I always seem to forget how tasty and easy it is to make your own sushi. I just came back from a lovely long week in Warsaw where I had the best vegan sushi ever. I enjoyed an amazing lunch on the terrace of Youmiko Vegan Sushi in a street in Warsaw that is a bit less chaotic than the city center. What they basically do is take traditional sushi recipes and mix and match it with ingredients from other cuisines such as the Polish one. It’s all vegan and truly delicious. We ordered a menu where different type of sushi kept being served at our table. Not knowing what would be served on our next plate and being surprised by the creativity of the (three) chefs was a culinary feast for me.
Crunchy Sushi with Soft Roasted Sweet Potato
Once back home I wanted to play around with this idea myself. I made some sushi with roasted asparagus, cucumber and scallions and some other combinations. One with tomatoes was also amazing, but this roasted sweet potato sushi with flax seeds was worth sharing with you. The use of (any type of) nuts/seeds in sushi is something I have never seen or tasted before, but oh my… it’s good! A bit of unexpected crunchiness is always a good idea. Feel free however to use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of flax seeds.
”But I can’t roll sushi…”
I hear you think, but that’s the point: don’t overthink the sushi rolling. I don’t own a sushi bamboo mat, but after browsing some videos on YouTube I discovered you don’t have to. Some people seem to use a wet towel, but since that option didn’t sound appealing to me I tried to use a lined paper baking sheet instead, and it worked. Just be careful not to tear the paper. They don’t have to be a master piece (see my pictures…), they just need to be firm so they don’t fall apart. So be gentle, don’t overthink it, watch a YouTube video on how to do it and just go for it.
- For the Roasted Sweet Potato:
- 1 tbsp. tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp. date syrup
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 tbsp. flax seeds to sprinkle
- For the Rice:
- 1 cup / 100 grams brown rice (feel free to use white/sushi rice instead)
- 2 cups / 200 ml water
- optional: 1½ tbsp. rice vinegar
- For Rolling and Serving:
- 3 nori sheets
- ¾ cucumber, cut lengthwise, into strips
- ½ tsp. sesame seeds
- optional: wasabi
- optional: pickled ginger
- optional: 2 scallions
- soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Stir tamari or coconut aminos and date syrup together in a small bowl.
- Peel sweet potato and cut, lengthwise, into strips (just under ½ inch thick). Cut the sweet potato as if you were making sweet potato fries. Rub the sweet potato stripes with the mixture and sprinkle the flax seeds on top. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake about 25 minutes, until tender and light brown, gently turning halfway through.
- Meanwhile, place the brown rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold, running water for 1-2 minutes.
- Place brown rice into a small saucepan with water and vinegar (if you use rice vinegar). Place over high heat. Stir a few times and bring to a simmer. Lower heat, cover and allow to continue simmering for about 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before uncovering.
- Place a lined paper baking sheet onto your work surface and wet your fingers under some running water. Place one of your sheets on the baking sheet. Using wet hands, cover nori with a thin layer of brown rice. Arrange a third of your sweet potato strips in a single line along the width of the nori sheet, about one inch away from you. Arrange a few cucumber pieces right alongside the sweet potato strips.
- Take the baking sheet and end of the nori sheet closest to you and tightly roll it over your fillings. Tuck the end of the nori in and continue rolling, using the baking sheet to press your roll tight, be careful not to tear the baking sheet. Once completely rolled, slice into about eight pieces with a really sharp knife.
- Repeat using your remaining nori sheets and fillings.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with tamari/ coconut aminos. Use optional fillings such as scallions and serve with pickled ginger or wasabi if you wish.