Sushi Salad Recipe -- Easy, Vegan, Gluten Free, Flexible, and Frugal

I grew up eating sushi back when it wasn't as famous around the world as it is today. (Back when you couldn't get sushi from the corner grocery store or from pizza places.) My mom made sushi from scratch, but we only really had it for special occasions, since it was a lot of work to make. (On extremely special occasions, we went out to a sushi bar, and that was amazing.)

Since having my own home, I've made sushi multiple times, not just for special occasions, but I must admit that the amount of work entailed, also in cooking the rice just so, preparing the fillings, and rolling it up makes it lower on the list of priorities of things to make, since I need to be able to set aside the time entailed.

I realized, though, that the thing I and my kids like best about sushi is the taste; the way it's rolled up is nice and all, and makes for a fun meal, but if I could have it more often with less work, I'm totally fine without it being all rolled up pretty. That's where sushi salad fits in. All the taste of sushi, none of the work! And I've even figured out a way to make sushi salad into a super quick and frugal meal using up leftovers, which is a real perk.

Sushi salad is flexible, and only needs a few base ingredients.

  • Rice.
  • Sweet and sour sauce.
  • "Fillings"
For the rice, if I have leftover plain white rice, I just take that and add my sweet and sour sauce to it, giving it the flavor, if not texture, of sushi rice.

Sweet and Sour Sushi Rice Sauce 
1/3 cup vinegar (white, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar) or lemon juice
3 tablespoons sweetener (white sugar, jaggery syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, coconut sugar, or honey all work)
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring well until everything dissolves.
3. Pour onto your rice, and mix well.

(This amount of sauce works for 6-8 cups of cooked rice, or more. But feel free to use it to taste, adding more or less if you want a stronger flavor.)

Once my rice is made, whether sweet and sour sauce added to leftover rice, or brand new sushi rice, I bring it to room temperature and I add any of the following ingredients to it. The more different ones the better, but it even works with just one or two. Feel free to add anything you enjoy in your sushi.

Veggie (and fruit) additions:

  • Grated carrot
  • Sauted julienned carrots and onions with ginger
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Cubed sweet potatoes
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced mango
  • Diced bell peppers (ideally not green)
  • Chopped purslane
  • Chopped scallions
  • Etc...
In addition to the vegetables, I like to add some sort of protein, so this becomes a full meal. However, if you want to leave this vegan, just leave them out or use the first option.

Protein additions:
While you can just mix these together with your sushi rice and still call it sushi salad, it would be like having sushi not dipped in anything, and why would you want to do that? It tastes so much better, in my opinion, with some toppings. Feel free to mix and match and add any of the following to your sushi salad:


  • Soy sauce (use gluten free soy sauce to keep this gluten free) or coconut aminos
  • Powdered ginger
  • Sesame seeds
  • Wasabi paste (I generally mix this with soy sauce to make it spread more easily in the salad; make sure this is gluten free to keep the recipe gluten free)
  • Sesame oil
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Spicy mayo (mayo mixed with sriracha; use my vegan mayo recipe if you want to keep this vegan)
  • Finely chopped nori papers
Mix it all together, serve, and enjoy!

I know at this point this recipe doesn't seem so simple and easy. But it is. Here's how I make it super simple on days when I just have a little bit of leftover rice and want to make a quick well rounded meal my kids will enjoy:

Super Simple Sushi Salad Recipe
Leftover rice
Sweet and sour sushi rice sauce
Diced cucumber
Chopped nori
Soy sauce

1. Make the sweet sour sushi rice sauce and pour it over the rice.
2. Make an omelet.
3. Dice cucumbers and chop the omelet.
4. Cut up nori with scissors (if I have, otherwise I leave out)
5. Add soy sauce, mix up, and serve.

Time from fridge to table: under five minutes. And the kids love it.

If you like sushi as I do, now you also can enjoy its yumminess without all the work and without the expense.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. This is called Poke in the United States. These "sushi salads" are a much cheaper alternative to traditional sushi.

  2. My sister lived in Japan and in the area where she lived, such a 'salad' was how most Japanese people would eat their sushi at home. They didnt call it a salad though. The sushi as we in the west know was considered more like the restaurant style sushi. Everytime my sister made sushi for us, she prepared this salad-like sushi and we all loved it (well except for my husband who is African and not used to this kind of food lol).

Previous Post Next Post