RECIPE: Garden Sushi Cups – Vegan Sushi

Garden Sushi Cups Recipe

Add variety to your vegan sushi repertoire. This simple tasty vegan sushi recipe contains 100% whole plant foods that you can grow in your garden. Garden Sushi Cups are heart-healthy, low-fat, low-sodium, dairy-free, gluten-free, and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read more about how to make this easy and nutritious plant-based recipe the whole family will love.

Garden Sushi Cups - an easy and tasty vegan sushi recipe
A new fun take on vegan sushi that makes a nutritious and attractive appetizer, snack, or plant-based meal.
Kid-Approved Plant-based Recipe

This recipe was probably my fourth grade students favorite recipe of the year. The students really enjoyed making their own individual Garden Sushi Cups. Many students wanted to make seconds and thirds until all the ingredients were used up.

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Students make Garden Sushi Cups, Wraps, and Rolls in the garden.
Garden Gourmet students loved making Garden Sushi because they each got to make their own the way they liked it.
Avocados Make Sushi Cups Amazing

The creamy green fruit of our warm-climate forest gardens, the amazing avocado, inspired this recipe. There is a very large avocado tree in the education garden and this vegan sushi recipe features their incredible goodness perfectly.

The avocado tree that supplied the fresh creamy avocado fruits for our Garden Sushi recipe.
A giant avocado tree in the education garden supplied delicious green fruits for our Garden Sushi Cups.

Avocados from the tree in our garden were greener and richer tasting than any I’d ever tasted from a store. Here’s the first one I cut into when experimenting with this recipe at home.

A gorgeous avocado is about to become vegan sushi.
This is an unfiltered picture of the first avocado I cut into from this tree. The color was more green and the flavor was more intense than avocados I am used to from the market.

Avocados went on sale at the market just as we were making this recipe. It was good timing because I did have to purchase some. (Timing ripeness can be tricky, one week they all ripened and then the next I had to buy a few.)

Avocados on sale at the market - the perfect time to make plant-based vegan sushi.
When avocados are in season check your discount produce market for super deals. This is the perfect time to make Garden Sushi Cups.

The perfect time for trying this recipe is in avocado season when the prices are reasonable.

Simple, Affordable, Nutritious Ingredients

I used just four main filling ingredients: avocado, carrot, cucumber, and mango. There are endless possibilities for vegan sushi fillings. Radishes or shredded purple cabbage would add nice color and nutrition. For now, I’ll keep it simple and stick with my selection of four. These three fruits and a root compliment each other perfectly with black sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

The main ingredients for this vegan sushi recipe are pictured here.
For a tasty vegan sushi combination try carrots, cucumber, avocado, and mango. 
Mangos Make Vegan Sushi Magic

Before experimenting making my own vegan sushi, I’d only had vegan sushi sold at natural food markets. This pre-prepared “veggie sushi” generally contained just three ingredients – carrots, avocado, and cucumber. Adding mango to the mix truly takes vegan sushi to a new level. Many students agreed with me saying the mango was their favorite ingredients. Mangoes are so tasty on their own so it’s no surprise they make this recipe even more delicious.

A Good Mango Cutting Technique

Here’s my three tips for cutting the mango into nicely shaped cubes.

  1. Slice the two bulky halves off of the seed in the middle of the mango.
  2. Cut lines vertically into the flesh of each mango half. Then cut lines horizontally to make squares.
  3. Scoop out the squares with a spoon with a nice crisp slicing edge.
Four ingredients that combine perfectly for this plant-based recipe.
All four main raw ingredients for the Sushi Cups can be prepared on one large cutting board.
Preparing the Other Fruits and Roots

Prepare the avocados the exact same way. Cut the cucumber into rounds and then chop the rounds into quarters. I prefer to shred the carrot for this recipe.

How to Steam Perfect Sushi Rice

Steam the sushi rice according to instructions.

  • 2 cups of dry sushi rice to 2.5 cups water is the correct ratio.
  • Turn off the heat after the water and rice have been boiling for a few minutes.
  • Stir it well and cover the pot with a lid.
  • The rice will steam the rest of the way to perfection.
  • Come back in 10-20 minutes and you’ll be delighted with perfect sushi rice.

Other rice varieties will work for this recipe, but sushi rice is preferred for its stickiness and shape-holding factor.

Garden Sushi Cups are in the works.
Sushi rice is the best rice if you want your rice to form the stable cup for your sushi. For other rice varieties, try using the lettuce as your cup as shown below.
Building Your Garden Sushi Cups

To build your garden sushi cups use your clean finger stop press the rice into the cup molds so that the rice sticks together and forms a stable cup. Then top with the fresh ingredients and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Garden Sushi Cups are an easy, colorful, and tasty vegan sushi recipe.
Raw garden cupcakes, or sushi cups – another fun way to use cupcake pans to create a nutritious meal or snack.

Remove the Garden Sushi Cups from the muffin tins gently using a teaspoon and set on a plate or platter to serve.

The finished Garden Sushi Cups
A little sprinkle of black sesame seeds adds nutrition and beauty to our Garden Sushi Cups. I love the color and crunch they add.
Up the Green Factor – Wrap or Roll It

Another way to add more green vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to this recipe is to use a soft flexible lettuce leaf as an edible cup that holds the sushi. For a natural and nutritious cup, use a lettuce leaf beneath the rice. The lettuce leaf acts as your cupcake paper but you eat it with your sushi. The lettuce cup makes picking the Garden Sushi Cups up a little easier too.

Vegan sushi cups are ready to enjoy.
This one used a lettuce leaf as a cup. The leaf was trimmed but you could leave more of a lettuce lip. They come out of the cupcake pans pretty nice and make a snack that fits in the palm of your hand.

This is the version my kids made on their own. I supplied the ingredients and after watching me make the first ones, here’s what they did.

The Garden Sushi Cups that my children made.
My children made these Garden Sushi Cups on their own.

They were pleased with their creation, had fun, and ate every last bite. Any type of soft-leaf lettuce will work. The lettuce growing in the education garden was particularly fresh and tasty. (I caught more than a few students nibbling the lettuce leaves alone).

The lettuce growing in the garden became Garden Sushi Cups enjoyed by dozens of fourth grade students.
Fresh grown lettuce is best for taste and nutrition but if you can’t grow your own greens your local farmers market is the next best bet. Try any greens with flexible leaves that won’t break when you bend and roll them.

Experiment with this recipe just a tad and create Garden Sushi Lettuce Wraps.

Alternatively, wrap your vegan sushi in a lettuce leaf
Another variation on this recipe is to wrap your sushi in a lettuce leaf.

Simply put your sushi rice and ingredients on a soft flexible lettuce leaf. Wrap it up in the direction that doesn’t split the leaf.

Garden Sushi Lettuce Wrap
Garden Sushi Lettuce Wrap

Either way you wrap or roll it, this is a nutritious and tasty three-to-four-bite snack.

Garden Sushi Lettuce Wraps and Seaweed Rolls – This 100% plants sushi is tasty and nutrition any way you wrap or roll it.

You can also wrap your sushi in Nori seaweed paper, the traditional wrap for Japanese sushi. My children and I think seaweed paper wraps are super tasty and many of my students really like them. Some students though were turned off my the strong smell and unfamiliar taste. Enjoy experimenting with whichever variety of vegan sushi you prefer. Here’s the modifiable recipe for you to try at home.

Print Recipe
Garden Sushi Cups Recipe (whole food plant-based)
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Plant-Based, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
sushi cups
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Plant-Based, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
sushi cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Steam sushi rice according to directions. (see above for details)
  2. Shred carrot, dice mango, dice avocado, and dice cucumber.
  3. Combine all fresh garden ingredients in small bowls or into piles on cutting board.
  4. Remove tough rib from lettuce leaves to end up with large flexible squares of lettuce leaf.
  5. Place large lettuce leaf into empty clean muffin tin and put a large spoonfull of sushi rice on top.
  6. Use clean fingers/gloved hands to press sushi rice into lettuce-lined cups.
  7. Fill cups with carrots, cucumber, avocado, and mango.
  8. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top.
  9. Gently remove the sushi cups from the mold using a spoon and put on a plate.
  10. Optional: Add a dash of soy sauce to your sushi cup.
Recipe Notes

Try it at home

Experiment with different variations on this simple vegan Garden Sushi recipe and see what you like best.

  • A Rainbow of Plant Possibilities: Substitute any of the plant fillings for these other excellent options from the garden: radishes, green onions, edamame soybeans, purple cabbage, sprouts, and red bell peppers.
  • Wrap It Up! Try your Garden Sushi another way: roll it in the lettuce leaves to make wraps. Simply put one spoon of sushi in the middle of lettuce with veggies and roll like a burrito. Use a toothpick to hold your wrap together if you’re not eating it immediately. This is a good attractive option for appetizers or a nice simple fresh lunch.
  • Traditional Seaweed Roll Style: Try using traditional Nori seaweed paper.  Make a line of rice on the sushi paper, put your veggies on, and roll it up. Slice your sushi roll into pieces or eat it as a roll burrito-style. You can also try cutting the sushi paper in half to make smaller sushi wraps. The advantage of Nori seaweed wraps over lettuce is that they stick to the sushi rice and hold together very well. This is the best option for packing in a school lunch or picnic to go.
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Healing With Plants is a holistic health education website empowering people to heal themselves at home, with plants. Explore Healing With Plants for more healing whole foods plant-based recipes and inspiring stories that testify for the amazing healing power of plants.

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