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Close-up of veggie sushi with white rice, crispy tofu, carrots, and cucumbers.

Vegan Sushi Rolls with Crispy Tofu

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-7 rolls 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Japanese/Korean
  • Diet: Vegan


These vegan sushi rolls with crispy tofu and fresh veg feel like a special-occasion dinner, but are actually quite easy to make. No special equipment needed!


  • 2 cups medium- or short-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • One 14-ounce package extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, like avocado, organic canola, or refined coconut
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick batons
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch-thick batons
  • 67 sushi-size nori sheets
  • Soy sauce, for serving


  1. In a medium pot, combine the rice with 4 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes (do not stir during cooking). Turn the heat off and let the rice stand covered for 10 more minutes to steam.
  2. Meanwhile, press the tofu. Drain the tofu and squeeze out some of the water by pressing on the block with your palms. Place the tofu on a plate then top it with another plate or cutting board and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible (or use a tofu press if you have one). Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
  3. Next, pickle the onions. In a medium shallow bowl or jar, combine 1/2 cup rice vinegar with 1/3 cup water. Add the onions, making sure they’re fully submerged, and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (See note below)
  4. While the rice is still hot, add 2 teaspoons sesame oil and the remaining 3 tablespoons rice vinegar. Using a wooden spatula, gently toss the rice. Let stand uncovered until cool enough to handle.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the tofu. Cut the tofu lengthwise into 8 slabs. Lay the slabs side by side on a cutting board and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tofu seasoned side down in the skillet in a single layer; season the top-facing side. Cook until crispy and golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Transfer tofu to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  7. To make the spicy mayo, stir the mayo with enough hot sauce to taste, starting with 1-2 teaspoons and working your way up, depending on how spicy you want it.
  8. When the tofu is cool enough to handle, slice each slab in half, making 16 batons in total.
  9. To make the rolls, lay 1 piece of nori on a work surface, shiny side down. Place about 3/4 cup rice in the center. Using wet hands, gently spread the rice all the way to the edges, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Place 2 tofu batons on the bottom third of the rice, followed by a few pieces of carrot, cucumber, and pickled onions. Take the bottom edge and tightly roll over the fillings, continuing to roll up. Brush the top border with a wet finger and roll over the border to seal the roll. Continue with the remaining ingredients.
  10. Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll crosswise into 8 pieces. Serve with the spicy mayo and soy sauce.


Quick-pickled onions will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


  • Serving Size: 1 roll, without spicy mayo
  • Calories: 390
  • Fat: 10.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.7 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 15 g

Keywords: vegan, sushi, nori, tofu, gimbap