The kimchi sushi roll is the final vegetarian/vegan recipe in my homemade sushi On A Roll series (spoiler alert – the final recipe coming up next is not vegetarian or vegan).
How This Party Got Started
Inspiration for trying to make sushi at home came from a vegan kimchi sushi roll I got at the farmer’s market (On A Roll – Homemade Sushi).
It was made with kimchi and tempeh. I thought this was such a great idea – and it was amazingly delicious – but it was a one-time thing.
Kimchi Sushi Dreams
As with most rare food finds, I have been fantasizing about that kimchi sushi roll since I tried it.
I had planned to make a kimchi roll first. Of course, when the inspiration and energy hit me to start this project, I was out of kimchi.
I’m lucky that there is a Korean family selling fabulous spicy kimchi at my local farmer’s market. Fermented treats are plentiful these days though so you can certainly get kimchi at any grocery store.
What the heck is kimchi?
Not familiar with kimchi yet? Kimchi is a staple in Korean cooking. This is probably not the perfect comparison but it’s kind of like the Korean version of coleslaw. It’s made with cabbage and other vegetables that are salted and fermented. Anyone who loves vinegar and vinegar-based salads will love kimchi.
What Else To Do With Kimchi
You’re not going to be using very much kimchi to make 2 kimchi sushi rolls. So what else can you do with it?
When kimchi first showed up at my famer’s market I bought it and then had no idea what to do with it either. I found Crazy Fast Ramen with Bacon, Egg and Kimchi on Bon Appetit’s website. It is super easy. Especially if you skip the bacon. I only use the bacon if I have some already made. It’s a super easy but impressive dinner that I make all the time.
The ramen is a recipe I featured on my Something Borrowed page (for recipes that aren’t mine).
For the kimchi sushi roll, I wanted to put something more savory with the kimchi and something to add protein. Decided to use tofu instead of tempeh simply because I had a package open. But I needed something else. Got to thinking about the ramen recipe and decided that putting sesame noodles in the roll just might work.
I used half of a quality brown-rice ramen noodle cake which was the perfect amount for 2 sushi rolls. Cooked them as directed and tossed with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and sesame seeds.
Then I rolled the noodles up with kimchi, tofu, avocado and green onions. It was freaking delicious. I’m considering trying to convince my local sushi restaurant to offer it as a special.
Tip: Take a second to heat the noodles up nice and hot before you make the roll and then serve immediately. So if you are making more than one kind of sushi roll, prepare your noodles but roll this one last.
There is one more roll to share before I “wrap up” this series so be sure to subscribe below. You don’t want to miss this last one, especially if you live in South Louisiana!
- sushi mat wrapped in plastic wrap plus extra plastic wrap for cutting
Sushi Quinoa Rice
- 3/4 cup sushi rice, rinsed several times
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (tri-color is prettiest!)
- 1 cups water
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 pkg quality ramen noodles
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/4 cup tofu (2 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch slices)
- 1/4 cup kimchi
- 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp green onions, diced
- 2 sheets nori
- soy sauce for dipping
- wasabi paste, optional
Prepare the Sushi Quinoa Rice
- Place the rinsed sushi and quinoa in a small saucepan. Add 1 cups water and place over med-high heat. As soon as bubbles start to form on the edges, stir to make sure nothing is sticking and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes and then turn off heat (don't open the lid). Allow to steam for another 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork. Add rice vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame seeds and fluff again. Set aside.
Preparing the Roll
- While rice is cooking, prep your filling ingredients. Cook 1/2 ramen noodle cake as directed. Drain and return to warm pot. Add sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Once rice is done, place one nori sheet (bumpy side up) on a sushi rolling mat that has been wrapped in plastic wrap. Using a fork or wet fingers, press cooked sushi quinoa rice onto the mat firmly leaving 1 inch of nori uncovered. Carefully pick up the nori and flip over.
- Start layering filling ingredients on the section of nori opposite where the rice begins on the other side but closest to the nori edge that you left without rice. You are going to roll that uncovered nori around the filling to get it started. Noodles first, then tofu, kimchi, avocado and green onions. **You are going to make 2 rolls so use about half your filling ingredients on each.
- Pick up the edge of your rolling mat and start to flip the exposed piece of nori over the filling ingredients. You essentially want to tuck that piece around and under to get your roll sealed. Use the mat to pull it back towards you, and use your fingers to pinch the roll firmly as you go. You want to get things tight on that first turn and then continue rolling about a half turn at a time, pulling the mat free as you continue to roll forward and continuing to pinch along the length of the roll as you go. Unroll the mat and you should have a beautiful sushi roll!
- The hardest part IMO is cutting. Move the roll to a cutting board. I use a separate piece of plastic wrap which I lay over the top, pull snug and tuck in slightly all around (some people fully wrap the roll before cutting but I found that left me with shreds of plastic wrap to pick off). Using a serrated knife, gently cut your sushi into pieces and then carefully remove the plastic wrap. Stand back to admire what you've created, then go ahead and make your second roll. Serve immediately or keep wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Serve 1 roll per person with soy sauce for dipping and wasabi paste on the side (optional).