Veggie Sushi with Sunflower Miso Paste

Raw vegan sushi filled with crisp vegetables, creamy avocado, and a tangy, salty sunflower miso paste. A light gluten free meal for spring or summer.

We eat a lot of sushi… probably similar to the rate normal americans consume pizza. I don’t want to make this blog about weight loss, but sushi is my skinny secret. I don’t crave breads like I used to, I crave nori.

Sushi at home might seem intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not hard. I’m no Jiro or anything: it just takes a bit of a steady hand and some focus (which gets harder with the more sake you consume)… but honestly, if it comes out a little sloppy looking, it’ll still taste good. Don’t be hard on yourself.

Inspired by nori rolls I’ve had at various raw food restaurants, I set out to create a flavorful sunflower paste in lieu of rice. Among other things, I topped it with raw shaved beets for some vibrant color. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that my husband Jack hates beets. I lied and told him that this was pickled red cabbage. He didn’t fall for it, but he also didn’t hate them in here. Score one more for me.

Veggie Sushi with Sunflower Miso Paste

Serves: 4 small rolls
For the sunflower miso paste:
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least 6 hours
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the rolls:
  • 2 nori sheets, cut in half widthwise
  • 2 large collard leaves, cut in half lengthwise, stem removed*
  • 8 long cucumber slices, about the size of a chopstick if you can cut it that small
  • ½ beet, grated
  • ½ avocado, sliced lengthwise
  • Microgreens, a few pinches for each roll
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Soy sauce or tamari, for serving
  • Pickled ginger, for serving
  1. Make the sunflower-miso paste: Place the sunflower seeds, tahini, lemon juice, miso, ginger, garlic, vinegar, brown rice syrup, and sesame oil in a small food processor. Pulse the ingredients together until you get a paste consistency.
  2. Roll the sushi: Place a ½ sheet of the nori shiny side down on a bamboo mat along the edge nearest you.
  3. Place a ½ collard leaf on top of the nori, checking to be sure that the collard doesn’t extend beyond the nori in the back. (If it sticks out the sides it’s ok). The nori will need to stick to itself after you roll up the roll, otherwise it’ll fall apart.
  4. Spread a little less than ¼ of the paste in the front ⅓ of the nori/collard piece (My photo above doesn’t show it well, but there is empty space behind the pile of filling).
  5. Place the cucumber, beet, avocado, and microgreens on top of the paste, being careful not to overfill. Take a bit of water and, using your finger, dab a strip of water on the back edge of the nori (it’ll help it stick together when it’s rolled). Roll the nori over the fillings, using the bamboo mat to help. Place the roll cut side down.
  6. With a very sharp knife, cut the roll into pieces. Wipe off knife with a damp cloth in between each cut.
  7. Repeat steps to make the remaining 3 rolls.
  8. Garnish rolls with sesame seeds and serve with tamari and pickled ginger.
*If you’re a beginner, start without the collard leaf. The moisture of the paste touching the nori (like rice in traditional sushi), will hold it together more easily. Getting the edge of the nori to stick with the collard leaf in there is a little tricky.
If you’re rolling sushi for the first time, make extra so you have some to mess up.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Mango maze

    What a wonderful idea of using the sunflowers in this! I had the leftovers of the sushi with everything, from corn croquettes to curried split peas. Haha. It was good with any of those.

  2. These look SO yummy! I love raw beets and can even get my beet hating family to eat them IF combined with the right ingredients, avocado is definitely one of them and the sunflower miso recipe looks like it will satisfy their needs as well, amazing.
    I too, can’t resist a squeeze of lemon or a little zest on most everything! So happy I happened upon your lovely site.

  3. Emily

    I made these for dinner–they came out amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

  4. I’ve been putting off sushi making for quite some time – and the sushi restaurant a few blocks from me has been capitalizing on my laziness. Big time. So, I think it’s time to make my own. Your raw sushi looks – and sounds – delicious. Now, let’s just hope mine turns out as beautiful.

  5. Sonja from

    These look beautiful! Sushi was one of the first things we learned to make from friends (but we haven’t been adventurous enough to try it on our own.) Makes me want to have a sushi party with ya’ll 🙂

    • jeanine

      you should come have a sushi party with us! anytime 🙂

  6. YAYAYYA! Absolute Happiness over here! Yup, all my favorite ingredients whipped up into a healthy, delicious lunch! Perfect for my beach picnics I think. Sharing this immediately. <3

  7. Kasey from

    How do you come up with these things?? This sounds amazing, and I’m so glad I have all of the ingredients (and tools) on hand.

  8. Julia from

    This looks absolutely delicious…and healthy as well!

  9. This looks absolutely beautiful. I love sushi made with fish but this is so light and refreshing and gorgeous, you wouldn’t even miss it!

  10. I just stumbled upon your site, and boy am I glad I did! I love it– the simple, clean, DELICIOUS-looking food just jumps off the computer monitor.

    I am absolutely going to give this sushi a whirl– and although I am an avowed beet-hater myself, I might even consider keeping them in the roll, just because they’re so darn purdy. 🙂

  11. Eileen from

    These look beautiful! Homemade sushi is in fact kind of intimidating for me–even without the raw fish. I definitely need to take a deep breath and just try it, especially if I could be eating rolls like this!

    • jeanine

      yes, it’s not that hard! I should have written this in the notes, but if it’s your first try, make extra so you can mess some up but still have food to eat in the end 🙂

  12. RH

    Or you can do what I do and throw everything together in a bowl. Not as pretty, but just as good.

    • jeanine

      yes, I do that quite often (not with these exact ingredients) but I love a good sushi bowl 🙂

  13. Nicole

    I love making sushi-esque collard wraps (I’ll have to try with nori!! Much more authentic!) and when I do, I process cauliflower until it becomes fine, its just like sticky rice!

    • jeanine

      nice idea, I’ll have to try that sometime!

  14. Laura from

    I ALWAYS go for the sushi rolls at raw restaurants. So refreshing, filling, and bursting with flavour. Love ’em. And what is with your hubby’s aversion to veggies?!?! You’re clearly an amazing cook, I don’t get it! I would be craving salad nonstop at your house!

    • jeanine

      aw, he’s getting a bad rap now… He actually loves tons of veggies, tofu and the whole nine yards (way more than most other men I know). Maybe I’ve been picking on him a little too much in recent posts about the few things he doesn’t like 🙂

  15. Erin

    Jeanine, these are gorgeous!! I need to get back in to the habit of making sushi!

    • jeanine

      thank you Katrina!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.