These shiitake mushroom rolls are so easy and delicious! Makes for a perfect vegan alternative to sushi night and they are loaded with an addictive umami-filled and garlicky shiitake filling. Also includes crunchy romaine, cucumber and avocado. 100% plant-based and healthy.
This recipe combines two of my favorite things to eat: vegan sushi + shiitake mushrooms!
I find the chewiness + the punch of umami flavor from the roasted shiitake mushrooms to be absolutely perfect when making fish-free sushi. You will be in awe with this recipe!
My husband and I love to make this meal when we feel like eating dinner after the kids are in bed, which makes for such a perfect in-house date night!
Making vegan sushi at home requires a little bit of practice, but once you braved the mini learning curve, then they are so simple, accessible and fun to make! Plus you can fill them with whatever you like and experiment with all the fun plant-based filling options, such as seen in these baked sweet potato sushi and crispy panko avocado sushi.
And making them yourself will make you save SO MUCH money, plus vegan sushi rolls are difficult to find here in Portland anyway. Also, when restaurants do have a vegan sushi option, it's usually super simple cucumber rolls or avocado rolls. Delicious, don't get me wrong, but we want more than that!
But don't worry, if you are new to making your own sushi, then let me show you how I make them. Be sure not to miss on the tutorial pictures and quick video. Seriously, it is easier than you think!
To make shiitake sushi rolls, you will first have to roast the shiitake mushrooms in a pan and then toss them in a savory, sweet, garlicky, full of umami and silky Asian-style simple gravy. It adds so much flavor to the mushrooms and gives more character to the sushi rolls, too. I pair this version with tons of green onions and garlic, plus since shiitake are chewy and soft, then I like rolling the sushi with crunchy fresh lettuce and cucumber for more layers of texture.
I hope you give this recipe a try! ❤️
What you'll need
- For the sushi rice:
- Short grain brown rice
- Rice vinegar
- Sweetener, I used maple syrup
Feel free to use classic white sushi rice. BUT, I never use white rice instead, I'll use short brown rice to make sushi. It is less sticky, but it works just the same to me and is just so much healthier and loaded with fiber (and plant-based protein too!).
- Nori sheets: you will need them to roll the sushi, plus they add a nice flavor from the ocean! Easy to find in any grocery store.
- For the savory shiitake mushrooms:
- Shiitake mushrooms: if you don't have shiitake, then you can use regular white mushrooms.
- Green onions: pair so well with the mushrooms and add a nice onion-y flavor.
- Garlic: amazing with the mushrooms, use fresh not powdered!
- Soy sauce + Rice vinegar + Sweetener: makes a thick sauce to flavor the mushrooms.
- Cornstarch: slightly thickens the sauce so it sticks to the mushrooms.
- Favorite sushi fixings:
There is so much room to add your favorite ingredients, I switch them up all the time! Here I used:
- Crunchy baby romaine leaves
Before we start, know that you don't need anything fancy to start making sushi at home, not even a mat! But here the simple tools you can use to help you:
- Rice cooking machine or instant pot: I am in love with my instant pot to cook any grain. It's the best! But, you can also simply cook the rice on the stove, of course!
- Sushi mat: will help you roll the sushi nicely and seal the edges too. They aren't expensive at all, they last forever and are easy to order online.
- Sharpened knife: to slice the sushi.
- Bowl of water: will be used to prevent your fingers from sticking to the rice when spreading it on the nori sheets and also to seal the edge of the rolls.
How to make them
Prepare the sushi rice
Start by cooking the rice. You can make it on the stove or rice cooker or instant pot.
If you want to make your sushi using traditional white sushi rice, then here is a guide on how to cook sushi rice.
But, I much prefer making sushi using short grain brown rice and it is always the way I make them. I cook 1 ½ cup of short brown rice using my instant pot, which give me just enough for 4 rolls.
1- Cook short grain brown sushi rice using the instant pot
Combine 1 ½ cups of short grain brown rice with 1 ¾ cups of water (yes, on high pressure, you won't need as much water compared to cooking the rice on the stove). Put the cover on with the sealing setting. Then, cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Once done, do a natural slow pressure release for about 15 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure manually (watch for splashing!).
2- Cook short grain brown rice using the stove
To make it on the stove, then combine 1 ½ cups of rice with 2 ¾-3 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Then, turn down the heat to low and keep cooking until the grain is tender, about 40 minutes. Once done, keep the pot covered and let it sit for about 10 minutes away from the heat.
3- Flavor the sushi rice
Once the rice is done, add the rice vinegar, sweetener and salt and stir to combine. Then, let the rice cool down before using.
Make the shiitake mushroom filling
Once the rice is all done, then I get started on the mushrooms. This way, the rice has some time to cool down.
Start by cleaning the mushrooms with a damp towel and remove most of the fibrous stems (discard them). Then, slice the mushrooms.
Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little sesame oil. Then, add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat stirring often. Once the mushrooms start to brown, then add the garlic and green onions (and a little more sesame oil or a splash of water if it looks too dry). Cook for about 2 more minutes stirring almost constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.
Meanwhile, combine together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sweetener and cornstarch in a small bowl.
When the mushrooms are done cooking, then pour the sauce over and stir immediately. It will bubble and thicken very fast, so remove the pan from the heat after about 30 seconds or so. Set aside.
Assemble and roll
Put your sushi mat on the counter and place a nori sheet over (shiny side down). Then, distribute a thin layer of the rice over the nori leaving about 1 inch free of rice on the top portion of the nori sheet. Use your hands to distribute the rice as evenly as you can and wet your fingers once in a while so they don't stick too much to the rice.
Place some lettuce at the bottom half, then some cucumber sticks and avocado slices over. Add some savory shiitake mushrooms over (about ¼ of the batch).
Grab the bottom of the mat with your thumbs and place your other fingers over the fillings to keep them in place, then roll tucking them inside the roll as tight as you can. Keep rolling until you reach the top portion, then use your finger to wet the rice-free top portion of the nori sheet. Then, roll all the way to seal the sushi roll.
Slice the rolls using a sharp knife, which should give you about 6-8 maki for each roll.
Watch how to make them
- This recipe should give you enough maki for 2 adults (about 12-14 maki each). We eat a lot 🤷♀️, so I often try to pair with something else such as edamame, a quick miso soup or seaweed salad that I get at our local grocery store. Or, I often make double batch of sushi rolls with a second filling for variety so we have more, then keep the leftovers for lunch the next day.
- You do not want to roll the sushi with warm rice, it won't work as well. So plan accordingly and let the rice cool down before spreading it over the nori sheet.
- Make sure to have a small bowl of water before starting to roll! Dip your fingers once in a while so the rice won't stick to them but also, you can wet your knife before slicing the rolls for a sharp cut.
- As I mentioned above, you will want to remove most of the shiitake stems. Although ok to eat, their stem is so fibrous and hard, really not pleasant to eat! You can use the stems when making vegetable stock to add more flavor.
Customize the shiitake mushroom sushi rolls
The savory shiitake mixture would pair very well with so many more filling ingredients, so feel free to use whatever you have and experiment! Here are a few more ideas:
- Carrots: julienned or shredded.
- Steamed asparagus.
- Shaved red cabbage.
- Cooked beets: I often add those already cooked beets that I get at the grocery store when making sushi. They add color and a delicious sweet flavor. Just slice them in thick sticks.
- Fresh fruits, such as mango or pineapple.
- Fresh herbs, especially cilantro or mint.
I love serving these simply with soy sauce (or try this hoisin peanut butter sauce!), pickled ginger and add a sprinkle of black sesame seeds over the maki. Add some wasabi as well if you love that flavor.
For a spicy twist, you can drizzle a spicy mayo over the maki at serving (see my sweet potato sushi post), so delicious. To make the spicy mayo, simply add some sriracha sauce to taste to some vegan mayo and stir. Then, taste and add more sriracha as needed.
More sushi dipping sauce ideas
- Thai peanut butter sauce
- Sweet and spicy orange sauce
- Spicy tahini sauce from this falafel buddha bowl recipe
- Sesame soy dressing
Shiitake mushroom sushi bowl
Don't feel like rolling a sushi, but craving sushi? Then, make a vegan sushi bowl!
Super easy to make: simply add some of the sushi rice to the bottom of a bowl with some chopped lettuce, top with the savory shiitake mushrooms, chopped cucumber and sliced avocado and drizzle a vegan spicy mayo over. You can also roughly crush a nori sheet over to get that flavor from the sea. Yum!
You can keep leftover maki in an air-tight container for about 24 hours, but they are best when enjoyed right away as the rice tends to dry out over time.
If you know you will end up with leftovers, then try not to slice all the rolls into maki. Wrap the intact rolls with saran wrap and keep in the fridge. They store better unsliced since the rice won't dry as much that way.
Or, keep all the fixings covered and apart in the fridge and make a sushi bowl with the leftovers. Perfect for lunch the next day!
Yes! First, you will have to rehydrate the shiitake in boiling water for about 20 minutes. Then drain well and keep going with the recipe.
To make this recipe completely GF, then swap the soy sauce for GF tamari sauce. And make sure to use a rice and unflavored nori sheet that's certified GF. That's all!
- Portobello mushroom poke bowl
- Vegan fish tacos
- Sweet potato sushi rolls
- Marinated tomato quinoa poke bowl
- Crispy avocado sushi
- Vegan rice paper tofu summer rolls
- Spicy garlic shiitake ramen
- Vegan sushi bake
I hope you like this vegan shiitake mushroom sushi roll recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Shiitake Mushroom Sushi Rolls
- Sushi mat
For the sushi rice
- 1 ½ cup regular sushi rice or short grain brown rice
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener - such as maple syrup or agave nectar
- ½ tsp salt
For the shiitake mushrooms
- 7 oz shiitake mushrooms - stems removed and sliced
- 1 tsp sesame oil - optional, to cook the mushrooms
- 1 clove of garlic - crushed
- 2 green onions
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener - such as maple syrup
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
To make the sushi rolls
- 4 seaweed sheets
- a few leaves of crunchy lettuce
- 1 cup cucumber - julienned (I used about ½ English cucumber)
- 1 avocado - sliced
Make the sushi rice
- Start by cooking the sushi rice. Here is a guide on how to cook traditional white sushi rice. I actually use short grain brown rice instead of white rice when making sushi for additional texture and a boost in nutrients. To cook brown rice on the STOVE, combine 1 ½ cups of brown rice with 2 ¾ - 3 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Then, turn the heat to low and keep cooking until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Then, let the rice rest for another 10 minutes covered and off the heat.To cook it using an INSTANT POT, combine 1 ½ cups of brown rice with 1 ¾ cups of water, cover and set the setting to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Then, let the pressure naturally release for about 15 minutes before doing a manual release.
- Once the rice is cooked, add the rice vinegar, sweetener, salt and stir to combine. Then let the rice cool down.
Make the shiitake mushroom filling
- While the rice is cooling down, make the mushrooms filling. Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little sesame oil and then add the mushrooms. Cook for about 3-5 minutes while stirring often or until the mushrooms start to soften and brown. Then, add the garlic and green onions and cook for 2 more minutes stirring often.
- In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sweetener and salt. Add the cornstarch and whisk well to break the lumps.
- When the mushrooms are done, then pour the soy sauce mixture in the pan and stir right away. The sauce will thicken very quickly, remove from the heat after about 30 seconds. Set aside.
Make the sushi rolls
- Prepare the veggies by slicing the avocado and cucumber.
- Lay the sushi mat on the counter and place a nori sheet over (rough side up). Then, cover the nori sheet with the sushi rice leaving about 1 - 1 ½ inch free of rice on top (for sealing). You can dip your fingers in water once in a while if the rice sticks to them too much.
- Place a few leaves of romaine lettuce over the rice on the bottom half portion, then top with some cucumber sticks and slices of avocado. Then, add some of the shiitake mushroom filling (about ¼ of the batch).
- Roll the sushi by lifting the mat using your thumbs while leaving your other fingers over the filling to keep them in place. Roll as tight as you can all over to the area without rice tucking the fillings inside. Then, rub some water on the rice-free area and finish rolling to seal the roll. Repeat 3 times, you should be able to make 4 rolls.
- Slice the sushi rolls in maki and serve with soy sauce, wasabi, spicy mayo (see notes) and pickled ginger.
- Try to eat any leftovers within 24 hours since the rice tend to dry out easily over time. Keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge. If you know you will have leftovers, then don't slice all the sushi rolls into maki, the rolls will keep better unsliced and wrapped in saran wrap.
- Be sure to let the rice cool down before using. You don't want to add hot rice over the nori sheet.
- Do not forget to remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms, they are very fibrous and tough.
- To make the spicy mayo, simply combine some vegan mayo with as much sriracha as you want.
- More filling ideas include: carrot sticks, fresh herbs (mint or cilantro), cooked beets, sprouts, steamed asparagus, fruits (mango or pineapple), etc.
- Instead of say sauce, here are some fun dipping sauce ideas: peanut butter sauce, sesame soy dressing, spicy tahini sauce, sweet and spicy orange sauce.