We really love vegan sushi in our house. It’s great for kids, really easy for babies and toddlers to pick up and eat, and is the perfect size for them. It would also work really well as a lunch box snack. You can add healthy veggies like avocado, cucumber and spinach and it’s very good for getting them to eat veg, especially raw veg without even noticing. My almost-3 year old loves carbs so will eat anything with lots of rice and my 7 month old already loves vegan sushi.
My new favourite filling for sushi is roasted swede or turnip with roasted kale. I’ve had pickled turnip in sushi in restaurants, but I wanted to recreate the taste with fresh roasted swede. I also added kale because I always like to add more greens to meals and it goes great with swede. The sushi rice, nori sheets and other Japanese ingredients can be bought cheaply if you have an Asian shop nearby, and swede and kale are usually cheap and widely available here in Ireland, so it can be a very filling but inexpensive meal.
It’s also quite quick to make once you have the rice cooked and the filling prepared. It’s pretty easy to roll once you get the hang of it. There are videos and tutorials online showing how to do this. It can be tricky the first time and turn out a bit messy, but will still be delicious. It gets easier quickly so don’t be put off if it doesn’t work out the first time. I like nori rolls and also made a few inside-out rolls this time just for fun, but there are other kinds of sushi to try making too.
I make it with a little bit of agave syrup instead of sugar, but you can leave it out if you want to reduce the sweetness. You can serve it with soy sauce or this tamari, sesame and chilli dip for adults and on its own for kids to lower the salt level.
500g sushi rice
1 swede or small turnip
100g curly kale
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave syrup
Toasted nori sushi sheets
Tamari or other soy sauce (use tamari if required to be gluten-free)
Toasted sesame oil
Dried chilli flakes
How it’s made:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Put the sushi rice and 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
While the rice is cooking, peel the swede and chop into batons. Put on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss to coat it in the oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
Tear the kale into pieces and discard the tough stalks. Put on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes while the swede is cooking.
When the rice has cooled, mix in the rice vinegar and agave syrup.
Lay a nori sheet on a chopping board, shiny side down. Spread a few tablespoons of the rice onto it, and use the back of a spoon to flatten it out. Leave about 1-2 cm at the top of the nori sheet with no rice.
About 1/3rd of the way from the bottom of the nori sheet, arrange a line of kale across the nori sheet. On top of this place 2-3 batons of swede in a line.
Roll the nori sheet using your hands or a sushi mat.
Slice the sushi roll into 8 pieces. And repeat until all of the rice is used up. This should make about 4 rolls. I find it easiest to use a very sharp knife, and to dip it into a glass of water after every slice.
To make the tamari, sesame and chilli dip, pour 100ml tamari or soy sauce into a bowl, stir in about 1/2 a teaspoon toasted sesame oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
Serve the sushi with the dip, some pickled ginger and wasabi paste if you want. My kids don’t really like wasabi yet, so I don’t give it to them.