Vegetarian Sushi Recipe (Veggie Spicy “Tuna” Rolls)

This Vegetarian Sushi Recipe creates veggie spicy “tuna” rolls made from tomatoes! They taste just like the classic sushi roll but are loaded with plant-based goodness.

There’s a certain level of accomplishment that comes from turning a regular ingredient or vegetables into something new and marvelous, like Mushroom Pate or Buffalo Tofu. The results can be so great that sometimes you can hardly tell you’re eating a plant!

In this recipe for Vegetarian Spicy “Tuna” Rolls, we’re swapping the raw tuna for marinated tomatoes! You’ll be amazed at how they taste and feel just like raw tuna. So tender and salty, it’s hard to believe simple Roma tomatoes can easily be transformed into something so close to real seafood.

With layers of tender tomato “tuna”, sushi rice, spicy mayonnaise, cucumber, and avocado, these tasty rolls are perfect for a fancy dinner or date night.

Vegetarian sushi rolls arranged on plate with bowl of spicy mayo.

Ingredients needed

  • Tomatoes – I use Roma tomatoes since they have more flesh and less seeds. The tomatoes are used to make the vegetarian “tuna” for this recipe.
  • Avocado + Cucumbers – Used to stuff the rolls.
  • Nori Sheets – These are the dried seaweed sheets that are used to roll up the sushi.
  • For the Marinade – Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger.
  • For the Sushi RiceSushi rice, rice vinegar, sugar, salt. Here’s how to make sushi rice in your rice cooker.
  • For the Spicy Sauce – Sriracha, mayonnaise (or veganaise), lemon juice, sesame oil.

How to make vegetarian sushi rolls

First, place the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. When the skin starts to peel, immediately transfer them to an ice bath. You can peel the skin from the tomatoes when they’re cool to the touch.

Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Cut them again into bite sized pieces and place them in a bowl with the marinade for at least 30 minutes.

While you wait for the tomatoes to marinate, cook the sushi rice on the stove or in a rice cooker or Instant Pot. Season it with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt when it’s ready.

Assemble the veggie sushi rolls by spreading some rice on a nori sheet. Spread the sriracha mayo on the rice and add cucumber, marinated tomato tuna, and avocado on top. Roll it up, then cut into even pieces using a sharp, wet knife.

Serve the rolls with spicy mayo or soy sauce for dipping and enjoy!

Sushi being assembled on rolling mat.


  • Filling Ideas – Not into tomatoes? Swap them out for some tofu, tempeh, crab (or krab for a vegetarian-friendly option), hearts of palm, or just leave them out entirely and add in more veggies. See above ⤴ for great options.
  • Sesame Seeds – Finish your rolls off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Sauce it! – Top your roll with one of these 15+ sauces for sushi.
  • Switch Up the Veggies – Try swapping out the avocado and cucumber for some sliced carrots, bell peppers, purple cabbage, green onions, radish, etc.

Recipe FAQs

Does tomato tuna taste like real tuna?

The two things that really help this tomato tuna taste like real sushi-grade tuna are the soft peeled tomatoes and a zesty marinade. Tomato sushi has a similar texture to tuna because it’s tender and a little slimy (in a good way, of course). Marinating the tomatoes in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger infuses the signature salty, “from the sea” flavor.

What is a spicy tuna roll?

This popular sushi roll is made with sushi-grade raw tuna, spicy mayonnaise, nori, sushi rice, and sometimes avocado. It’s a delicious, savory, and fatty roll with just the right amount of heat.

Can these be made vegan?

Easily! All you have to do to make a vegan sushi roll is replace the regular mayonnaise with a vegan alternative.

What to serve with them

Wine pairings

Vegetarian sushi rolls arranged on plate with bowl of spicy mayo.

More sushi recipes to try

More vegetarian recipes to try

Did you try this vegetarian sushi recipe?

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Vegetarian Sushi Rolls

Vegetarian Sushi Spicy “Tuna” Rolls are loaded with soft, luscious, and spicy “tuna” made from tomatoes! They taste just like the classic sushi roll but are loaded with plant-based goodness.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling & Marinade Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 rolls



Sushi Rice:

Spicy “Tuna Sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (or vegenaise)
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil



  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Using a paring knife, score a small X through the skin on the bottom of each tomato.
  • Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook until the skin starts to peel (about 3 minutes). Immediately transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water to chill and stop the cooking process.
  • Once cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel the tomatoes then cut them in half, remove the seeds, and cut them into bite sized pieces.


  • Combine the marinade mixture in a medium bowl.
  • Add the tomatoes to the marinade. Toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.


  • Bring rice and water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from heat and let rest while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Whisk vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves; drizzle over the rice and stir to combine.

Spicy “Tuna” Sauce:

  • Stir together sauce ingredients and set aside.

To Assemble:

  • Lay down a sheet of nori on a sushi mat or piece of saran wrap. Spread about ⅔ cup of the sushi rice over the nori, leaving about 1-inch clean on one end.
  • Spread the sriracha mayo across the rice, then top with cucumber, tomatoes and 2 slices of avocado.
  • Roll starting at the bottom and stop when you reach the bare strip at the top. Wet your fingers and run them along the bare edge, then continue rolling until sealed.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut into even pieces, about ¾ inch thick. Serve with additional spicy mayo and soy sauce on the side.


Nutrition calculation is per roll. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Large Pot
Medium Bowl
Sushi Rolling Mat or Saran Wrap


Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1154mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 626IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

This post was originally published in 2021. It was updated in 2022 to add new information and add-in ideas. The vegetarian sushi recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Vegetarian Sushi Recipe (Veggie Spicy “Tuna” Rolls)”

  1. 5 stars
    These turned out excellent! Very simple ingredients and super easy to put together. This was my first attempt at making sushi and my husband even loved them (and also didn’t know they were vegan)!


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