Quinoa & Veggie Sushi

I have many memories of making sushi at my dad’s house as a child. I learned sushi rolling technique and he even taught me about the traditional preparation of sushi rice, which includes a long process of folding, fanning and cooling down the grain so that it’s the perfect amount of “stickiness” to hold the sushi together. The way I make sushi now draws from this but, as what happens with passed-down recipes, has evolved to be my own. Keep in mind that my method is not quite the traditional way of sushi-making. For instance, I use quinoa instead of rice, although I season it in a similar way (minus refined sugar) that tastes like your typical sushi rice. I promise they are just as delicious, though!

Sushi is a super fun thing to make at home, especially with other people, because you can offer a wide variety of filling options and everyone can make a roll (or several) that suit their preferences. Whether you’re vegan, paleo, low-FODMAP, soy-free, or omnivore, there’s something for you. My roll pictured here has seasoned quinoa, avocado, carrot, smoked Alaskan salmon (a special treat in my house), red cabbage, and sesame seeds.  The choices are endless though, such as:

  • Cucumbers
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Smoked salmon or other fish
  • Tofu
  • Red cabbage
  • Sesame seeds
  • Kimchi
  • Sprouts
  • Daikon radish
  • Arugula
  • Shredded beets
  • Etc.

Once you set up a couple sushi-rolling “stations” with sushi mats and bowls of your prepped fillings, you’re ready to go! Don’t get discouraged if the first roll or two come out a mess. You’ll get better with every roll (and maybe get some laughs in between)! I tried to be as descriptive as possible in the recipe, but feel free to comment if you want more clarification on any steps.

A little nutrition tidbit before you begin: Sea vegetables, like the nori used for sushi, are a great source of iodine, which is used to synthesize thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, body temperature, growth, development, and reproductive processes, so they are pretty dang important! Things can get trickier if you have an autoimmune thyroid disease or are considering supplementing with iodine, so please talk to your healthcare practitioner if this applies to you.

Here’s to sushi night! Let the good times roll (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Quinoa and Veggie Sushi

Pin Recipe
Customizable, family-friendly, fun, and veggie-filled dinner served here!
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Keyword: dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, low-FODMAP, paleo, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan


  • Sushi mats


Seasoned Quinoa

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar make sure no sugar is added
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • generous pinch sea salt

The Other Stuff

  • carrots, cucumber, beets, daikon, kimchi, avocado, cabbage, sprouts, smoked salmon, tofu, bell pepper, etc.
  • 10 sheets nori
  • tamari, coconut aminos, pickled ginger, and/or wasabi for serving


  • Add the quinoa and water to a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa cooks, combine the rice vinegar, honey, and salt in a large, wide bowl.
  • When the quinoa is done, turn off the heat and transfer it to the bowl with the vinegar, honey, and salt. Using a large wooden spoon, fold the vinegar mixture into the quinoa. Do this just until it is fully incorporated and the vinegar mixture gets "soaked up" into the hot quinoa. The goal is to make a sticky quinoa, but beware of overmixing, which will release too much starch and make it gluey! Set the bowl aside to let cool a bit while you prep the fillings.
  • While the quinoa cools, thinly slice your veggies of choice and cut other fillings such as smoked salmon and tofu into strips or pieces that will fit inside rolls.
  • With everything prepped and the quinoa cool enough to handle, lay out a sushi mat with a sheet of nori seaweed on top.
  • Dip your fingers in water and use them to spread a thin layer of quinoa down across the bottom third of the nori. Layer your toppings on, keeping in mind you'll be rolling this all up (I'm a chronic overstuffer so I constantly have to remind myself of this!).
  • Dip a finger in water and lightly run it across the top edge of the nori sheet. This will seal the roll together at the end.
  • Now you're ready to roll! Lift the bottom end of the sushi mat and fold over until the bottom edge of the nori is tucked under. Give the roll a tight squeeze, then continue rolling until the end.
  • Using a very sharp knife, slice into bite-sized pieces and serve!

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