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Making Sushi Rice Bowls

Making Sushi Rice Bowls

I love sushi, but let’s face it.  It’s not an easy technique to conquer and the amount of time involved is more than I can handle.  So how can you combine the flavors without all the hassle of rolling it?  What about making it into a bowl?  It’s super easy, just cook the rice, prep the ingredients and then layer it In a bowl.  And don’t forget about a super yummy tasting sauce to drizzle over the top!!

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But not only do these babies taste great.  These sushi rice bowls are pretty easy to assemble as well.  I thought the rice might be kind of difficult to cook, but following the directions I’ve outlined below, gives me perfect sushi rice EVERY time I make these bowls.  Plus, if you have leftover, pack up the extra servings and take them with you to work during the week. You can even change up the vegetables or use a different sauce for a little variation day to day.

If you like Asian flavors that are easy to take on the go, check out this post for Asian Salad Bowls — another great recipe that’s easy to make and take on the go!!!

Showing bowl of sushi rice topped with crumbled nori.

Sushi Rice

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When buying rice for your sushi rice bowl, look for rice labeled as sushi rice or Calrose rice.  You may find it in your local store or it may require a visit to you local Asian market or order online.  This version of rice is stickier than other rice varieties which is what gives this bowl it’s authentic texture and feel.  Sure you can substitute brown rice or another variety of rice in the recipe but just keep in mind that you won’t have the sticky factor.

Lundberg Califlornia Sushi -- available for purchase on Amazon.
Sushi rice is available on Amazon

There are some special techniques for handling sushi rice which to be honest I wasn’t aware of before tackling this recipe.

  • It’s important to wash the rice before cooking it to remove the excess starch on the rice.
  • The sushi rice is fragile when it’s cooked, so you want to use a wooden spoon or paddle and fold rather than stir so you don’t mash the rice.
  • Traditionally a wooden bowl is used to mix the sushi rice with the other ingredients, in the absence of this bowl, use a glass bowl rather than a metal bowl as the metal may react with the vinegar.
  • The vinegar and other seasonings are added to the rice while it is still hot.  Then the rice is cooled at room temperature and often a fan is used to help the rice cool down more quickly.

I was advised that sushi rice shouldn’t be refrigerated and reused because the flavor and texture are destroyed.   But, in my personal opinion, the rice tasted just as good the second day as it did the first.  For sure it was a little stickier than the previous day but the flavor and texture of the rice when eaten was just fine. To me this is great news because you can easily pack this dish up and take it on the go.

Overhead showing sushi rice bowl with healthy veggies on top.

Sushi Rice Bowl Toppings

The sky is the limit here seriously!!!  I chose ingredients that I think are more frequently used in Japanese food and more specifically sushi, but really you can use any of your favorite vegetables!!  The trick is to make sure they are in small or thin pieces – just like the would be in sushi.

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You can get creative with veggies such as cucumber, carrots and squash and either use a spiralizer to make “noodles” or use a peeler to make “ribbons”.  I decided to do a variety of dices (cucumber), short juliennes (radishes) and ribbons (carrots).

Plus, think about texture too when choosing your toppings.  You want some items that have “crunch” to them. Like carrots, bell pepper, sesame seeds and toasted panko.  Choose something with protein.  I use edamame in mine, but you could use seasoned tofu, sliced tuna or salmon, or even shrimp.  The possibilities are truly endless.

Sushi Rice Bowl Flavors

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After cooking the rice, you add rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice.  These ingredients contribute a large part of the flavor in this recipe so don’t skip it!!  Add the vinegar mixture to the rice while it is still hot because the rice absorbs the flavors better.

The second contributor to the flavor in this sushi rice bowl is the dressing.  I use a homemade wasabi lime flavored mayonnaise to stay consistent with traditional sushi flavors.  But of course there are other options for the sauce if you don’t like that one.  Sriracha mayonnaise would be another great flavor to use as a dressing.  Simply mix in a few drops of Sriracha into the mayonnaise in place of the wasabi.  And, if you want to keep it super simple and spend less time, use a purchased mayo — vegan or not depending on your preference and just mix in the wasabi.

If you want to skip the mayonnaise, consider using soy sauce, a great traditional flavor enhancer used with sushi. You can even mix in a bit of wasabi with it and drizzle that over your sushi bowl as a dressing.   It’s a great no added fat and low calorie flavor enhancer.

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These are affiliate links to products on Amazon. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite products available to purchase that will make preparing this dish more authentic and easier.

Black rice bowl set available on Amazon.
This black rice bowl set is perfect for serving up these sushi rice bowls!

Wooden sushi paddle available on Amazon.
A wooden spoon or paddle is essential to keep from damaging the rice when mixing in the vinegar mixture.

This wooden bowl is perfect to mix up the sushi rice. Plus if you are serving the sushi rice bowl this would make a spectacular serving piece for it.

Cooking up vegan sushi rice bowls

Overhead of sushi bowl on white background with blue and yellow fabric. Additional condiments, sauces and veggies.

Vegetable Sushi Rice Bowls

This delicious sushi rice bowl combines the perfect sushi flavored rice combined with delicious protein packed veggies without all the work of making sushi rolls. Serve it up with Vegan Wasabi Mayo and crunchy toppings
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, On the Go
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: edamame, lunch on the go, rice, sushi bowl, Vegan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Steaming and cooling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 29
Author: Lyn Croyle


Sushi Rice

  • 1 1/3 cups sushi rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 1/2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt

Salad toppings

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 8-10 radish
  • 1-2 nori sheets
  • 1 small bunch scallions
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cups edamame beans shelled
  • Garnishes: sesame seeds, pickled ginger, toasted panko

Wasabi Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup Soy milk
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • 2 each Juice of lime
  • 1-3 tsp* Wasabi


Sushi Rice

  • Wash the rice with running water for a couple minutes. It is ready when there is the water is clear and there is no more starch coming out of the rice.
  • Place the rice in the pot and add the correct amount of water.
  • Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, lower the heat and cover with a lid.
  • Check after 6-8 minutes. If all water is absorbed and grains are larger, the rice is ready. If not continue cooking but check frequently to ensure you don’t burn the rice. When the water is absorbed, turn off the heat and allow the rice to steam in the pot for an additional 15 minutes.
  • While the rice is steaming, place vinegar, salt and sugar in a pot and heat until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Use a wooden spoon to remove the rice from the pot. Do not scrape any rice stuck to the bottom of the pan, only what easily comes out.
  • Pour mixture over rice while it is still hot and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  • Allow the rice to cool down at room temperature.

Prepping toppings

  • Cook shelled edamame using instructions on package. When ready, remove and set aside.
  • Cut cucumber in small dice pieces. Begin by slicing the cucumber into strips lengthwise about 1/8” thick. Then cut those pieces into strips and then dice.
  • Wash and peel whole carrots. Use the peeler to create carrot ribbons.
  • To cut the radish, slice in half and place the flat surface on the cutting board. Make thin slices and then julienne the slices.
  • Wash scallions or Chinese onions and cut the green parts on a bias.
  • Crush the nori sheets with your fingers breaking it up into small pieces.
  • Peel the avocado and remove seed. Slice into thin slices.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

  • Place the all the soy milk, mustard and lime juice into a blender. Turn on blender to mix. While the blender is on, slowly add the oil to the blender. Mayonnaise will form.
  • Transfer mayonnaise from blender to a small bowl and mix in the wasabi.

To form the bowls

  • Place rice in bowl.
  • Sprinkle with crushed nori.
  • Arrange the remaining vegetable over the top of the rice.
  • Drizzle with dressing or soy sauce
  • Garnish with black sesame seeds, toasted panko and pickled ginger as desired.


*The strength and heat of wasabi varies greatly between brands and sources.  So I suggest you start with 1/2 tsp and then add more until it has the heat and flavor you desire.
**Each sushi rice bowl gets a heaping 1/2 cup of rice, 1/3 cup of edamame, 1 1/2 T dressing.  Split up the veggies evenly between six bowls.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 1468mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6350IU | Vitamin C: 23.9mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 1.6mg

If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment below and be sure to rate the recipe as well!!!  Take photos and tag me on instagram @cookeatlivelove so I can see your results!!

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