Vegan California Sushi Roll, #International Food Challenge

California sushi rolls allegedly cropped up in LA’s Little Tokyo in the 1960s. The California roll is a made-in-America invention. Avocados with sushi, mayonnaise with tuna, canned Spam on white rice are creations of the West.

The Ninja Baker's California Sushi Rolls 

In ‘60s and ‘70s Japan, going to a sushi restaurant was like visiting a 3-Star Michelin restaurant in Paris. Every detail bowed its head to history and tradition. I remember fresh fish smells blending with the clean scent of purified Japanese stone gardens and bamboo. It was a very special outing. Raw fish with a spot of wasabi (a Japanese version of horseradish) was dipped into a soupçon of soy sauce. Today, the sky’s the limit. California rolls, spicy mayo, tempura sushi and all other strains of creativity are served…in creatively designed modern establishments with J-Pop music blaring!

California Sushi Rolls: What's your favorite sushi bar order?

Time has also danced in greater notoriety for sushi. When I arrived in LA, in the early '80s, sushi was the great intrigue of the day. Sushi restaurants were scattered here and there. Now sushi – and California rolls – are just about as ubiquitous in LA as Starbucks!

North America California Cuisine is this month's International Food Challenge.

What started me waltzing down memory lane was this month’s International Food Challenge of North America California Cuisine. The International Food Challenges are a joint effort of sharing passions for all world cuisines started by Sara from Sara’s Yummy Bites and Shobana from Kitchen Secrets and Snippets. Feel free to click on their Facebook Group which announces the events and challenges each month. (The next challenge will be announced on June 1.)

Each month, a different host is assigned; for this challenge, I would like to thank my darling Australian friend, Joanne of What’s On The List? You know how some people light up the room when they walk in? Well, coupled with her propensity for giggle evoking comments, Joanne has an enthusiasm for culinary endeavors which is positively contagious!

Flying around the culinary world with the
 International Food Challenge...and taking a bite out of the North America California Cuisine with vegan California sushi!

California sushi rolls are my contribution to the North America California Cuisine challenge. The contrast of the creamy avocado slices and the crunchy cucumbers, the sweet carrots and seasoned rice all combine to make a very happy-making bite!  Hope you have fun with this tasty challenge, too.

Vegan California Sushi Roll

A mosaic of flavors and textures are embraced in this vegan California sushi roll. If you like a bit of protein, add crab meat. It plays very well with crunchy veggies and creamy avocado.

Methods for making California sushi rolls may differ but the result is always tasty. Here’s another recipe that could be helpful. You choose.

This recipe is inspired by the Low Fat Vegan Chef.


For 1 sushi roll:

  • 1½ cups cooked white short grain sushi rice (You'll have lots leftover if you make only one sushi roll.)
  • 1 sheet dried seaweed nori (or soy paper)
  • ¾ tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • (or ¾ tablespoon rice vinegar plus a sprinkling of sugar and pinch of salt)
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced and steamed
  • 1 medium Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced (or an English cucumber)
  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced


  • Wrap up your sushi bamboo-rolling mat with plastic wrap.
  • Keep a small bowl of water available to wet your fingers.

1. Smother a very thin layer of rice onto the mat.
2. Cover with nori.
3. Insert the veggies.
4. Using the plastic wrap, gently roll up the rice, nori and veggies.
5. Slice and do some California dreamn.’

Wishing you challenges which delight your mind and taste buds!

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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