Veggie Brown Rice Sushi

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Cutting board filled with rolls of our Vegan Brown Rice Sushi recipe

About once a week, I crave sushi. As in:  give it to me I gotta have it.

Thankfully, we have an amazing sushi shop within walking distance from our place, but every once in a while, I get the itch to make it myself.

Sure, it takes more time. But it’s very affordable to make at home. Plus, you can customize your fillings and create your dream veggie roll. Let me show you how.

Sliced carrots, bell pepper, carrots, sprouts, ginger, and brown rice for making vegan sushi

Origins of Sushi

Sushi is a common dish in Japan and in Japanese restaurants around the world. But it’s thought that it may actually date back to the 2nd century BC where it originated from a Chinese dish called narezushi. It’s believed to have then spread to Japan in the 8th century. And by the 18th century, sushi restaurants were wildly popular in Japan.

The following is our inspired, veggie-packed version made with brown rice instead of white rice.

How to Make Brown Rice Sushi

If you don’t have a sushi mat, I’ve got you covered. Check out our How to Make Sushi Without a Mat tutorial.

But because they’re so affordable and make the process more streamlined, I picked up a mat for this version.

It may look complicated, but sushi is truly easy to make. I compare it to rolling spring rolls. Sure, your first few are a little imperfect. But once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy and you feel incredibly accomplished making your own restaurant-worthy food at home.

All in all, this sushi requires just 10 simple ingredients (more or less depending on your fillings of choice) and comes together in less than 1 hour.

Spreading rice onto a sheet of nori for making homemade vegan sushi

It starts with wholesome brown rice that’s mixed with a vinegar mixture to sweeten it slightly and make it sticky so it’s easier to work with.

I tested it without the vinegar mixture, and trust me, it did not go well. You need the rice to be sticky so it forms a roll.

Bamboo mat with Vegan Brown Rice Sushi ready to be rolled up

For fillings I went with roasted red pepper, cucumber, sprouts, and carrots.

I also love veggie rolls with avocado, asparagus, radish, and pickled veggies. Dream big, friends. The options are endless.

Perfectly rolled plant-based sushi on a bamboo mat

I hope you all love this recipe! It’s:

& So delicious

Make this for weeknight meals when you want something hearty and other than a salad (although no shame in a salad).

If you give it a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Rolls of homemade plant-based sushi on a cutting board

Veggie Brown Rice Sushi

Easy, 10-ingredient sushi with sticky brown rice and vegetables. Hearty, healthy, and delicious. Methods provided for with and without a sushi mat!
Author Minimalist Baker
Cutting board filled with homemade Brown Rice Sushi
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Course Entrée
Cuisine Chinese-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Japanese-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2 Days



  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • 4 sheets nori (dried seaweed)
  • 1 roasted or fresh red bell pepper* (sliced)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup sprouts (Alfalfa is best)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi
  • Sesame seeds


  • In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil then add rice, swirl to coat, and lower heat to low and cover. Simmer until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender – about 18-25 minutes. Drain off any excess water if there is any.
  • In the meantime, add vinegar, sugar and salt to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring occasionally until sugar and salt are dissolved. Place in a jar or dish and cool in the fridge until rice is ready.
  • Once the rice is done, kill the heat and add the cooled vinegar mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or fork as to not overmix. It will appear wet but will dry up as you lightly stir to release heat. It should be sticky and completely dry once it’s ready.
  • While the rice finishes cooking, prep your veggies by chopping them into thin pieces. If they’re too bulky they won’t allow the sushi to roll well.
  • Now it’s time to roll: Grab your sushi mat and top with a sheet of nori. Using your hands dipped in water (to avoid sticking), pat a very thin layer of rice all over the nori, making sure it’s not too thick or your roll will be all rice and no filling (see photo).
  • Then, arrange a generous serving of your veggies or preferred filling in a line at the bottom 3/4 of the rice closest to you (see photo).
  • Start to roll the nori and rice over with your fingers, and once the veggies are covered, roll the mat over to mold and compress the roll. Continue until it’s all the way rolled up. I find slicing with a very sharp serrated knife yields the best results. Repeat until all rice and fillings are used up – about 4 total rolls (amount as original recipe is written // will vary if altering batch size).
  • Serve immediately with pickled ginger, tamari or soy sauce, and wasabi. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days.


*You can buy roasted red peppers at the store to save time. Otherwise, here’s a tutorial to make them at home!
*If you don’t have a sushi mat (I got mine super cheap here), you can check out this tutorial!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 241 Carbohydrates: 53 g Protein: 10.1 g Fat: 2.3 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 402 mg Potassium: 210 mg Fiber: 11 g Sugar: 9.3 g Vitamin A: 7300 IU Vitamin C: 81.7 mg Calcium: 80 mg Iron: 3.8 mg
Using chopsticks to pick up a roll of our Vegan Brown Rice Sushi

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  1. Lee says

    dear MB,
    I write to say thank you. I didn’t think I could do it!! Now I love this recipe and make it regularly … I started without any changes (the first I made work) and then made some dietary variations, to cut carbs I now do half and half brown or basmanti (add extra water) rice and riced cauliflower, I use apple cider vinegar with unrefined sugar and kosher salt now and dab tamari on the nori sheet closing edge for “glue” … and who knew having a clean, wet, sharp knife would make such a difference. And using parchment paper as a rice guide makes perfect squares possible that can be refrigerated or frozen. It’s a regular treat I can savour. This recipe and (navy) bean brownies are now household staples!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we LOVE hearing this, Lee! Thank you so much for the lovely review and for adding your helpful tips! xo

      • Lee says

        Thanks! One tip I forgot … I saw where sushi chefs cover their bamboo rollers with plastic wrap to keep it clean I assume … that’s not for me but now I use a medium size no name ziplock bag and replace as needed. Love your site, great ideas and inspiration!!!!!

  2. louise says

    So this was a hit with my husband and brother! and I didn’t see that coming. I loved the taste too. I did find it harder to roll and stay together compared to sushi rice however i just made the pieces thicker :D

  3. Kevin says

    I made brown sticky rice by cooking 1 cup rice to 2 cups water in an Instant Pot pressure cooker. When I used short grain rice, I cooked it on high pressure for 24 minutes. Then later I cooked brown basmati rice for 15 minutes at 1:2 rice to water ratio. I want to cook it longer next time to make it stickier.

    But it still made good sushi after adding some rice vinegar and and a dash of Bragg Aminos. The short grain rice which I cooked longer was sticky enough for sushi rolls even before adding rice vinegar, but it tasted better after adding that. I skipped the sugar, and it didn’t seem to be missing anything to me.

    My main veg was avocado the last 2 times I made this. I will be trying sprouts as soon as I can get some grown here in my kitchen.

    The local Asian markets had bamboo sushi mats for 2.49 or 2.99 (March 2022). (I like the bamboo ones which are flat on one side.) Thanks for a great recipe.

    So my bottom line to making brown sticky rice is use a 1:2 rice to water ratio, and cook it for a little extra time. I have been making brown sticky rice for many years, and it can work with any type of brown rice if you get the time right. I like the short grain best, but I want to try some medium grain brown rice ASAP since it’s often more affordable and easier to find.

    • Kevin says

      When I said I liked the short grain brown rice best, I meant I like that for the texture when making sushi. But sometimes I prefer the flavor of the brown basmati rice. That’s why I don’t always use the same one, and want to try medium grain brown rice. I just like variety sometimes, I guess.

  4. Stacey says

    Thank you! I wasn’t sure I could pull this off as I’ve never made sushi before nor have I eaten a ton of it, but this was easy and amazing. I used leftover brown rice and reheated it then add the vinegar mixture. Yumm.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ensure it’s fully cooked so it gets tacky. You can also try mashing it a bit after cooking so it develops the starches a bit.


    I think I will make it again, but will soak the short brown rice overnight to make it softer in texture. Also I didn’t have (glutenous) sticky black rice on hand, but that will work too.
    Thank you.

      • Mommy And son says

        My young son has just discovered he loves sushi. So we are going to make it, thus it will hopefully be healthier and cheaper than purchasing it. Our question…can we leave out the sugar and salt and what effect will it have? Thank you so much for the recipes and hopefully your further guidance.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi, it’s okay to leave it out, but we prefer including it. The rice won’t be as sticky without it.

        • Akaya says

          I picked up some sushi rice to try making sushi for the first time, what would you do differently in preparing the rice with sushi rice?

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi Akaya, sushi rice will have a different water:rice ratio and cooking time. We’d suggest following the instructions on the bag (if it came in one) or referring to a recipe online for details.

  6. Lee says

    I made this with Apple Cider Vinegar and it worked well … but I wonder how warm or cold works best for the rice putting it on and rolling it up.
    Satisfied my craving, thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Lee! We’re so glad it worked well. It’s best for the rice to cool down slightly before assembly.

  7. Mia says

    I was wondering if the rice vinegar listen in the ingredients is seasoned or not? I only have seasoned rice vinegar and didn’t know if I should cut back the sugar because of that or if it’s supposed to be seasoned vinegar on top of sugar?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mia, we used unseasoned, but we don’t think it would make a big difference. Feel free to scale back on the sugar though!

  8. Sarah Elliott says

    Hi Dana! I have been searching all over for a homemade wasabi recipe using horseradish root. Just curious if anyone here has been successful. The pastes and powders usually are dyed.

  9. James Rayers says

    I once spoke to a sushi maker about brown rice sushi and he recommended mixing a little bit of white rice just to increase the stickiness.

  10. Alexandra Land says

    I believe a post below says you can omit the sugar. In that case, is it necessary to heat the vinegar, i.e., does that help with the stickiness.

    (And thanks very much for posting this. I’m cooking the brown rice as I type.)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Alexandra, it would still be ideal to heat the vinegar so that the salt dissolves more easily. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sara, we haven’t tried it without the sugar, but think it would still be good if you left it out. Hope that helps!

    • Sierra says

      I dont think so– from what I have seen in other sites sugar and salt are important for making the sushi vinegar which is what makes the brown rice sticky– but if you omitted it and it actually worked then lemme know! Im curious to hear–

  11. Rose says

    Hello Dana, I enjoy your site.
    I have read of some say use white grape juice or cider vinegar or sake instead of sugar & Himalayan salt, after the short grain brown rice has been cooked. If we do not have wine vinegar.
    Just wondering if it could change the taste drastically.
    Just looking for natural ingredients. I get migraines from msg. I do enjoy Sushi & am preparing to seek out the most natural ingredients.
    Thank you,
    Rose in NH

  12. aileen says

    Hi I made the rice, but found that the ratio of rice to water and the cooking time just did not cook the rice. I had to add water and increase the cook time. I think the ratio of 1 to 2 rice to water works best.

  13. Kelly says

    Thnx for your post, it really clarified and simplified what I was reading and gave me the push to go for it!

  14. Kate says

    I made this with wild rice, avocado, and broccoli slaw. It was absolutely delicious, but I will say that I think that the wild rice made it a little difficult to really roll tightly and stay together. I might have needed more vinegar or something. Still tasted great, but not quite as pretty as the pictures here.

  15. Erica says

    This is really good. A great alternative to paying $50 bucks for sushi! I used roasted pepper, mango, avocado and cucumber. If you are using mango I would cut back on the sugar.

  16. Carmella says

    This was delicious! I used the rice cooker to do my rice because I was short on time, I think it needed a little more water but it was still quite nice. Loved jamming the nori full of veggies. I’m looking forward to trying Dana’s method next time. She has never steered me wrong before.

  17. Nicole says

    Is there a reason for adding the sugar aside from flavor? I don’t eat any added sugar so just wondering if it is necessary for the texture of the brown rice to mimick normal white sushi rice.

  18. Zoe says

    I added avocado and a sriracha/mayo drizzle. Kept all week for lunch! Easy and delicious. I was SHOCKED when my rice came out right! So yummy.

  19. Katie says


    I’ve tried this now for the third time :( keep revisiting it wanting it to work but it doesn’t get sticky! The rice ends up not cooked all the way through and stays wet. I’ve even waited an hour to see if it dries out. Any idea what I can do to fix the problem(s)?

    Thanks! (And, of course, love your site the most)


    • allen says

      cook your rice a little longer then let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes, When I added the vinegar I had my stove at its lowest setting while stirring the rice. Mine came out great.

  20. Kristin says

    What is the sushi restaurant you go to for your fix? I live in Portland too and haven’t found a place with vegan sushi that I like! (Also just bought your new cookbook and am in love with it all!)


  21. Paul Hernandez says

    These look amazing, how long will they keep for? e.g I’d like to make a bunch and take some each day for lunch at work.


  22. Kristin says

    I made this tonight and was so disappointed that I decided to make my usual white sushi rice, baked tofu, avocado, carrot and cucumber sushi. For this recipe … I cooked the brown rice for at least 25 minutes, and it did not seem very soft. Adding the vinegar / sugar / salt mixture only made it wetter (not sticky dry). I used jarred roasted bell peppers and didn’t think to dry them, which was my bad, but even if I’d dried them, I don’t think I would’ve liked this recipe much. Darn, will stick with my usual recipe.

  23. Nat says

    Yes! That’s definitely something I’ve been looking for! Sushi made healthier!
    I’m in love!! Thanks for sharing!! :)
    I’ve been a sushi chef before, but I’ve had no idea you can make it with brown rice. I guess you learn new things everyday! :)

  24. Kim says

    You’re such an impressive lady! Thanks for all the great recipes.
    On the subject of sushi, I recently stumbled on a “recipe” for sushi in a bowl. Rice, preferred vegetables(Carrot shreds, cucumber), diced avocado. Mix Bragg’s/tamari with wasabi and pour over all. Really good and quick when you need your sushi fix, but are in too much of a hurry to roll.

  25. Sherry says

    Made sushi for the very first time last night and it turned out so good! I only used half the rice wine vinegar and sugar as I didn’t want it too sweet and thought 3 Tbsp of vinegar was too much-at least for me. I cooked the brown rice using my electric rice cooker and it turned out perfect. I ended up using a sushi mat I purchased at an Asian grocery marker in Salt Lake City (South East Market) for really cheap-$1.99. Thanks for another great recipe!

  26. Anthony Simpkins says

    I didn’t get your detox guide, even though I’m a subscribed member. Do you know what happened?

  27. Lauren says

    This is so pretty! I wish I had this recipe when I was pregnant and was seriously PISSED OFF I couldn’t have sushi. Nom nom nom better have it now :)

  28. Nicole Emily says

    These look incredible!! I always get super frustrated trying to make my own sushi (because I always fail) , but this post has inspired me to give it another go! Fingers crossed, I succeed this time! :P

  29. Melissa | Bits of Umami says

    Literally LOL’ed at “As in, give it to me I gotta have it.” Feel the exact same way! This would be such a great date night idea.

  30. Clare Davies says

    Dana! I’ve just received my copy of your lovely, lovely book! It’s a thing of beauty and I’m already using it, thanks so much for putting your recipes in a book for me to stroke and love!
    Clare (UK)

  31. Cassie says

    These look amazing! I’d probably make two rolls and add some tofu slices in each roll! Wild rice would taste amazing in these too!

  32. Emilie @ Emilie Eats says

    This would be such a fun date night (aka binge watching Breaking Bad) dinner idea!! I’ve been wanting to make my own sushi for awhile, and this is giving me the push. I love sushi filled with crisp, refreshing veggies, with a slice of mango!

  33. Sarah | Well and Full says

    I have that once-a-week sushi craving pretty regularly too. Well, maybe twice or three times a week hehehe ;)

  34. Timmu Yi says

    Hi Dana and John!

    I am a representative of a new startup app called Zoupple, a social network that enables couples to interact with other couples. We are currently looking for partners to work with and due to your excellent social media presence, we believe you would be an outstanding partner. We would love to set up a call with you to speak more about Zoupple and working together. Please let us know if you are interested, and we will send over more information. If you prefer another medium of contact, please don’t hesitate to let me know as well.


  35. Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says

    I am getting SO hungry just looking at this! I’ve never been able to get the rice flavor quite right at home, but now I know the vinegar + sugar secret. Loving the sprouts in there, and something pickled is a must for me too. I’m dreaming about it already :)

    • Tom ~ Raise Your Garden says

      I kind of appreciate how versatile these are. And I can cram in whatever fillings seem good to me. Especially the sprouts. My wife and I have been sprouting these days and really enjoying it. Tasty and nutritious!