Sushi is not just for when eating out, it is easier to make from home than you think! Try these delicious panko baked avocado sushi rolls for a perfect initiation to the art of sushi making. The crispy avocado fries combined with the sweet tahini sauce is an irresistible combination!
Vegan sushi rolls made with brown rice should get much more attention. I used to think it was unacceptable to use brown rice when making vegan sushi rolls, but after getting used to it, I simply can't go back to white rice.
What I do is simply use a short grain brown rice like this one from Lundberg. Cook it accordingly to the packaging, then add the rice seasonings as described in the recipe. I find that brown rice does not get as sticky compared to a classic Japanese style white rice, but still works great when making.
How to make panko baked avocado sushi rolls
Do not be overwhelmed by the few steps in this recipe! It might not be ideal for a quick lunch, but will still come together easier than you think.
You will start by making brown rice sushi. It will be cooked within 30-40 minutes, which will give you enough time to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, you will have to add an easy to make sushi rice seasoning and everything should be ready for you to roll the sushi!
While the rice is cooking, make the vegan panko baked avocado fries. Creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside avocado fries. So delicious! Avocado slices are breaded and cooked in the oven. For the breading, you will dip the slices in flax egg, then in a panko mixture. The result is somehow similar to avocado tempura!
Flax eggs is made by mixing flax meal (ground flax seeds) with water. This is my go-to replacement for beaten eggs when breading.
Choose ripe enough avocados, but ones that are also still a bit firm for this recipe. If they are too ripe, they might break during the breading process. Also, remove the peel by hand instead of scooping the flesh out with a spoon. This will keep the avocado intact and easier to slice.
Tempura vegetables are more widely used when making sushi. It is typically made using a more classic batter (flour, iced water, lightening agents, eggs, spices, etc) then deep fried in oil. Wanting to keep this recipe oil free, using panko breadcrumbs is a healthier way to get that crunchy and light breading effect around the avocado.
While the avocado tempura bites are cooking, prepare the sweet tahini sauce and the sushi fillings (shredded carrot, julienned cucumber, sliced purple cabbage, etc).
Once you got everything ready, it's time to roll!
How to roll panko baked avocado sushi
There are a few easy basics to follow when making sushi rolls. I thought making sushi myself would be very challenging, which prevented me from making them for so long. What a loss!
Once you are ready, get your rolling mat and practice. The first few might not look that great, but will still taste perfectly delicious. Simply don't worry about making them look perfect and enjoy the learning process of acquiring a new kitchen skill. It is so satisfying!
Basic steps when rolling a sushi (see pictures below)
#1. Lay the nori sheet on top of the sushi mat (rough side facing upwards). Then, using a spatula, spread a thin layer of rice evenly on the nori sheet. Leave some space on the top edge free of rice (about 1-2 inch).
#2. On the bottom half, lay the filling ingredients. Leave enough space under the fillings so you can flip some of the rice on top of the ingredients while rolling.
#3. Then, using your fingers to keep the ingredients in place, start to roll the sushi using the mat underneath (you will have to lift the bottom edge of the mat). Keep rolling while pressing gently with the mat to keep everything tight and compact.
#4. When you reached the top, wet your fingers then wet the nori sheet area that is free of rice. Finish rolling the sushi making sure the wet nori sheet area sticks to the roll.
#5. Using the mat, you can adjust the shape of the roll (you can make a round or square shape). Then, slice the sushi rolls into about 7-8 slices (maki).
Pro tips when making sushi
Here are a few tips I wished I knew before trying to make my own sushi:
#1. You will need a sushi mat to roll. It's not expensive and will help when rolling.
#2. Don't forget to leave some space at the top of the nori sheet. For the sushi roll to stick, the two extremities of the nori sheet really need to touch each other without anything in between. This will seal the roll.
#3. Use a well sharpened knife when cutting the rolls into maki. If not, you will have to press too much on the roll to slice it and you might end up with squishy maki.
#4. Put the sushi mat in a large plastic bag. This will help keep the mat clean and the nori sheet or rice won't stick on it while rolling. I find that using a freezable plastic bag worked better than simply laying a saran wrap paper on the sushi mat.
#5. Rice inside or outside? I find it easier to keep the sushi rice on the inside. In this case, you will see the nori sheet all around the maki. Making it this way remove the pressure of making a perfectly sticky rice, which you need if you want the rice displayed on the outside of the roll.
Choice of fillings for these vegan sushi rolls
I love crunchy filling for these sushi rolls, especially since the inside of the avocado fries and rice are already quite soft and creamy. Carrot, cucumber and purple cabbage add that crispy texture that balances the maki.
Fresh herbs (cilantro, mint or basil) would add lots of taste, so don't hesitate to add some too. Try also adding green onion, crunchy lettuce or even sliced mango, yum!
Alternative to rolling a sushi
If you don't feel like making a sushi roll, then you could make a panko baked avocado sushi bowl.
To do this, simply put the brown rice in a bowl, then add the carrots, cabbage, cucumber and avocado tempura fries. Finally, drizzle the sauce on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. You could also break some nori sheet on top to get that extra umami boost in taste.
If you love the idea of an asian style fish free bowl, have a look at this Vegan portobello poke bowl.
I hope you will love these sushi rolls as much as I do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was.
Panko baked avocado sushi roll with a sweet tahini sauce
To make the sushi rice
- 1 ½ cup brown rice
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
- ½ tsp salt
To make the avocado tempura
- 1 avocado
- 2 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
To make the sushi roll
- cucumber - julienned
- carrot - shredded
- purple cabbage - thinly sliced
- nori sheet
To make the tahini sauce
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp liquid sweetener
- 1-2 tbsp water - more or less to thin the sauce as desired
To make the rice
- In a medium pot, combine the rice with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Keep cooking, covered, for about 30-40 minutes or until the water is all absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, liquid sweetener and salt.
- When the rice is cooked, transfer to a wide glass container to help cool it down. Then, add the rice vinegar mixture and fold in the rice with a spatula. Make sure not to overmix or break the grain. When all is well combined, set aside.
To make the avocado tempura
- Turn on the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium size shallow bowl, mix the flax meal with 6 tbsp of water. Set aside. The mixture will thicken with time and resemble beaten eggs.
- In a second medium size shallow bowl, mix the panko, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.
- Slice the avocado in half, then remove the peel with your hands (scooping the flesh out with a spoon could make it harder to have have solid slices for breading). Cut the avocado in about 1 inch width slices. One by one, dip the slices in the flax seed mixture. Then, transfer them in the panko mixture. Flip them around and gently press on the avocado to make sure it is completely covered with the panko. Transfer the pieces on the baking sheet. Keep going until you covered all the avocado slices.
- Cook in the oven for 8 minutes (I do not flip them).
To make the tahini sauce
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
To make the sushi
- Lay a nori sheet on a sushi mat (rough side up), then spread a thin layer of the brown rice all over the nori sheet (but leave about 1-2 inch free of rice on the top extremity). Then on the bottom area of the rice, line the avocado tempura fries, cucumber, purple cabbage and carrot.
- Using the mat to help you roll, flip the nori sheet with the rice on top of the lined ingredients and keep rolling. Hold the ingredients with your fingers while rolling. When you reach the top, wet the area free of rice on the nori sheet to help seel the roll. Shape and solidify the roll using the mat.
- Slice the roll in about 7-8 slices.
- Drizzle the tahini sauce on top of the sushi and serve with a side of soy sauce and pickled ginger, if desired. Enjoy!