Crispy tofu sushi with creamy avocado, savory quick pickled carrots, and spicy sriracha mayo. These vegan sushi rolls are totally addictive!
Don't want to roll? Try my tofu sushi bowl instead!
I'd recommend making your sushi rice first thing, so it has time to cool. I like to make it, then transfer it to a fresh bowl and pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes to speed up the cooling process.
Then, keep it out on the counter to cool. Keeping it in the freezer for too long will start to dry out the rice, so I don't recommend freezing for more than 20 minutes.
While the rice cooks and cools, make your crispy baked tofu. These are the star of these tofu sushi rolls!
Start by pressing your tofu in the EZ Tofu Press. This gets out excess water and helps your tofu get super firm!
Now, slice the tofu into rectangles and toss it with a little bit of toasted sesame oil. Then coat it in a seasoned cornstarch mixture.
I recommend using your hands to coat the tofu, rather than tossing with a spoon, because you don't want the rectangles to break.
Bake the tofu until crispy. You don't even need to flip it!
After baking, slice your tofu into strips. Everything in a sushi roll needs to be long and skinny!
While the tofu bakes, you have plenty of time to pickle your carrots and prep the avocado and green onions for rolling.
To pickle the carrots, just bring vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil, then pour the hot brine over shredded carrots.
For the green onions, just slice away the white parts. Each roll will get one or two pieces of the green parts.
To prepare the avocado, peel it, then slice it into strips.
Rolling your tofu sushi
When the tofu is ready, it's time to roll!
Fill a small bowl with water. This is to moisten your fingers, so the rice won't stick to them and so you can seal the rolls properly at the end.
Grab your first nori sheet, and place it shiny side down on a dry surface. Wet your fingers in the water, and use them to spread the sushi rice all over the nori sheet, leaving about a 1" strip uncovered along one side.
Now, arrange a strip with a couple of pieces of the tofu, about a tablespoon of the carrots (leave the brine behind), a piece of green onion, and some avocado.
You can add an extra half piece of tofu, if needed, to fill the whole length of the nori sheet. There's extra tofu to allow for this.
Be careful not to overfill the roll, because it will cause the nori to burst when you're rolling!
To roll your sushi, start on the side with the tofu and veggies, and gently roll toward the 1" uncovered strip of nori, pressing gently as you go.
If you have a sushi mat, you can use it, but you can roll without one.
When you get to that uncovered bit of nori, dip your fingertips into the bowl of water, and sprinkle it onto that part of the nori. Gently finish rolling, pressing lightly as you roll back and forth to make a seal. Use a sharp knife to slice into pieces.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of nori and filling ingredients.
The recipe below includes directions for making a quick sriracha mayo that you can drizzle onto the rolls or use as a dipping sauce. It is optional, though.
Instead of cooking the rice on the stovetop, you can use your Instant Pot to save time! Double my recipe for Instant Pot sushi rice, and you're good to go.
Of course, the filling suggestions for this tofu sushi roll are just that: suggestions. Feel free to use different veggies! Here are some ideas:
- fresh carrots instead of pickled
- fresh or pan fried bell pepper
- sesame seeds
- roasted sweet potato
- roasted eggplant
- roasted or sautéed mushrooms
- crushed peanuts or cashews
- raw or cooked greens
- sautéed or roasted summer or winter squash
I do not recommend making these rolls ahead, but you can make many of the elements in advance!
- You can make the crispy tofu and slice it up to a day ahead. Just reheat in the oven at 350° F until it's crispy again.
- The pickled carrots are actually even better if you make them in advance! You can make them up to two days ahead of time.
- Whip up the sriracha mayo up to two days in advance.
- The sushi rice can be made a few hours ahead of time and refrigerated in a covered bowl. I do not recommend making it more than a few hours before using, because it will start to harden if you refrigerate it for too long.
Leftover tofu sushi will keep for three to four days in the fridge, but I recommend eating it as soon as possible.
The rice will harden as the sushi sits in the fridge.
Tofu Sushi Recipe
- 2 ½ cups dry sushi rice - prepared according to package directions
For the crunchy tofu
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and sliced into 8 cutlets
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper - or more, to taste
For the quick pickled carrots
- ½ cup shredded carrot - you can buy pre-shredded, or shred by hand or in the food processor
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the rolls
- 6 nori sheets
- 1 Haas avocado - sliced into strips
- 4-6 green onions - green parts, whole
Make the tofu
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Make your sushi rice according to package directions and then stick it in the freezer to cool for 20 minutes.
- In a large, shallow bowl or on a large dinner plate gently coat the tofu in the toasted sesame oil. I recommend doing this by hand, rather than tossing with a spoon.
- In a small bowl or mug, whisk together the cornstarch, garlic powder, ginger, salt, and pepper. Add the cornstarch mixture to the plate of tofu, gently coating the tofu well. Again, I suggest rubbing this on by hand, rather than using a spoon to toss.
- Transfer the coated tofu to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes, no need to flip. Slice each cutlet into 2 longer, skinnier pieces.
Make the pickled carrots while the tofu bakes
- In a small saucepan, heat all of the ingredients except for the carrots. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat. Place the carrots in a bowl and pour on the vinegar mixture. Set aside to marinate.
Make the rolls
- Fill a small bowl with water. Grab your first nori sheet, and place it shiny side down on a dry surface. Wet your fingers in the water, and use them to spread the sushi rice all over the nori sheet, leaving about a 1" strip uncovered along one side.
- On the side opposite the 1" strip, arrange a strip with 2-3 pieces of the tofu, about a tablespoon of the carrots (drain off the brine), a piece of green onion, and some avocado.
- It's time to roll! Start on the side with the tofu and veggies, and gently roll toward the 1" uncovered strip of nori, pressing gently as you go. If you have a sushi mat, you can use it, but you can roll without one. When you get to that uncovered bit of nori, dip your fingertips into the bowl of water, and sprinkle it onto that part of the nori. Gently finish rolling, pressing lightly as you roll back and forth to make a seal. Use a sharp knife to slice into pieces.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of nori and filling ingredients. Serve immediately.
Make the sriracha mayo (if using)
- Whisk together the mayo ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the rolls or serve on the side as a dipping sauce.
Frequently asked questions
Sushi rice is idea. It's a sticky, short-grain rice that helps your rolls stay together. You can use other rices, though.
Short grain white or brown rice both work in sushi rolls, as well. I've even made rolls with medium grain white rice. They don't stay together as well as with short grain or sushi rice, but it works in a pinch.
Any mix of raw and/or cooked vegetables works great in sushi. You can even use fruit, like mango or peach to add some sweetness. Just slice whatever ingredients you choose into long, skinny strips, and you're ready to roll.
You sure can, and I do it all the time! If you'd rather not bake your tofu, you can add it uncooked to these rolls instead. The other ingredients bring plenty of flavor to the table.
It can be! Like any other food, vegan food is healthy if you choose healthy ingredients and prepare them in a healthy way. A deep fried veggie roll is less healthy than this roll, made with baked tofu, for example.
You can! Sushi actually refers to a style of rice, so as long as you're using sushi rice, you're eating sushi! See the section on variations above for lots of animal-free sushi filling ideas.