Eat Well Mar. 5. 2013

Veggie “Sushi” Rolls

Mar. 5. 2013
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

Let’s get a roll on with these super simple, easy, and delicious Veggie “Sushi” Rolls.

I’ve been incredibly busy lately (tackling work and personal projects!), but that’s no excuse not to take the time to nourish my body with healthy foods! If anything, when we feel tired, ill, overworked, or stressed both mentally and physically, these are times when our bodies need a little extra love and nourishment.

Show your body some love with these veggie sushi rolls. When I’m in need of a nourishing, filling, and delicious meal or snack, this recipe is my absolute go-to quick pick. It’s packed full of nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals (especially from the nori sheets–oooh how I love seaweeds!), healthy fats, and protein. Avocado serves as the base instead of using white rice and gives the sushi rolls a delicious creamy texture and a great balance with the crunchy vegetable sticks.

What Is Nori?

Nori (or more commonly known as “the green wrapper” that holds your sushi together), is far more than an ingredient to keep sushi from unraveling and is also a nutrient powerhouse. Nori can be consumed in other ways besides rolled. You may add it to soups (common in miso soup), tear it into salads, add it to sandwiches, or eat it plain as a quick snack.

Nori a.k.a sea lettuce has a very mild, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor. Because it doesn’t possess a very strong flavor, it’s a friendly sea vegetable that plays well with other foods.

The Health Benefits of Sushi Rolls

In general, seaweeds contain a host of nutrient benefits, but just to name a few about nori:

  • Iodine: Seaweed is one of the main sources of iodine, which supports thyroid function. 
  • Protein: You to 50% protein by dry weight!
  • Fiber: A type of carbohydrate that will help to regular your blood sugar and stop hunger.
  • Sodium: Seaweed is a great alternative to typical sea salt and table salt.

Where to Buy Nori to Make Sushi Rolls

You can purchase organic nori sheets at most health food stores, the Asian section of your local grocery store, and local Asian food markets. If you can’t find organic nori sheets you can always use other “wraps” such as butter lettuce leaves, swiss chard leaves, or romaine lettuce, but in the future nori sheets are a must try! If you’ve never made sushi before, don’t be intimidated.

You don’t need any fancy tools, just the ingredients, and your hands. You may use a bamboo sushi mat, but I go at it sans mat and it’s worked perfectly for years. I promise you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of tries. Besides, if all else fails, fold it over and eat it like a sandwich! So show that nori who’s boss.



Iodine is necessary for producing thyroid hormones, which plays a big role in metabolism. Seaweed is one of the best sources of this nutrient.


Vitamins A, B (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12), C, and E can all be found in nori. With this combo of vitamins, you can help improve your immunity, keep up your energy, and simply help your body run more efficiently.


Top minerals in nori: calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. You need these minerals in order to support bone health, healthy cells, and better brain function.

The Recipe

Serves 1



2 organic raw sushi nori sheets

1 avocado, mashed

1/4-1/2 organic red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 large organic carrot, cut into thin strips

1/4 organic zucchini, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup of alfalfa sprouts (or any other sprouts you enjoy)

Secret Sauce

2-4 Tbs. of nutritional yeast (depends on your taste preference, I like a lot)

1 Tbs. of Dijon mustard (can swap out for any mustard you like; honey, hot, sweet, etc.)

1-2 tsp. of gluten free, low-sodium Tamari sauce (or Coconut Aminos)

1 Tbs./squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice

1 Tbs. of fresh organic cilantro, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste



Secret Sauce

Mix all ingredients into a small mixing bowl, until a creamy “paste” is created, if you feel the texture is to thick you may add more liquid in the form of water or lemon/lime juice; if you feel the texture is too thin, add more nutritional yeast.


Step 1

Lay the nori sheets on a flat surface, a countertop or cutting board. Cut, dice and mash the avocado into a separate bowl and save on the side for now.

Step 2

Pour and spread half of the Secret Sauce on the closest end of each nori sheet to you (bottom). Spread half of the mashed avocado at the closet end of each nori sheet (where you spread the Secret Sauce).

Step 3

Lay thinly sliced red bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini alongside and on top of the mashed avocado, parallel to the edge of the nori sheet (horizontally). Top with alfalfa sprouts.

Step 4

With a steady yet quick hand, take the edge with all the “filling” and roll/flip over onto the nori sheet just until you can no longer see the “filling”; continue this rolling action until you reach the other end.

Step 5

Simply wet your index finger with water on the far edge until the nori sheet is damp (this creates a “glue” to hold it all together).

Step 6

Finish rolling and press the wet edge onto the rest of the roll to complete.

Step 7

Lightly dampen your hand with water and run alongside the whole roll to allow the complete nori roll to become slightly damp (this makes it easier to cut).

Repeat above for the second nori sheet.

Additional Notes

You may either slice these rolls into small bite-size pieces with a very sharp knife or you may eat as 2 long rolls (which I normally do, especially for a quicker meal). Top with sesame seeds (optional) and use the reserved Secret Sauce for dipping. You can also serve this alongside a large salad and fermented veggies!

Experiment with adding in your own ingredients as well! Try adding brown rice, quinoa, other vegetables, or proteins like chicken, fish, etc., whatever floats your sushi boat (ha).

Share Your Recipes

Have you ever tried nori sheets or “experimented” with these? Have you made making your own sushi before? I’d love to hear your experiences and how you like to use nori below! And if you make them at home, I’d love to see on Instagram with #nutritionstripped.

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