Make This, Don’t Buy That — Sushi

In the second installment of Make This, Don’t Buy That I tried my hand at sushi.  Prior to becoming a vegetarian I could be seen eating sushi by the truckload

Sheets of Nori

and never getting sick of it.  When I moved to Dallas I was worried there would be no good sushi restaurants in the city since it was a landlocked metropolis and couldn’t figure out how the fish would be fresh.

After becoming a vegetarian eating sushi was a dream and not because of the fish but also because of the cost.  Sushi can get expensive very fast at a quality restaurant, and really that is the only place you should eat sushi.  Too dangerous to eat it at a hole in the wall.

So after much contemplating I came up with the idea that I could make my own sushi.  That it did not have to have white rice, which I don’t eat.  I did not have to have brown rice either but another grain.  Quinoa immediately jumped into my brain.  So the next thought was what type of roll could I make?  Fish was out so what else?  Seitan didn’t make much sense.  Pure vegetables were too easy and so I wanted to challenge myself.

That is when the lightbulb went off.  Besides eating sushi all the time, I used to eat chicken wings even more.  So how about a buffalo style sushi roll?  Then I  thought about the fact that I live in Tex-Mex country so why not a Mexican sushi roll?

Well last night I decided to give it a go (really my second try but we don’t talk about the first one in our house) and it turned out amazing.  I mean truly amazing.  The rolls were so tasty and while my rolling skills need some help and there are some tweaks to making the roll the recipe is spot on and delicious.

Buffalo Tempeh Roll

Ingredients: 2 sheets of Nori, Sticky Quinoa, 1/2 carrot (julienned), 1/2 celery (julienned), 3oz of Gorgonzola Cheese, hot sauce (I used tabasco), Buffalo Tempeh

Servings: You should get 4-5 pieces from each sheet of Nori


  1. Layout one sheet of Nori on a bamboo sushi mat with shiny side down.
  2. Place sticky quinoa onto nori and spread leaving room at the top of the nori empty to help in rolling.
  3. Place buffalo tempeh (recipe is below) along bottom of nori on top of sticky quinoa
  4. Layer carrots and celery across tempeh.
  5. Sprinkle gorgonzola on top and then add as much or as little hot sauce as you desire.
  6. Roll to create a sushi roll and then cut into pieces.

Ingredients for both rolls. Easy to assemble.


Mexican Roll

Ingredients: 2 sheets of Nori, Sticky Quinoa, 1/4″ red onion (cut into strips), 1/2 can of black beans (rinsed and drained), avocado, cilantro

Servings: You should get 4-5 pieces from each sheet of Nori


  1. Layout one sheet of Nori on a bamboo sushi mat with shiny side down.
  2. Place sticky quinoa onto nori and spread leaving room at the top of the nori empty to help in rolling.
  3. Place red onion, avocado, black beans and cilantro at bottom of nori.
  4. Roll to create a sushi roll and then cut into pieces.


Sticky Quinoa

Ingredients: 1 cup of quinoa (rinsed and drained), 2c water, 3Tbs Soy Sauce, 1Tbs Honey, 1Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar


  1. Place cleaned quinoa into a pot.
  2. Combine water and soy sauce and then pour over quinoa.
  3. Bring quinoa to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
  4. Allow quinoa to absorb all the water
  5. Remove from pot and place in glass bowl.
  6. Add in vinegar and honey and combine well.
  7. Allow quinoa to cool down for approximately 30 minutes before starting to assemble the rolls.

Buffalo Tempeh

Ingredients: 1 pkg Tempeh (cut into 8 triangles), 1c vegetable stock, 1tbs dried oregano, hot sauce


  1. Steam tempeh for 5-10 minutes to open its pores.
  2. Place tempeh and dried oregano into a bowl and marinate in vegetable stock for 15 mintues
  3. After marinating heat up a non-stick skillet and add in tempeh and vegetable stock.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes as you see the stock start to evaporate.
  5. Turn up the heat at this point and allow stock to boil.
  6. Once boiling add in the hot sauce (as much as you like for heat purposes) and cook 3 minutes each side while sauce sizzles.
  7. Remove and pour remaining sauce over the top of tempeh


Mexican Roll on the left, Buffalo Tempeh roll on the right


Any suggestions for other types of rolls that we can make in the CTER kitchen?

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  1. How creative!! That mexican roll sounds fantastic! I’m not a fan of the buffalo flavor, but I’m definitely intrigued about using quinoa instead of rice :) Thanks Jason!!
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  2. regina says:

    These look pretty yummy. I am a huge Sushi fan. I could eat nori all day long…ok, maybe half a day. If you are ever feeling decadent and want a yummy, savory treat and if you like mochi, I have something for you! take a sheet of nori and toast it over your stove’s burner, you just run it through the flame quickly 3-4 times on both sides and then fold it into strips, 3-4. then take the mochi block (found in asian – maybe health food – stores) and put it in a pan (no need for oil or anything) and heat it turning it over a few times until it gets toasted on each side and soft all the way through (I usually poke it with my finger tips to make sure). when it is finished touch each side in a shallow dish of soy sauce, just enough to coat each side then wrap it in the nori. Mochi Sandwich! So yummy!

    • Jason says:

      That sounds awesome. We have a huge Asian local market right down the street from us and I will need to head there to get more Nori at this point since I used it all with my first failure at making my own sushi and this successful attempt.

      Thanks for the information.

  3. lindsay says:

    this is so cool! i love sushi…. mmm. love that you made your own. i don’t think i’m talented enough.
    lindsay recently posted..may 2011My Profile

    • Jason says:

      You are definitely talented enough to make this. The creating of the sushi is not hard. The rolling was the hard part.

  4. Hm. Now that I think about this, I’ve never had a atypical sushi roll before.
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  5. Jon says:

    A+ post!!! Ate sushi last night. One reason why I would be afraid to leave the NYC area is fear of losing quality sushi. Try out a Sweet Potato Tempura roll. Holy mother of tastiness! Or a peanut avocado roll.
    Jon recently posted..Tri Ridgefield Sprint Race Report I won my Age Group!My Profile

    • Jason says:

      Awesome ideas on the other rolls. They sound awesome and I have sweet potatoes as well as tempura flour. Looks like that could be made very soon. And a peanut avocado roll is easy as well since I have both of those ingredients. Thanks for the ideas. Sent you a link on Twitter regarding the IM NJ/NY.

  6. Laura says:

    oh how i have missed buffalo “stuff” and sushi since becoming a vegetarian…..MUST try this!!!! thanks!!!!
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  7. Laura says:

    Amazing post…I have a serious sushi addiction. I love the idea of using quinoa instead of rice..and the sweet potato idea is a great one.

  8. B.o.B. says:

    I had to google what tempeh was. Hee hee… But everything does look amazing. I’m so impressed with your cookie skills. I usually burn toast. LOL!
    B.o.B. recently posted..Bringing sexy backMy Profile

  9. How fun! My husband and I love sushi and have made homemade sushi several times. But, we always use sushi rice. I will definitely have to try the quinoa..what a great idea!!
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  10. Well done!!! I passed on your blog to my friend who looking for healthy recipes. IMMEDIATELY thought of my TAAN friend!
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  11. Kevin says:

    Can’t do sushi. Don’t know why – maybe texture. Which is the problem I have with figs too I guess. If the texture doesn’t agree with, it doesn’t matter how good the food tastes.

    Glad you were successful this time around though. It’s always fun to make something you would normally have to buy.
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  12. Jim says:

    I’ve always sworn I would eat more sushi, but everytime I try it, I’m not impressed. Probably a midwest thing. It would most likely be better on one of the coasts, but you might push me over the top with this post!

  13. jon says:

    Baha…very nice post…may prompt me to actually get back to trying sushi again

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