This vegetarian sweet potato tempura sushi roll is the perfect recipe for a date night in! It’s easy, delicious, and can be made so many different ways. It’s the perfect gluten free meal prep recipe because it stores well and can be eaten on the go!
I remember the first time I had sushi. I was visiting my sister in college, probably 10 years ago (suddenly I feel old!!). Anyway, we went out to sushi and I let her order for me because I was a sushi newbie.
I can’t remember what she got me, maybe something with salmon, but the idea of raw fish had always freaked me out.
Anyway, I took one bite, gagged, spat it out, and didn’t touch sushi for another 5 years. Maybe my reaction was a tad dramatic, just maybe, but I really hated it!!
My next sushi experience was much more pleasant. I ordered a sweet potato tempura sushi with avocado that was SO good. This vegetarian sushi recipe is my take on that roll.
- Nori: Nori is the seaweed that is used for sushi. When rolling sushi, you want to place the nori shiny side down and put the rice/filling on the rougher looking side.
- Sushi rice: Sushi rice is different than regular rice. It’s stickier, making it easier to work with, and has a different texture. You can use regular short grain rice in this recipe if desired, but I do not recommend using long grain or basmati rice.
- Sweet potato: This is the star of this recipe. We’re going to coat it with flour and bake it to give it a bit of a crunch. Like tempura, but without deep frying it!
- Avocado: For lots of creaminess, flavor, and because I just love avocado, ok?!
- Cucumber: For some added crunch. Feel free to leave this out if you don’t like cucumber.
- Sea salt: Because salt makes everything better!
- Spicy tahini dressing: This dressing reminds me of a spicy mayo, but it’s made with just a few simple ingredients instead, including my favorite tahini!
How to make this recipe
Perfecting your sushi rolling skills make take some time, but I promise if you follow this guide you’ll get it down in no time!
Add the nori sheet to the bamboo mat, rough side up and shiny side down.
Add the cooled sushi rice to the nori, leaving about 2 inches at the top. Press the rice down flat with a wooden spoon or wet fingers. Try not to use too much rice, or the roll will be too thick.
Add your fillings (sweet potato, avocado, and cucumber in this case) to the bottom of the rice. Leave about an inch between the veggies and the end of the nori.
Lift the bottom of the bamboo mat up and over the sushi. Tuck the veggies in and keep rolling until you get to the the last inch of the nori.
Wet your fingertips and leave a few drips of water on the remaining inch of the nori sheet.
Roll the rest of the roll over the last in and seal it tightly. If it doesn’t stick, add more water.
Use a very sharp knife and cut into 6-8 pieces. A sharp knife is important because a dull knife can end up pushing some of the filling out of the roll. Cut slowly and saw back and forth if you need to in order to keep everything inside.
If you notice the knife is sticking to either the rice or the nori, it helps to wet the knife slightly to help it glide down.
This vegetarian sushi recipe is pretty easy once you get the hang of it! Don’t feel bad if your first couple of rolls turn out not so pretty, they will still be delicious!
What should I serve it with? I have included a recipe for a spicy tahini dressing for dipping/drizzling, but this is always delicious with some good old fashioned soy sauce!
Does it keep? This recipe will store well in the fridge for about 5 days. However, the sweet potato tempura will lose its crunch after just a few hours.
Can I add other vegetables? Feel free to add or omit any ingredients. I don’t love cucumbers so I don’t add much. Carrots, cabbage, or scallions would all be delicious!
Do I need a sushi mat? If you don’t have a sushi mat, you can still make this recipe! Just follow these instructions by Minimalist Baker that work like a charm!
Pro tip: If you have an instant pot, you can follow Sapana from Real and Vibrant post on how to make instant pot sushi rice. I’ve made this recipe several times and the rice always turns out so perfectly sticky.
To make this recipe vegan, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. Whisk in about ½-1 cup of non-dairy milk until a batter forms. Dunk each piece of sweet potato in the batter and place on the baking sheet. Bake per the regular instructions.
When it is done baking, you can add it to a saute pan with 1-2 tbsp of oil and let it pan fry on each side for 1 minute to help the coating stick and crisp up.
Try these next!
- Vegan Poke Bowl with Teriyaki Tofu
- Vegetarian Sushi Bowl with Sesame Tofu
- Vegan Orange Chickpeas
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Sushi Roll
- 1 ½ cups uncooked white sushi rice (rinsed well)
- 2 ¼ cups water (or follow instructions on rice cooker)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Optional: 1 tbsp white sugar
- Cook the sushi rice according to package instructions.
- When done cooking, stir in the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar if using.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash and peel the sweet potato and chop into roughly 2 inch long slices (about ½ inch thick).
- Whisk the egg in a medium bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the rice flour, salt, and garlic powder.
- In another bowl, add the breadcrumbs.
- Create an assembly line with the eggs, flour, breadcrumbs and a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Dip one sweet potato slice in the egg, then the flour, and then in the breadcrumbs. You can repeat this process a couple of times if you want the coating to be thicker. Place on the baking tray and repeat with all of the sweet potato wedges. Try to leave a bit of space between each sweet potato so they can really crisp up.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy on the outside. This next step is optional, but if you want to crisp up the outside more, add the cooked sweet potato wedges to a pan with hot oil, just enough to cover the bottom. Fry on each side for about 1 minute or until golden.
- To assemble the sushi, add a nori sheet to a sushi rolling mat. Add a layer of rice to the bottom ⅔ of the nori, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top (see image). Press the rice down firmly to ensure it sticks. It helps if your fingers are a bit wet.
- Add all your fillings to the bottom half of the rice. For this recipe we are using sweet potato, cucumber, and avocado.
- To roll, use the bamboo mat to gently fold the roll up and out. Keep rolling until you get to the last inch of the nori. Use some water to seal the ends together.
- Repeat until all rice has been used.
- To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Add water until it is your desired consistency. Drizzle on top of the sliced sushi an enjoy!