Gingery tofu, fresh veggies, and creamy avocado make this tofu sushi bowl totally addictive. And it's so easy to make!
Do you prefer rolled sushi? Check out my tofu sushi rolls! They're so delicious.
What is vegan sushi?
You might be wondering if a vegan sushi bowl is even really sushi. That's a common question I hear about this recipe, and I have good news for you!
- Sushi doesn't have to include fish. That's a common misconception. Vegetable sushi is as much a thing as sushi made from animals, so don't worry! Sushi refers to the way you prepare the rice, not what you add to it.
- Sushi doesn't have to be rolled. Chirashi sushi, also called scattered sushi, was of my favorite dishes before I went vegan. Chirashi sushi is a bowl of sushi rice topped with fish and vegetables. In this vegan version, I simply stick to vegetables and add ginger tofu to the mix.
My family loves a tofu sushi bowl. Often, we just wing it, piling tofu and our favorite veggies onto heaping bowls of sushi rice.
Think of this recipe as a jumping-off point. Start with sushi rice and flavorful ginger tofu, then add your favorite sushi fillings to build your perfect bowl.
What I love about a sushi bowl is that you can pick and choose your toppings. My kid, for example, hates cucumber right now. No problem! We just give him extra carrots. If cashews aren't your thing, leave them off, or substitute your favorite nut or seed instead.
And so on, in that fashion.
What really makes this recipe is the Ginger Tofu. It's the perfect blend of spice, sweet, and salt, and the marinade takes just a few seconds to make in your blender.
While your Ginger Tofu marinates and cooks, prepare your sushi rice and prep those veggies. Supper can be on the table in under an hour.
About the Seaweed
For me, that seaweed taste is part of what sushi is all about. My husband tends to skip the seaweed in his sushi bowls, but my kid and I love it!
You can slice up and toast whole nori sheets for your sushi bowl, but my favorite cheater's trick is to buy a pack of seaweed snacks instead. They come already toasted and ready to eat. Just sliced them and pile them on.
The other reason I like using seaweed snacks instead of nori sheets is price. Around here, a pack of nori costs around $7, and you get way more seaweed than you need. You can often get sushi snacks on sale for $1 per pack, and you only need a single package for this recipe.
Making the tofu
When you're marinating tofu, the first, most critical step is to press your tofu well. Pressing gets the extra liquid out, which is going to make that block thirsty for marinade and give your tofu restaurant-style firmness.
I like to do this in my EZ Tofu Press, because it gets out about ½ cup of water in just 10-15 minutes! It does this while also maintaining the shape of the block, which is perfect for cubed tofu recipes like this one.
The EZ Tofu Press is easy to clean by hand but also dishwasher safe, in case you're ultra lazy about cleaning, like I am.
The ginger tofu is a snap to make. Toss all of the marinade ingredients into your blender. Puree, then pour it over pressed tofu to marinate it for 10-15 minutes.
Then, add the cornstarch to your bowl, toss again, and you can either bake or air fry that tofu to perfection.
Either way, there is very little hands-on time involved in making this tofu, which leaves you plenty of time to make the rice and prep your other toppings while the tofu is cooking. Pile it all into a big ol' bowl, and you are ready to devour.
Assembling the bowls
Cooked sushi rice is the base for these bowls. You can use my Instant Pot sushi rice recipe, if you like to make rice in your IP. Or, follow the package directions to yield three to four cups of cooked sushi rice.
Then, divide the ginger tofu between your sushi bowls.
Now comes the fun part: toppings!
You can use the same toppings that I list in the recipe card below or mix things up to use what you have on hand or what you like in your favorite vegan sushi roll.
Here are some ideas for toppings (some are in the recipe below, some not):
- radish slices
- sliced seaweed snacks
- fresh or air fried avocado
- pickled ginger
- green onions
- peanuts or cashews
- sautéed mushrooms tossed in teriyaki sauce
- roasted sweet potato
- air fryer Brussels sprouts
- sliced mango
See what needs using in your produce drawer and build a custom tofu sushi bowl with whatever you have handy!
Tofu Sushi Bowl Recipe
- 2" piece fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil - (optional, but recommended)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch - (or potato starch)
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and cut into 1" pieces
For the Sushi Bowls
- 1 batch pressure cooker sushi rice - or 3 cups of cooked sushi rice. See note.
- ½ cup carrot sticks
- ¾ cup cucumber - sliced into ¼" thick half-moons
- 1 Haas avocado - sliced
- 1 .16 oz package of roasted seaweed snacks (.17 oz is also fine) - cut into slices, optional
- ¼ cup pickled ginger - optional
- roasted cashews, peanut, or sesame seeds - optional
- 1 green onion - chopped
Make the tofu
- To make the marinade, combine the ginger, garlic, maple syrup, sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar in your blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
- In a large bowl with high sides, toss together the tofu and the marinade. Set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes, then drain off any excess marinade. Toss the marinated tofu with the cornstarch in the same bowl.
- Oven Directions for the Tofu: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Arrange the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 30-35 minutes. No need to flip, unless you really want to. The tofu is ready when it's starting to brown on the edges.
- Air Fryer Directions for the Tofu: Pour the tofu into the basket of your air fryer. Cook on 400° F for 15-20 minutes, shaking after 8 minutes. The tofu is ready when it's starting to brown on the edges.
Make the sushi bowls
- Divide the sushi rice between your bowls. Top with the tofu, avocado, green onion, carrots, cucumbers, seaweed snack pieces, and pickled ginger. Sprinkle on the cashews, if you're using them, then top it all off with the green onion.