Crispy and Spicy Japanese Vegan Tofu Sushi Bowls With Tempura and Veggies

These crispy and spicy sushi bowls are packed with all the good stuff we love in sushi—crispy asparagus, spicy sriracha mayo, lightly pickled fresh veggies, and cool creamy avocado. This combination is SO unbelievably good, you won’t feel deprived. (Honestly, this sushi bowl tastes as good as it looks!)

There are hardly words to describe how much I love sushi. When my son, Zach, and I go on a ‘foodie adventure,’ we almost always end up at a sushi place. He orders Spider and Dragon Rolls. My vegan sushi can be hit or miss—sometimes great, sometimes bland and boring, since yummy stuff like sriracha mayo and tempura isn’t usually vegan.

Making your own sushi bowl at home is loads cheaper than eating sushi out. And crispy spicy sushi bowls are healthier than traditional sushi, too, with whole-grain brown rice (there’s a neat little trick to make it taste like more sushi rice) and baked, panko-breaded asparagus rather than fried tempura.

Even if you’ve never attempted sushi, you can feel confident tackling this recipe since there aren’t any frustrating rolls to try to keep intact. Is it easy? There’s a good amount of active prep time here, but it’s really just like a few mini recipes in one. If you follow the instructions step by step, it flows pretty quickly. (I suggest reading the entire recipe including the helpful hints in the notes before starting.)

In fact, because it’s a few easy recipes in one, crispy spicy sushi bowls would be a perfect dinner to make with friends. So next time your v-gang is in the mood for sushi, invite them over to your place to make crispy spicy sushi bowls!

Or make a gorgeous date-night sushi bowl for two, like this one.

Vegan Deconstructed Crispy, Spicy Tofu Bowls for a Japanese-Inspired Lunch

Category: Dinner & Mains, Recipes

Servings: 6

Crispy and Spicy Japanese Vegan Tofu Sushi Bowls With Tempura and Veggies


  • 2 cups short grain brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 avocados, thinly sliced (see notes)
    Pickled Veggies:
  • 3 cups loosely packed carrot peels (about 3-4 carrots, see notes)
  • 3 cups loosely packed Daikon radish peels (about 1 6-inch radish)
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded/cored and thinly sliced into rings (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown rice syrup or other unrefined sweetener
    Panko-Crusted Asparagus:
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, ends trimmed (about 18 spears)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed, mixed with 6 tablespoons of water and allowed to set for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (use GF breadcrumbs if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil or cooking spray/oil (if not using parchment paper. Omit if oil free)
    Sriracha Mayo:
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 packet nori snacks or nori sheets (see notes)
  • Sesame seeds (black or white)
  • Soy sauce (or liquid aminos if GF)
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled ginger


  1. Cook rice according to directions. When it's cooked (about 30 minutes), set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed and 6 tablespoons of water, and allow to set for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. For the pickled veggies: In a medium bowl or plastic container, whisk together 1 cup of water, the rice vinegar, sea salt and brown rice syrup. Add the carrot peels, daikon radish peels and jalapeno, pushing them down into the liquid. Allow them to rest for at least 15 minutes. (See notes) When ready, drain the veggies BUT RESERVE THE LIQUID.
  5. For the panko crusted asparagus: Set up a breading station for the asparagus, with the flax mixture in one dish and the panko bread crumbs in another. (Flat plastic storage containers or pie dishes work well.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat lightly with oil/cooking spray. Bread the asparagus spears one at a time, and place them on the baking sheet, spreading them out. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until tender and golden brown.
  6. For the sriracha mayo: In a small bowl, combine the vegan mayonnaise, sriracha and rice vinegar and whisk together. Adjust for desired spiciness/thickness.
  7. For sushi flavored rice: Stir 1/2 cup to 1 cup of reserved pickling solution into the cooled brown rice.
  8. Peel, pit and thinly slice the avocados.
  9. To assemble the sushi bowls, evenly divide the ingredients into bowls, with rice on the bottom, and pickled veggies and avocado slices on top. Drizzle with sriracha mayo.
  10. Optional: Garnish with sesame seeds, nori sheets (on the side, or crumbled on top). Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger if desired.


As the carrots get skinny from peeling and hard to hold, its easiest to lay them down on the cutting board and peel. To create the jalapeno rings, I cut the top and bottom off the peppers, then used a small paring knife to cut around the core to sever it. You can poke your pinky finger into the pepper to get core out once you've separated it with the knife. Then, I sliced the peppers into rings. The veggies become more pickled AND spicier the longer they sit. If you don't like heat, pickle the jalapenos separately or skip them altogether. For more heat/pickled flavor, let the veggies marinate up to an hour. Make sure all of the veggies get mixed/pushed down into the liquid-stir from time to time if needed. I suggest slicing the avocado at the end to prevent it from turning brown. Nori snacks are cheap and easy to find-1 individual snack package can garnish the entire recipe! Make sure to check labels and find some that aren't too salty.

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Deconstructed Crispy, Spicy Tofu Bowls for a Japanese-Inspired Lunch


Amount Per Serving
Calories 524
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

This recipe was republished with permission from Elizabeth Shah, Healthy Midwestern Girl.

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