These sweet potato sushi rolls combine teriyaki-glazed sweet potato chunks with cool crunchy cucumber, green onion, and creamy avocado for an amazing sushi experience that’s also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free!
For the crowning (but optional touch), drizzle your sweet potato sushi with creamy sriracha mayonnaise and top with crunchy fried onion bits. Divine.
If you don’t have teriyaki sauce to hand you can easily make it with this quick teriyaki sauce recipe. If you don’t have the ingredients or just aren’t a fan of teriyaki sauce, you can use sweet chili sauce instead.
Serve it with more sushi (this tofu sushi for example), some steamed edamame pods crusted with salt, and some dumplings. Or for something a bit more substantial, add these sesame garlic ramen noodles to the table, or serve as a starter with a bowl of vegan miso ramen for the main course.
Of course, this recipe makes a substantial amount of sushi (I see no point in going to the effort of making sushi to just make a single serving), around six large maki-style sushi rolls or 36 pieces of sushi, so you can always enjoy it just by itself.
How to make it
This recipe for sweet potato sushi rolls is super easy to make. Just make the rice, roast the sweet potato, chop your other ingredients, and roll them all up together.
Make the sushi rice
To make the rice, rinse the uncooked grains in a sieve until the water runs clear. This will remove excess starch and stop your sushi rice turning into glue. Tap the sieve to remove the excess water, and add to a pot.
Add in the water and the salt and heat on high until at a lively simmer. Quickly cover the pot (image one below) with a lid and reduce the heat to the minimum.
Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Measure and add the vinegar and sugar to a microwave-safe bowl. Note that if you are vegetarian or vegan you should check to see that no bone-char was used making the white sugar you are using.
Heat the sugar-vinegar mixture for between one and a half minutes to two on high, and stir until the sugar dissolves (image two above). It may not all dissolve but as long as most of it does, that’s okay.
You’ll probably have some time left and can move on to preheating the oven and preparing the sweet potato. In any case, once the timer beeps, take the pot off the heat. Remove the lid and chuck in the vinegar/sugar mixture and stir well.
Cover the rice again and set a timer for five minutes. Once the timer goes off your sushi rice is ready but still too hot to use – don’t be tempted to use warm sushi rice as it will wilt the nori. Instead, either leave to cool in the pot overnight, or tip out of the pot onto a flat surface and spread out to cool faster.
I tend to use my oven trays which I line with baking paper, but you can use whatever surface you want as long as it’s big enough to spread out the rice in a reasonably thin layer.
Roast the sweet potato
Preheat the oven to 350F for ten minutes and peel your sweet potato (you can use a knife but I find it way faster with a speed peeler). Cut into rectangular strips about half an inch thick.
You’ll need about eight or nine in order to have enough to stuff six sushi rolls, as they won’t all be long enough and you’ll have to cut some of the leftover ones and add into the roll.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and space the sweet potato strips with at least an inch of distance between each strip. If they are too close together they will steam and become overly soft and mushy.
Measure out a quarter cup of teriyaki or sweet chili sauce. If you have issues with gluten make sure the teriyaki sauce is gluten-free or make your own.
Using a pastry brush or a small spoon (you can use the back of the spoon to then smooth the sauce over) apply some of the sauce to the tops and sides of the sweet potato strips. When raw, the potatoes won’t absorb much sauce but don’t worry about it.
Roast in the middle of the oven for ten minutes. Remove, and carefully rotate the strips (honestly, I just quickly flick them with my finger or a fork to the next side) and apply more sauce. The potatoes will absorb more sauce now that they are softening, so do apply liberally.
Place back in the oven for another ten minutes, then remove and repeat the process of adding sauce, and send back to the oven for a final ten minutes. Now would be a good time to prepare the other toppings. If you have any leftover teriyaki or sweet chili sauce you can just mix it into some soy sauce to dip the sushi in.
Take the roasted sweet potato out of the oven (it should have been in 30 minutes total), take off the tray (I normally just pick up the baking paper and use that to move the sweet potato strips) and leave to cool.
Prepare filling ingredients
I add cucumber, avocado, and green onion to my sweet potato sushi rolls but you can substitute if you don’t have all the ingredients or aren’t partial to some of them.
For example, if you don’t have green onions the green parts of scallions or spring onions will do, or finely sliced yellow onions. If you don’t like cucumber leave it out or sub in thinly sliced green pepper. You get the idea.
While the sushi rice and the sweet potato strips are cooling, prepare the other filling ingredients. Peel the cucumber, cut in half, and deseed using a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the remaining flesh into thin long matchsticks, no thicker than a centimeter (I normally cut them to about half a centimeter in width).
Halve the avocado, remove the stone, peel and slice into thicker chunksof around one-two centimeters in width.
Grab the green parts of the spring onions and slice thinly lengthwise.
Assemble your sushi
When the rice has cooled to room temperature, begin to make the sushi rolls. Grab a sheet of nori and on a bamboo mat, shiny side down. If you don’t have a bamboo mat you can use a non-rigid tablemat or a sheet of baking paper.
Fill a small bowl or cup with water and place within easy reach. Dollop about five or six tablespoons on the nori at intervals.
Dampen your hands with water as needed, to stop the sushi rice from sticking to them, and use your hands to smooth out the rice into a thin layer that should completely cover the nori apart from a gap you should leave on the side furthest from you of about two centimeters.
On the side of the nori closest to you, line up your ingredients horizontally about an inch from the edge. You should be placing a strip of sweet potato, a line of avocado, a thin strip of cucumber, and some thin strips of green onion.
Make sure the lines of ingredients stretch the whole way across the width of the nori, if they come up short just cut a piece off another strip and add it in.
Using your finger or a pastry brush, lightly dampen the exposed edge of the nori (on the side furthest away from you). Quickly grab the edge of the mat closest to you and start to roll up your sushi.
I normally stop for a second and make sure to tuck any ingredients that have escaped back in after completing the first turn and then continue to roll smoothly with a bit of pressure until it’s all rolled up. The video on this page shows exactly how I do it if you’re still unsure and need a bit more clarification.
I then move the completed sweet potato sushi roll to a chopping board, seam side down so that the nori has a chance to stick together better and less chance of opening when you cut it.
When all six sushi rolls have been made, then take a sharp knife, dip it in the water, and cut the rolls into individual pieces of sushi. They don’t all have to be exactly the same size but try and make them as similar as possible. Each sweet potato sushi roll will yield between six to eight maki pieces.
If the knife starts to stick or drag on the nori, dip it in the water again. You can serve the sushi as is, with soy sauce (gluten-free soy sauce if needed) for dipping, or do what I do and drizzle Sriracha mayonnaise (Flying Goose Sriracha mayonnaise is egg-free and vegan) over the top and sprinkle store-bought crispy fried onions (I use the ones from Ikea).
This sushi can be safely stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to five days. While sushi is at its best freshly made, as after a day in the fridge the nori tends to a bit limp and the rice a little harder, it’s still delicious days later.
It’s particularly good to take to work or school as it’s so portable doesn’t need to be heated up, and doesn’t require utensils.
If you’re going to be topping your sushi with Sriracha mayonnaise and fried onions, do so just before serving as the mayo will make the nori quite limp if left on it too long and crispy fried onions won’t be as crisp.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.
Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!
- 1½ cups uncooked sushi rice
- 1¾ cups water
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp plus 1½ teaspoons white sugar
- 1 small sweet potato or half a large one
- ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
- 1 large avocado
- 1 small cucumber
- 2 green onions (green parts only)
- 6 sheets nori
- 6 tbsp Sriracha mayonnaise (optional)
- 6 tbsp French fried onions (optional)
- Soy sauce
- Make the sushi rice by rinsing the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear, then add to a saucepan with the salt and water. Bring to just before boiling (a lively simmer), then cover and reduce heat to the minimum and set a timer for fifteen minutes. Prepare sweet potato in step two while waiting. After fifteen minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. Remove the lid, quickly stir in the sugar-vinegar mix, mix well, and cover again. Leave aside five minutes then uncover and spread on sheets of baking paper to cool quickly, or leave in the pot to cool overnight if not in a hurry.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel the sweet potato and slice into 1/2 inch wide long rectangular strips. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and use a pastry brush or a small spoon to coat with some of the teriyaki sauce. Roast ten minutes, then turn the strips and add more sauce, then repeat twice more for a total of thirty minutes. Remove from the oven and move strips to a plate or cooling rack to cool faster.
- Peel, deseed, and thinly slice the cucumber into long strips. Halve, stone, and peel the avocado, and slice into slightly chunkier strips. Cut the green onion parts lengthwise to form thin strips.
- When the rice has cooled, place a nori sheet on a bamboo mat. Spoon five-six tablespoons of rice over. Dampen fingers with water and spread the rice out so that all of the nori is covered except for a thin 1.5-centimeter strip on the side furthest from you.
- About one inch in from the side of the nori closed to you, horizontally place a strip of sweet potato, then cucumber, avocado and green onion.
- Dampen the end of the nori without rice on it. Grasp the mat and roll the sushi tightly to the end. Leave to dry slightly on the sealed side on a chopping board while you prepare the other sushi rolls.
- Dip a sharp knife into some water and cut each roll into six-eight pieces. Serve as is with soy sauce for dipping, or drizzle with Sriracha mayonnaise and sprinkle with fried onions.
If you don't have teriyaki sauce, don't want to make it, or don't like it, sweet chili sauce is a good substitute.
You can easily sub in or out different vegetables that you'd prefer to pair with the roasted sweet potato.
If you are intolerant to gluten, double-check that the teriyaki sauce (if shop-bought) and soy sauce are gluten-free as soy sauce often contains wheat.
Amount Per Serving Calories 248Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 5mgSodium 1140mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 4g