, making it easier to stick them inside the edges of the ring mould.
- Toast the nori to give it a crumbly texture before stirring it into the sushi rice along with the sushi vinegar.
- Have fun with your choice of layers and garnishes! Just don’t leave out the (vegan-friendly) Spicy Mayo as it adds a fiery creaminess, whilst ensuring that the sushi cake is not dry.
Vegan Sushi Cake
- 1 cup sushi rice (Japanese short grain rice)
- 1-1½ cups water
- handful of butterfly pea flowers (optional, for blue sushi rice)
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¾ sheet of dried nori
- 1 cucumber (sliced into thin and long strips)
- 1 carrot (peeled into long thin and even strips which are 1” wide at the top)
- 1 avocado, smashed
- ½ mango (thinly sliced and cut in cubes/ rolled as a rose)
- black sesame seeds
- pickled Japanese vegetables
- boiled edamame, shelled
- Sriracha mayo/ vegan mayo
Cook the rice
- Rinse the sushi rice in a colander with running water with until the water is clear. This should remove the excess starch in the rice.
- Combine the rice, blue pea flowers (if adding) and 1-1½ cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Once cooked, fish out the flowers with a slotted spoon before draining the rice. Let the rice fully cool down.
Prepare the sushi vinegar
- Add rice vinegar, sugar and sea salt to a small saucepan. Stir it together on medium-low heat, whisking continuously to ensure that all the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Reserve 2 tbsp of the vinegar for seasoning the rice. Use the remainder for marinating the long and thin strips of cucumber and carrots.
Toast the dried nori
- Add a sheet of dried nori to a skillet/ large cast iron pan on medium/ high heat. Toast the nori, (flipping halfway) until crisp.
- Remove from heat. Once slightly cooled down, crumble the nori into small pieces.
Season the rice
- Once the rice has cooled down, stir in 2 tbsp of the seasoning and the crumbled nori, mixing everything together with a wooden spoon until evenly stirred through.
- Place a ring mould on a serving plate. Stick marinated cucumber / carrot strips around the inside of the ring.
- Add a layer of seasoned rice at the bottom of the ring, gently pressing down with a spoon/ silicone spatula.
- Next, place a layer of carrot and cucumber strips on top of the rice, followed by a layer of smashed avocado.
- Add a second layer of sushi rice (pressing down again with a silicon spatula/ spoon).
- Gently remove the ring mould and delicately garnish as desired: e.g. with pickled vegetables, edamame and black sesame seeds, curled mango slices and black sesame seeds etc. Finish with a drizzle of vegan Sriracha mayo. Serve with more mayo on the side and soy sauce for dipping.
- Short grain sushi rice: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-short-grain-sushi-rice-1kg/
- Butterfly blue pea flowers; https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-blue-butterfly-pea-flower-tea-40g-141oz-premium-blue-tea-brain-stimulant-rich-in-antioxidants/
- Sushi nori: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-sushi-nori-sheets-roasted-seaweed-laver-10-sheets-30-grams/
- Rice vinegar: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-japanese-sushi-rice-vinegar-awasezu-500ml-all-natural-vinegar-traditionally-made-and-seasoned/
- Vegan Sriracha Mayo: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-vegan-sriracha-mayo-300g-106oz-dairy-free-mayonnaise-no-palm-oil-no-trans-fat/
- Furikake seasoning: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-nori-kami-furikake-seasoning-100g-japanese-style/
- Pickled sushi eggplant: https://urbanplatter.in/product/urban-platter-pickled-sushi-eggplant-shiba-zuke-200g/
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