Foodie Tuesday: Protein-Packed Vegan Sushi

Sooner or later, we all hear the dreaded question: “Where do you get your protein?” Well, after today, you can confidently tell all the skeptics, “Oh, you know, from sushi.”

How do you make vegan sushi pack a protein punch? All you have to do is replace the traditional sushi rice with some quinoa! As we all know, quinoa is God’s protein gift to vegans, containing 24 grams per cup. This is twice the amount of protein found in normal sushi rice, so why not make the switch? Quinoa and sushi rice have about the same amount of calories, but you’ll end up feeling fuller (and for much longer) when you use quinoa.

Before you break out the quinoa, you’re gonna need a few key sushi making supplies. You just can’t make sushi without a sushi rolling mat and a packet of Nori sheets, which can be found at any Japanese grocery store. After you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, the next step is ingredients.

Ingredients (inspired by recipe from Nom Yum & Free):

For Sushi Rice:

1 cup of quinoa (either red, white, or tricolor)

1 Tbsp olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

2 cups water

4 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp maple syrup

1/4- 1/2 tsp sea salt

For Fillings:

1 cucumber, cut into strips

1 avocado, cut into strips

1 sweet potato, cut into large strips

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

dash of cinnamon

As always, rinse your quinoa before doing anything else. Then, transfer the quinoa into a medium saucepan containing the tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the quinoa for about five minutes, and then add the 2 cups of water into the saucepan.

Turn the stovetop to high to get the quinoa to boil. Let it boil for 1 minute. Then, turn the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let the quinoa sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rice vinegar, maple syrup, and salt into a small bowl. After 20 minutes and all the water is absorbed, put the quinoa in a large bowl. Let it sit and cool for 10 minutes before adding the vinegar mix to it.

Think about the skill I had to use to make this picture happen. Yeah, you're welcome :)

As the quinoa cools, you can cut up the avocado, cucumber, and sweet potato into strips. Then, put the sweet potato strips (which really should be steak fry size) into a skillet with some olive oil and a dash of cinnamon. Turn the skillet on moderate heat and just keep flipping until they soften up. If you want, you can even make them crispy like sweet potato fries. There’s nothing I love like sweet potato tempera sushi, so this is my vegan cheat sheet version. It’s so simple, yet so delicious. My other favorite kind of sushi is avocado and cucumber rolls, but you can add any veggies into your sushi that you like.

Once the quinoa has cooled, spoon the vinegar mix into the quinoa. Fold the quinoa over itself in the bowl to make sure that all of the quinoa gets covered with the vinegar mix. Then, put a Nori sheet down on the sushi mat and spread the quinoa over the Nori sheet, leaving a small “crust” around the edges.






If you’ve ever made sushi with sushi rice, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the quinoa spreads. (Just another perk of making this switch!)


Then, put your vegetables on the edge of the Nori sheet closest to you. You only want to put a small layer of vegetables so that you will be able to roll it properly.

Don't those sweet potatoes look good?

Then, roll the top over itself, making sure that the vegetables are fully wrapped inside the Nori sheet before squeezing on the sushi rolling mat. Don’t be afraid to manhandle your sushi. Show it who’s boss! Then, pull the sushi mat back a little and repeat the process until you roll all the way down the Nori sheet, making sure the bottom of the Nori sheet sticks to the rest of the roll. If you’re still unsure about the exact rolling technique, hopefully this sushi rolling tutorial will clear things up.

Then, you just have to cut the roll into 6 to 8 pieces, and ta-da, sushi!






The next time someone asks you about your protein intake, shove one of these into their mouth. If nothing else, they’ll be too busy chewing to ask any more silly questions.

Besides rice, you can also replace oats with quinoa to get some extra protein at breakfast. With a little bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless! Now that you know one of my favorite ways to get my protein, how do you get yours?

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5 Responses to Foodie Tuesday: Protein-Packed Vegan Sushi

  1. Your sautéed sweet potato in your quinoa sushi recipe looks yummy! I’ll have to try that. Thanks for the shout out. I’m happy my yummy quinoa sushi recipe inspired you to make another tasty one. 🙂 Have a wonderful week!!

    • lindsay says:

      Your recipe was so easy to follow, I had to try it out! And when it turned out so well, I had to tell everyone (who’s willing to listen to me, that is) about it 🙂 Definitely try the sweet potato. It’s so good, especially if you dip in soy sauce. Then, you have this sweet and savory mix going on, and there’s seriously nothing better. Thanks for your comment, and have a great week yourself!

  2. Julie says:

    I tried it this morning and am eating it right now – with a fork. Everything went very well until cutting time. I destroyed the roll trying to cut it. It is very likely that my knife is not sharp enough. It is delicious, and I am going to try again since I have way more vegetables than quinoa ready to go. Thanks!

    • elyssa says:

      Nice, Julie! Practice makes perfect! Next time you try it out, snap a photo and tag us on Instagram and Twitter @ieatgrassdotcom.

      – E

    • lindsay says:

      I’m so glad you tried it and had mostly good results, Julie! I’ve found that a serrated knife is the best tool to use to cut sushi, and it definitely helps if it’s really sharp! Good luck with your next ones!!

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