Vegetarian Sushi? Who said that sushi is not for vegetarians and vegans? Sushi stuffed with sweet potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and flavored with Genovese Pesto. 

Since I live here in Japan I have eaten sushi 3 – 4 times, and all on special occasions. Dinner at the home of Yo’s parents, “romantic” Saturday date night, lunch with a dear friend …

Let me be clear, I’m a big fan of it, but between my strong desire to try new things and my indescribable love for Izakayas, I’ve always opted for other choices.


Having said that, at home, we don’t deny ourselves some homemade sushi: they are easy to prepare, delicious and give free space to your imagination! So here is a fresh and colorful recipe, capable of combining simple ingredients in a true explosion of flavors.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Cucumbers 

For this recipe, I used Japanese sweet potatoes, famous for their high level of fiber and their natural sweetness together with rice from Nagano prefecture mixed with brown rice.

Using rice with small grains is an important step for this type of recipe as it will help you keep everything tied together (long-grain rice does not have these “adhesive” properties).

Vegetarian Sushi


Ingredients for Vegetarian Sushi Lover!

Rice Preparation
  • 2 cups of rice;
  • 2 cups of water;
  • Rice Vinegar;
  • Sugar;
  • Salt;

Stuffing preparation

  • sweet potato;
  • cucumber;
  • carrot;

External part

  • 4-5 nori seaweed sheets;
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pesto per sushi cylinder;

Let’s Cook

Rice preparation

Wash your rice in a bowl until the water becomes clear. Drain it and let it rest for 5 minutes. Once the time has passed, proceed to cook it.

Rice Cooker

If you have a Rice Cooker, all you have to do is add the quantities of water indicated in the ingredients.

If instead, you use a pot, the proportion should be 1,2: 1 in favor of the water (therefore a bit more H2O).

How to proceed?

Put rice + water in the pan and bring to boil first with a high flame and, once they begin to form

Big Pan

bubbles, lower the heat to low and close with a lid. After 7-8 minutes, check the contents. If there is no more water and the rice has almost doubled in size, it means that it is ready!

Place your rice in a large dish or a container (preferably a wooden one).

Warning: do not use metal containers as, once the vinegar has been added, they will react by releasing a metallic taste in your rice.

In a bowl, add 1/3 cup of rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. When the rice is still hot from cooking, pour the mixture over it and mix it all with the help of a spatula (plastic is fine, wood would be better, no steel!).

Let the rice rest until it reaches room temperature. The rice will then be ready to use!


While the rice rests, cut your vegetables and your sweet potatoes into the shape of sticks, similar to long french fries. First, boil them and then, with a little oil, stirfry them in the pan so that they will obtain a crunchy surface.

For personal taste, I also boiled the carrot sticks for a few minutes and, before putting them in the sushi, I seasoned them with a few drops of olive oil and salt!

Shape your Sushi

At this point, we’re going to assemble our Sushi! Before starting, all the ingredients must be at room temperature!

Place your nori sheet on your “Bamboo Mat”. With the help of a teaspoon (or better with your fingertips) sprinkle a very thin layer of pesto sauce. The Pesto must not be liquid (it will risk ruining your sheet of seaweed) and the quantities must be really minimal (1/2 teaspoon max per sheet of Alga Nori). It’s a simple touch of extra flavor that will surprise your taste buds at the first bite!

Place the previously cut potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.


Then start rolling your sushi on itself by pressing lightly and giving the cylindrical shape with the help of your hands.

Cut your Vegetarian Sushi!

Once you have formed your cylinder, let it sit for 5-6 minutes (I like to define it the period of adjustment).

If you have come this far, know that the most delicate part will come NOW: the cut! Lightly wet the blade of your knife and delicately cut the cylinder first in half and then the following parts so as to obtain all the same pieces.

Some philosopher of sushi cutting says that, to avoid any risk of breaking your sushi and ruining it, simply wrap it tightly in transparent paper, let it rest for 10 minutes in the fridge and, still with the slightly dampened knife, proceed with cutting!

Do as you feel safer!

So here’s your sushi with Pesto and Sweet Potatoes!

Let me know what you think and Buona Appetito!

い た だ き ま す

Ele & Yo