Royal Quinoa Vegan Sushi Rolls and Beginners Guide to Rolling Sushi

In today’s post I’m sharing a recipe for delicious sushi rolls filled with royal quinoa and fresh veggies. They make a wonderful lunch or light dinner option and a tasty addition to school and work lunchboxes. They’d also be great for serving at buffets and summer picnics. They’re easy to make and, just in case you’re new to sushi-rolling, I’ve included some step-by-step images to help you along.

I absolutely love sushi but rarely buy it from the shops as it’s quite expensive, plus it normally comes with lots of packaging, including black plastic trays which are currently unrecyclable here in Bath. I’d been wanting to try my hand at making my own sushi for a long time. I’d even bought the nori sheets in preparation. But it took me a while to get round to doing it as I’d convinced myself that it would be tricky. When I finally took the plunge and tried it, I couldn’t believe how easy it was! I’m not a neat or delicate person when it comes to food preparation so, if I can do it, you definitely can!

Royal Quinoa Vegan Sushi Rolls

For a while, I’d been mulling over the idea of using quinoa in sushi instead of white rice. Whereas the latter is pretty much devoid of any nutrients, quinoa is a nutrient-packed whole food. It’s a great source of protein (it contains all the essential amino acids) and is also rich in minerals and B vitamins.

Also, by using quinoa, we don’t have to worry about the risk of rice poisoning or the need to keep the sushi chilled. This means that it’s a lot more portable and can be used in lunchboxes without the need for cool packs.

When I spotted a recipe for quinoa sushi in this month’s Vegan Life magazine, this spurred me on to give it a try.

Inspired by the recipe, I filled the rolls with cucumber batons, julienned carrots and avocado strips. This made for a  lovely combination of textures and flavours.

In my rolls, I used Royal Quinoa which was kindly sent to me by the lovely folk at Sevenhills Wholefoods. Just in case you were wondering why it’s called ‘royal’ quinoa, well just like fine wine, the quality of quinoa varies from region to region, and Royal Quinoa is recognised as being the highest quality quinoa in the world. It is exclusively grown in the area surrounding the Salar de Uyuni (the world’s largest salt flats) on the Altiplano (high plain) of southern Bolivia. Apparently people have been cultivating quinoa there for 4,000 years!

For the sushi, I first cook the quinoa using a ratio of double the volume of water to quinoa. I bring it to the boil then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. I know people use different ratios of water to quinoa but this is the method that works perfectly for me every time.

Once cooked, I stir in one teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and one tablespoon of sweet white miso. This combination of flavours made the quinoa taste absolutely delicious, and just perfect as a sushi filling. In the UK, sweet white miso is currently available from independent health food shops, Waitrose, Ocado and online. I use this one by Clearspring. The flavour is so good! I use it in all kinds of recipes, including Sweet Miso Brussels Sprout Hash, Terry Hope’s Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad, and my all-time favourite Mac ‘n’ Cheeze (page 104 of the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook).

The nori sheets that are most widely available in the UK are these ones by Clearspring. You’ll find them in Waitrose, Ocado, independent health food shops and online.

You can buy a sushi rolling mat but I find that it’s easy enough to roll by hand. You simply lay the sushi sheet shiny side down on a clean chopping board or worktop.

Spoon the quinoa on top and use a silicone spatula to spread it all the way to the edges, leaving a 2cm margin at the top.

Press down using the spatula to compact and level the quinoa, then arrange the fillings on top.

You can either stack them on top of each other…

or arrange them side by side.

Just try and keep the filling level and with no hard edges poking up that could tear the nori sheet.

Dampen the top margin of the nori sheet with wet fingers (this will help it stick down), then start rolling from the bottom up. Keep the filling in place with your fingers and roll it as tightly packed as possible.

Wet a serrated knife blade and cut the sushi into six even pieces using a sawing motion.

And voila, it’s ready!


These sushi rolls make a wonderful lunch or light dinner option and a tasty addition to school and work lunchboxes. They’d also be great for serving at buffets and summer picnics. Quinoa, flavoured with toasted sesame oil and sweet white miso makes a great alternative to white rice, making the rolls nutrient-rich and very filling!

Inspired by a recipe by Mindfulchef featured in Vegan Life magazine, January 2017

Serves 2-3 (makes 12 pieces)

Hands on time: 20 minutes    Ready in: 30 minutes

100g / ½ cup quinoa
240ml / 1 cup water
½ cucumber
1 medium carrot
½ avocado
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 TBSP sweet white miso
2 nori sheets
tamari soy sauce, for dipping


First, wash the quinoa to remove the bitter saponin coating. Place it in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water, agitating it with your fingers or a fork.

Place the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Stir in the sesame oil, followed by the sweet miso, until all the grains are coated. Taste test and add a touch more sesame oil or miso, if desired. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel and deseed half a cucumber, then slice into batons. Julienne or grate a carrot. Slice the flesh of half an avocado into strips.

Get ready to roll! Take one of the nori sheets and place it shiny side down on a clean chopping board or work surface. Spoon half of the quinoa onto the sheet and use a silicone spatula to spread it in a thin layer all the way to the edges of the nori, leaving a 2cm margin at the top of the sheet. Press down with the spatula to level and compact it.

Arrange strips of cucumber, carrot and avocado across the middle of the sheet (leave sufficient filling for the second roll). Keep them as level as possible, with no hard edges poking out that could pierce the nori sheet.

Wet your fingers and dampen the 2cm margin at the top of the sheet (this will help it stick to the roll).

Start rolling from the bottom upwards, using your fingers to keep the filling in place and ensure it’s rolled in as tight as possible.

Wet a serrated knife blade and cut the sushi into six even pieces using a sawing motion.

Repeat using the second nori sheet and remaining filling.

Add some tamari soy sauce to a dipping dish and tuck in!

If you’re not serving the sushi immediately, don’t slice it but keep it as two large rolls. That way, the avocado will stay fresh and not go brown. For school lunchboxes, we also keep it unsliced as it makes it easier for Lil’ L to pick it up and tuck in with minimal mess!

The sushi will keep in the fridge for 24 hours (possibly longer but dab any avocado poking out the ends with lemon or lime juice to prevent them going brown).


Have you tried making your own sushi yet? If so, how did you get on? What are your favourite fillings? 


10 thoughts on “Royal Quinoa Vegan Sushi Rolls and Beginners Guide to Rolling Sushi

  1. Lovely. Never really thought it would be easy to make at home. I’ll give it a go. Some of the veggie supermarket versions have cheese (!?!) in them so this’ll be great!

  2. These look fantastic especially for a first time. I’ve been to a sushi class and still don’t find it easy. Great idea to use quinoa, though I’ve never heard of Royal quinoa before. I’ve not come across sweet white miso either. Is it unpasteurised? I’m a bit sniffy about pasteurised miso.

    1. The sweet white miso from Clearspring is pasteurised but I tend to use it for its flavour rather than nutrition. It has this beautiful, mellow flavour which works really well in creamy sauces (like my Mac n Cheeze), salad dressings and gravies. My new passion is mixing it into quinoa! I’ve never been a big fan of quinoa in the past but mixed with this miso, I can’t stop eating it!

    1. Brilliant! I’m sure this sushi would appeal to all kinds of eaters, not just the vegan kind 🙂 The quinoa does add a good dose of protein and I find it’s also much easier to roll than rice as it sticks together so well 😀

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