DIY Vegan California Roll

Is there anything more fun to eat than sushi? This is how we roll.

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Sushi may well be the most entertaining type of food. From the ornate presentation, to the pretty bowls and chopsticks, to—oh, yeah—the utterly delicious flavor combinations, this cuisine is any foodie’s favorite. While going out to sushi with friends is always a good time, up the fun factor by hosting a sushi party at home! While there’s pretty much no limit to the variety of fillings that can work wonders in your roll—think sautéed mushrooms, tempura-battered sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, or chopped artichoke hearts—the California roll is a classic for a reason. These fresh, simple rolls are sure to please everyone in your group, and make a great starting point for your culinary creativity. Just make sure not to go too wild with the wasabi—remember, it’s a flavoring, not a weapon.

Serves 4
What You Need for the Rice:
  • 1 cup white sushi rice
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
What You Do for the Rice:
  1. In a mesh strainer, rinse rice under cold water until water runs clear. Drain 1 hour.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 14 minutes without removing the cover. Remove pan from heat and uncover. Drape a dish towel over pan, then replace the cover. Let rice stand 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer rice to a shallow dish and add vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to toss until well mixed. Make sushi while rice is still slightly warm.
What You Need for the Sushi Roll:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Prepared sushi rice
  • 4 sheets nori
  • Wasabi paste
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 ounces seasoned tofu, cut into thin strips
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin slices
What You Do for the Sushi Roll:
  1. In a dry skillet over a medium flame, toast sesame seeds 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo mat or smooth cutting board. Dip fingers in a bowl of water. Spread about 1/4 of the rice evenly over nori, leaving a 3/4-inch strip bare along one edge.
  3. Spread a pinch of wasabi across the rice. Sprinkle rice with sesame seeds, then arrange several strips each of carrot, cucumber, tofu, and avocado along the line of wasabi. The fillings should extend to both sides of the nori.
  4. Use your index fingers and thumbs to pick up the edge of the bamboo mat (if not using a mat, grasp the nori) closest to you. Place your remaining fingers over the fillings to hold them in place. Roll forward, tightly wrapping nori around the fillings. Roll until you reach the 3/4-inch strip of bare nori. Lightly wet several fingers with water and run them across the uncovered nori. Continue rolling, pressing the moistened strip of nori against the roll to seal it.
  5. Unroll the bamboo mat and place the roll on a cutting board, seam side down. Wet a serrated knife with water and cut sushi roll into 6 even pieces. Repeat for remaining rolls.
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