Vegan Nori Rolls 101 and a DELISH Smoothie

From the glass shard-laden floorboards, a shimmer of hope beneath the kitchen appliance ashes here to save Ali from smoothie withdrawal, springs a chrome phoenix of blenders: the Oster Beehive with 600 watts of fruit-amalgamating horsepower!

A godsend, this new blender far outshines my dinky old one and pureed the hell out of my morning smoothie in seconds flat. I love you, Mr. Blendy.

Speaking of morning smoothies, I may have found a new favorite. After grocery shopping at the Dane County Farmers Market and the Willy Street Coop yesterday, I returned home with an obscene amount of fruit—an enormous cantaloupe, blood red raspberries, a paper ball full of Door County plums, two bunches of bananas to freeze, and a pint of ripe mission figs also to freeze. What better way to sample almost all of this fruit at the same time than with a breakfast beverage?

3-Fruit Carob Kale Smoothie (Gluten Free, Oil Free)

Serves 1-2.


  • 1 large leaf of kale, stem removed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 banana, sliced (as always, I used frozen.)
  • 1/4 large cantaloupe, rind removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 mission figs, quartered (mine were frozen.)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (you could also use flax or hemp seeds, but I like chia seeds in my smoothies because they act as a thickener.)
  • 2 tbsp carob/cacao powder
  • 1 cup soy milk (substitute any nut milk for a raw smoothie.)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree away! Top with more fruit and granola, if you so desire. And I do so desire. Desire in the form of fresh raspberries and Ezekiel Golden Flax granola.

As is the problem with many a green smoothie, the kale did not overpower! Instead, each fruit flavor shined through, complemented by the sweet carob powder. YUM.

Meal Checklist: Protein–soy milk and chia seeds. Whole Grain–granola. Fruit–banana, canteloupe, figs, raspberries. Added Leafy Green Plus!–kale.

Local Ingredients: Kale from Driftless Organics, cantaloupe from Flyte Family Farm.

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. I know the real motivation for reading this post—you all want to see some mad sushi-rolling action. Sushi in no sense has to inclue raw fish. In fact, “sushi” literally translates to “sour-tasting” since the ancient Southeast Asians coated fish in vinegared rice and left it to ferment, later discarding the rice and consuming only the fish. In any case, I like rice and fermented stuff and I love me some vegetable sushi.

Vegan Sushi (Gluten Free, Oil Free)

Makes 4 rolls.


  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice (DO NOT substitute long-grain! You need short-grain for sushi because the individual rice grains stick together and hold all the other sushi ingredients in place.)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp ume plum vinegar, brown rice vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 4 sheets sushi nori (if you can only find regular nori sheets, follow the directions for toasting them below.)
  • 1/2 cup Asian-inspired vegan spread (I tweaked Pure2Raw’s recipe for Seaweed Pate and Choosing Raw’s Ginger Lime Edamame Hummus to use in the sushi. You can find both of my adaptations below.)
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 small cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 small avocado, sliced into thin strips

Julienned veggies.

Combine the rice and water in a medium-large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle in the vinegar and fluff rice with a fork. Cover with a paper towel and let cool for about 30-45 minutes or until comfortable to handle.

Meanwhile, toast the nori if you bought untoasted. Carefully hover the nori over a low flame until it starts to turn a deep green and crinkle a bit. You’ll have to move the nori around above the flame to ensure that the entire sheet toasts, but the whole process shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds (nori toasts very quickly).

Nori before toasting…

…and after! Magic.

And now…step-by-step instructions on sushi rolling (numbers correspond to the pictures below).

  1. Lay a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat.
  2. Scoop about 1/2 cup rice onto the bottom-middle section of the nori. Spread the rice either with you hands or a spoon to evenly cover the whole sheet, leaving a 1-inch thick strip of nori rice-free at the top.
  3. Spoon a 2 tbsp schmear of spread (what alliteration!) onto the rice about 1/2-inch away from the bottom of the nori to span the entire width of the sheet.
  4. Lay the julienned veggies in horizontal rows on top of the spread.
  5. Flip up the front veggie-less 1/2-inch of the nori over the veggies with the bamboo mat.
  6. Continue tightly rolling the sushi, pressing evenly on both sides of the bamboo mat.
  7. Smooth the rice-less nori overhang on the roll, using a small amount of water if it doesn’t want to stick. Voila! A perfect log of vegan sushi.
  8. Cut the roll seam-side down into 8 pieces with a very sharp serrated knife.

Meal Checklist: Protein–chickpeas and tahini in spreads. Whole Grain–brown rice. Vegetables–carrots, avocado, cucumber, broccoli in spread. Leafy Greens–arame and wakame seaweeds.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Harmony Valley Farmbaby cucumbers from Canopy Gardens, broccoli from Green Barn Farm Market.

And now for some sushi porn.

Recipe featured on Finding Vegan.

Now get into that kitchen and fill the entire refrigerator with some veggie-filled sushi! Oop, before I forget, my two adapted spread recipes, as promised:

Seaweed Pate (Gluten Free if using tamari, Oil Free)

Makes about 2 cups.


  • 3/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup arame seaweed
  • 1/3 cup wakame seaweed
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp sweet white miso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s liquid aminos

Place the dried seaweed in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and combine in food processor with all other ingredients. Pulse until smooth, scraping the bowl edges as needed.

Adapted from Pure2Raw.

Ginger Lime Edamame Hummus (Gluten Free if using tamari, Oil Free)

Makes about 2 cups.


  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • Pepper and cayenne to taste
  • 3/4-1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tbsp sweet white miso
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s liquid aminos

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping the bowl edges as needed.

Adapted from Choosing Raw.

Comment Provoking Questions: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like sushi? What is your favorite kind of sushi, fish or veggie? Are there any good vegan-friendly sushi joints in your city?

Until next time, Ali.

2 thoughts on “Vegan Nori Rolls 101 and a DELISH Smoothie

  1. Kristina @ spabettie says:

    sushi was my favorite thing, I always said I could eat it every day. now I make vegan versions and don’t miss it (and I did love veggie sushi back then too).

    I don’t know of much veg sushi here (Portland), but it certainly would not surprise me.

    this looks GOOD!

    • Ali Seiter says:

      I’m exactly the same way with sushi! I gave up red meat and poultry long before saying goodbye to fish, mostly for sushi. And I’m sure that in Portland, one of the vegan capitals of the U.S., they would definitely have veg sushi. Sigh, I’d love to visit the city. Thanks for the comment!

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