These vegan asparagus sushi rolls are fresh and full of flavor! This vegan tempura batter is so light and crunchy. Pairing crisp asparagus with creamy avocado creates delicious and vibrantly green vegan sushi rolls. Stay in and make this easy homemade vegan sushi recipe that also happens to be gluten-free!
We don’t have a ton of sushi places near to us that have vegan options. A search of “vegan sushi near me” or “vegan Japanese near me” doesn’t generate many good options. When we do want to splurge, we have to drive a bit to enjoy sushi out, but it’s worth it because I love the vegan options that are available at the place we go to. Tempura sweet potato, avocado and shiitake mushrooms are all amazing options. Some tempura batter does contain egg, so just check in with the kitchen about the ingredients they use.
However, staying in and making homemade vegan sushi is fun in a different way. As a food blogger, I love doing this! You can make it with a partner or friends at home, or by yourself to enjoy the meditative process. The beer is cheaper and you can pick the music!
How to Make Sushi Vegan
When it comes to making sushi vegan, there are so many options! The word sushi doesn’t necessarily mean it contains raw fish. It refers to the rice, which is seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt. So making it vegan is very simple, and the possibilities are endless.
How to Make These Vegan Asparagus Sushi Rolls
In this vegan sushi roll recipe, I chose to combine:
Asparagus: for its firm bite and fresh pop of flavor. To select asparagus, be sure to choose a bunch that is bright green, with tips that are firm, but not dry or soft. When prepping asparagus, bend it with two hands towards the base (which is usually around the bottom third of the stalk) to locate it’s natural breaking point and cut that part away as discard. You’ll only be using the top two-thirds of the asparagus.
Avocado: for its super creamy flavor and texture. To select a good one, look for black or dark green avocados. Give it a gentle squeeze. If you are using it right away, choose one that yields a bit to pressure. You can also pop off the stem at the top. If it’s bright green underneath, the avocado is ready.
A vegan tempura batter: This isn’t a necessary step, but adds a nice crunch and richness to the sushi roll. You can alternatively blanch the asparagus (skip the ice bath) and pat dry to use in the sushi.
Sushi rice: Season your cooked rice with rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Allow it to cool before adding to the nori sheet.
The Best Vegan Tempura Batter
The vegan tempura batter used in this recipe is so light and crispy! The secret to a beautiful, crunchy tempura is keeping the batter ingredients ice-cold and maintaining the temperature of the oil between 350 and 375 degrees.
For this batter, I combined equal parts cornstarch and white rice flour with baking powder and salt with fizzy water to create a smooth batter that’s the perfect consistency for clinging to the asparagus while still staying thin and light. You can use this tempura batter with sweet potatoes, mushrooms or anything you’d like to fill your sushi with!
How To Roll a Sushi Roll
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients and prepped them, you are ready to roll your vegan asparagus rolls sushi! This type of sushi is called maki sushi. It’s very simple to do, and you’ll be a pro once you’ve assembled and rolled one or two of them.
Equipment You’ll Need:
- a bamboo sushi rolling mat
- a gallon-size ziploc bag
- a sharp knife
- a rice cooker
Step One: Spread your rice evenly over a sheet of nori.
Insert your bamboo mat inside of a gallon-size ziploc bag for easy clean up. Make sure the the bamboo strips are running horizontally towards you. Place one sheet of nori over the top, shiny side down, with the serrated lines running vertically towards you.
Dip your fingers into the water, then portion one-quarter of the sushi rice over the nori sheet. Spread it evenly, leaving some space at the top for sealing the sushi roll. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds if you like.
Step Two: Place your thinly sliced avocado and asparagus towards the center of the rice.
Step Three: Roll your sushi!
Pick up the end closest to you. Roll it away from you, adding some gentle pressure. Once it’s almost completely rolled, pick up the bamboo mat and gently apply pressure to help create a cylindrical shape. Roll back the bamboo rolling mat, leaving the nori at the top exposed.
Step Four: Seal your sushi.
Dip your finger into your bowl of water, and run it across the exposed nori. Then use both hands to complete the roll using gentle pressure.
Step Five: Cut your sushi.
To get a clean cut, you’ll need a really sharp knife. You can run the knife under very hot water, dry it off and cut right away for an even cleaner cut. Cut the roll in half, and those halves into halves, making eight pieces of sushi.
Repeat this sushi rolling process again to make four rolls, or 32 pieces of sushi. Feel free to double the recipe below if you’d like!
Vegan Sushi Fillings Options
You can use and combine lots of other produce or vegan protein as vegan sushi rolls ingredients, including:
- sweet potato
- bell pepper
- carrots or carrot lox
- hearts of palm
- amaranth grain
- soy curls
I love how fresh this asparagus roll looks. It’s perfect with soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger. We usually devour these in minutes!
More Vegan Sushi Recipes to Enjoy!
I love making sushi, and here are a few other tried-and-true vegan recipes that are delicious!
- These Sweet Potato Tempura and Avocado Rolls pair crispy sweet potato and avocado, then slathers it with a homemade teriyaki sauce. It’s crispy, sweet and salty and so delicious!
- If you like some spice and heat, these Vegan Dynamite Sushi Rolls deliver! Made with chopped king oyster mushroom stems, these are my favorite sushi roll to make.
- These Lobster Mushroom Tempura Rolls give a vegan seafood texture and feel. These mushrooms can be a bit pricey, so this roll feels like a decadent treat!
- This vegan eel can be used to make a vegan eel sushi roll!
- These beer-battered hearts of palm would make a great vegan fish sushi! Just cut the hearts of palm into long quarters before frying.
- To make vegan salmon sushi, use my carrot lox recipe!
How To Make a Vegan Sushi Bowl
If you like making sushi, consider mixing it up and making a vegan sushi bowl! This Watermelon Tuna Poke Bowl is made with seasoned sushi rice, creamy avocado and baked and marinated watermelon. It’s fun to make and perfect for summer!
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These vegan asparagus sushi rolls are fun to assemble and make the best vegan sushi! You can tempura batter or blanch the asparagus. The avocado is cut thinly with a mandoline slicer to create a pretty pattern and texture. This sushi is also gluten-free!
for the sushi rice
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
for the tempura batter
- 1/3 cup cornstarch (place into freezer a few hours before using, if possible)
- 1/3 cup white rice flour (place into freezer a few hours before using, if possible)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- a couple pinches of salt
- 1/3 cup ice-cold fizzy water
- canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
for the fillings
- 1–2 TB sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 ripe avocado, mandolined (wait to slice it until ready to use, as it will quickly brown)
- 8–10 asparagus spears, wooden ends removed and cut in half
- 2 tsp wasabi paste (optional, but tastes really nice with the other ingredients here)
- 4 toasted nori sheets
- soy sauce or tamari to make it gluten-free
- pickled ginger
to make the sushi rice
- Place the rice and water into a rice cooker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Season with the rice vinegar, sugar and salt.
- Allow to cool before assembling your sushi.
to make the tempura batter and for frying the asparagus
- Combine the chilled cornstarch, white rice flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
- Pour in the chilled fizzy water. Stir with a spoon or spatula until super smooth. No need to worry about overmixing since the batter is gluten-free.
- Add several inches of oil to a heavy pot. Heat over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes.
- Insert a chopstick into the hot oil until it touches the bottom of the pot. If Bubbles form around it immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Place a piece of asparagus into the batter to coat and allow any excess to drip off. Gently place into the hot oil. Repeat this to fry no more than 4-5 pieces at a time. Do not overcrowd the pot and move them around with chopsticks to prevent sticking. Remove with chopsticks or a skimmer and place onto paper towels to drain.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of asparagus.
To roll your sushi
- Place a bamboo mat into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Place it in front of your so the bamboo strips are parallel to you. Place a sheet of nori on top of it so the serrated lines are running vertically towards you, and the shiny side is down.
- Dip your fingers into a bowl of water, and scoop up a quarter of the prepared sushi rice. Spread it evenly over the nori, leaving some space exposed towards the top of the nori.
- If you’d like, sprinkle the rice with some of the sesame seeds.
- Place your mandolined avocado and asparagus in the center of the nori sheet. Dot with some of the wasabi if you’d like. Take care not to overfill, or your sushi roll may split.
- Pick up the part of the nori sheet closest to you, and fold over and away from you. Apply gentle but firm pressure to create a tight roll.
- Bring the sushi mat up and over the roll and use it to tighten the roll even more.
- Replace the mat back down, and continue rolling. Stop when you reach the part where the nori is exposed.
- Dip your index finger into your bowl of water and run it alongside the nori strip at the top. This will help seal the nori.
- Roll away from you and tighten it again to seal it.
- Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll in half, then those halves again to create 8 pieces.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Serve immediately with pickled ginger and soy sauce or tamari.
- For crispy tempura, you want to make sure your batter ingredients are ice cold and your fry oil is hot (350 to 375 degrees). Don’t overcrowd the pot or your tempura will get soggy!
- If you don’t want to fry the asparagus, no problem! Just blanch it instead. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until t’s bright green. Transfer to paper towels to absorb the liquid before adding to your sushi roll.
- To get a clean cut on the sushi, use a very sharp knife and run the blade under very hot water (and then give it a quick dry) before cutting.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Dinner
- Method: Battered, Deep Fried
- Cuisine: Japanese, American
Keywords: vegan sushi roll, vegan sushi, homemade vegan sushi, vegan sushi recipe, gluten-free sushi
Vegan Sushi FAQs
Assembling and rolling maki sushi is very easy. You’ll need a bamboo mat, a gallon-sized ziploc bag and a very sharp knife. Spread seasoned sushi rice over a toasted nori sheet, add your fillings, and roll it up!
Vegan sushi is a popular choice for vegans, because produce like sweet potato, asparagus, avocado, mushrooms and more can be used in the filling. The term “sushi” refers to the vinegared rice, not raw fish.
Making sushi vegan is easy! Just swap out raw fish with fresh produce (which can also be tempura-battered) or vegan protein like tempeh or tofu. Making it at home is fun and easy. Depending on what foods you choose for your health, you can control the ingredients!
The term “sushi” refers to the vinegared rice, not raw fish—so yes, vegans can eat sushi that’s made with produce or plant-based protein.
Of course! Lots of produce like sweet potato and mushrooms and vegan protein like tofu and tempeh can be used in place of raw fish. Some tempura batter contains egg, so just ask the kitchen what ingredients they use before ordering.
The sky is the limit! Produce like asparagus, sweet potato, eggplant, tofu and mushrooms can be tempura battered and fried. If you don’t want to fry, these ingredients can be blanched, roasted, baked or sautéed. Adding avocado, vegan mayo or vegan cream cheese adds a creamy element!