Vegan Lemon Tofu Sushi Rolls with Cucumber
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Lemon Tofu Sushi

This plant-based sushi features slices of crisp cucumber and meaty tofu cutlet, wrapped in rice and nori with a tangy lemon cashew butter. The texture and flavor contrasts make it refreshing and fun to eat.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Fusion, Japanese
Servings: 4 rolls
Author: Thomas

Equipment

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1 rice cooker cup short grain rice 180 milliliters, 6 fluid ounces
  • 2 Tablespoons sushi vinegar see note

Lemon-Cashew Butter

  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or store-bought cashew butter, see note
  • 1/2 Tablespoon miso
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons water

Other Ingredients

  • 2 sheets nori (8-inch 20-centimeter square), cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 large cucumber seeds removed
  • 1 House Foods Tofu Cutlet

Instructions

Prepare the rice

  • Cook the rice using the “sushi” setting on your rice cooker. When the cooking is complete, transfer the rice to a large plate and spread it out to cool to room temperature. When the rice has cooled, transfer it to a bowl and stir in the sushi vinegar. Cover the bowl if you need to leave the rice unattended for any length of time. You can prepare the other ingredients while the rice cooks.

Cut the tofu cutlet and cucumber

  • Drain any residual liquid from the tofu package and dry the tofu block. Cut the tofu into long strips, about 1/4 inch (1/2 centimeter) on each of the shorter sides.
  • Cut the cucumber into strips that are 8 inches (20 centimeter) long and 1/4 inch (1/2 centimeter) wide and thick.

Prepare the lemon-cashew butter

  • Combine all the ingredients for the cashew butter in a food processor. Blend until texture is consistent and all ingredients are well integrated. If using cashew butter instead of whole cashews (see note below) you can combine the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or whisk if you prefer.

Set up the rolling station

  • Place the bamboo sushi mat on the counter, oriented so that the bamboo pieces run horizontally in front of you. Cut a piece of plastic wrap slightly longer than the bamboo mat. Tuck the plastic wrap under the end of the mat closest to you. Place the bowl of rice, a small bowl of sushi vinegar, the lemon cashew butter, cut tofu and cucumber, sesame seeds, and nori nearby.

Roll the sushi

  • Place a piece of nori (they should be cut into 8x4 inch / 20x10 centimeter sheets) on the plastic-wrap-covered bamboo mat. The nori should be positioned with the long side toward you and within 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) of the edge of the mat.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup of the prepared sushi rice and use your hands to spread it as evenly as possible onto the nori. Dip your fingers in the bowl of vinegar if the rice sticks to your hands too much. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly across the rice. Gently press down on the rice to ensure it will stick to itself and to the nori.
  • Carefully flip the sheet of nori so that the rice is now on the bottom. The rice should more or less stay attached to the nori and in an even layer.
  • Place 1-2 pieces of cucumber and 2-4 pieces of tofu on the edge of the nori closest to you. The quantity will depend on preference and the physical capacity of the roll. You can always remove pieces if you’ve overfilled it, but try to get a feel for how much this size piece of nori can contain. Spread about 1 Tablespoon of the lemon cashew butter across the cucumber and tofu.
  • Lift the edge of the bamboo mat closest to you and carefully pull it over the sushi ingredients. You should hold onto the plastic wrap so that it stays taut against the mat. Apply pressure to the roll so that it rolls as tightly as possible, with no empty space. Also, be careful not to press too hard because doing so will smash the rice and displace the cashew butter. Roll gradually, pulling back periodically, until the roll is relatively round. See the video link in the blog post for a better idea of the process.
  • Wrap the plastic wrap around the roll and set it aside for now. Prepare the other rolls in the same way.

Cut the rolls

  • Set up a cutting board with a damp paper towel on the side. Unwrap the first roll and place the plastic wrap on top of it and press it down so that it hugs the length of the roll. Hold the roll in place using your non-knife hand. Use the sharpest knife you have to cut the roll in half, using short and gentle back-and-forth strokes. You will be cutting through the plastic wrap and the roll. Do not press into the roll. Continue cutting the halves in half until you have 8 pieces per roll. Wipe the knife blade clean every 2-3 cuts so that the edge is fully exposed and you get clean cuts. Cut the other rolls the same way.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

The sushi vinegar prescribed here contains kombu (kelp), sugar, and salt. Either make sure you’re using this kind or make your own sushi vinegar at home (see blog posts for links to resources).
You can substitute store-bought cashew butter for the whole roasted cashews. If you do, reduce the amount by 25% (i.e. use 3 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup in the base recipe)
As always, you can adjust the quantity by clicking the number of servings and dragging the slider.
You can prepare the lemon cashew butter in advance. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container.
The assembled (cut or uncut) sushi will keep in the fridge for up to two days, though the texture of the rice becomes hard when chilled. It will taste better and have a better mouthfeel if you let it warm at room temperature for half an hour before eating.