When it comes to sushi, I’m not the most adventurous eater. I think it comes down to the fact that I’m simply not a fan of the texture of raw fish. (Recent news of the risk of parasites in raw sushi doesn’t help matters, either.)
That’s why I love this simple “vegan fish” that my friend, Doris Choi, introduced me to years ago. Her secret? Roasted bell peppers.
No, they’re not fish at all, but they have a slimy texture, similar to raw fish, and make a remarkably tasty vegan sushi roll. Almost like “spicy tuna” when you add a touch of sriracha sauce, too.
Of course, I find the sushi-rolling process to be a bit of a hassle, too. I typically only make sushi rolls when I have company over and I want to impress my guests with a special appetizer. These deconstructed “sushi bowls” are much more appropriate for everyday feasting.
The “rice” in this bowl is made of jicama that has been briefly pulsed in a food processor. I love using jicama because it’s naturally sweet and delicious raw, but you could also use some gently cooked cauliflower rice as the base of these bowls, if you would prefer. Or even just real rice!
Many stores like Trader Joe’s now sell pre-sliced jicama sticks as a convenient snack, making this dish especially easy to prepare. When you serve it with a few sheets of toasted nori on the side (a snack that’s easily available at both Costco and Whole Foods), you’ll have all the flavors of sushi that you love in a quick and easy bowl.
The preparation of these bowls takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time, and if you prepare everything in bulk you’ll be set with several make-ahead meals in the future. You could essentially have a make-your-own-sushi-bowl bar in your fridge ready for the week.
While I usually dip my sushi in a simple combination of tamari and fresh ginger, I thought a soy-ginger dressing would be more appropriate for dressing up these bowls. It’s quick and delicious, and you can serve any leftover dressing over a salad in the future, too. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
- 1/2 pound jicama , peeled and cubed
- 2 red bell peppers , roasted and sliced
- 1 cup carrots , shredded
- 1 cup cucumbers , diced
- 1 avocado , sliced
- 3 green onions , diced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 4 sheets toasted nori
If you haven't roasted your bell peppers yet, simply set your oven to BROIL and cut the 4 sides off of the pepper, discarding the white center and seeds. Arrange the pepper pieces skin-side up in a single layer on a large baking sheet, then place the sheet about 6 inches away from the heat source. Broil until the skins are blackened, about 10 minutes, then remove the pan and place the broiled peppers in a glass dish with an airtight lid. Let the peppers steam in that dish for 20 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle, then gently peel away the black skins. (They should slip off very easily.) Slice the roasted peppers into strip for your sushi bowls.
To prepare the dressing, combine the olive oil, tamari, ginger, garlic, vinegar, maple syrup, and sesame oil, in a blender. Blend until completely smooth and adjust any seasoning to taste. (Keep in mind that it will be salty, but will be diluted over all those veggies.)
To prepare the jicama rice, place the peeled cubes in a food processor bowl fitted with an "S" blade and briefly pulse until a rice-like texture is created.
To assemble the sushi bowls, start with a serving of the jicama rice, then add in the sliced bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, green onions, sliced avocado, and sesame seeds. Drizzle on the dressing, to taste, and serve immediately.
I recommend storing any leftover ingredients separately in airtight containers in the fridge for best shelf life. These items should last up to a week in the fridge if you don't finish them faster than that.
- If you can’t tolerate soy, you might try using Coconut Aminos as an alternative to the tamari sauce.
- If you don’t need to be gluten-free, you can use soy sauce instead of the tamari, too.
- As always, if you make a substitution please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried so that we can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: Do you love sushi? Or has recent news left you feeling a bit uneasy about the real thing? Either way, I hope you’ll give this vegan version a try!