Once you learn how to master sushi rolling, this is a perfect light lunch you can whip up in no time. The sesame miso spinach salad (goma-ae) is particularly delicious with its tangy dressing.

Sesame Miso Spinach Salad (Goma-ae) and Vegetable Sushi [Vegan]





  • 2 1/2 tablespoon toasted ground sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine
  • Drop of maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons water
  • 5-ounce package spinach
  • Whole sesame seeds (for sprinkling on top)
Sushi Vinegar:
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup short grain brown rice (this is enough rice to make about 4 rolls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (wheat-free tamari for gluten sensitivities)
  • 1 cup water
Sushi Roll:
  • 2 small cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • Sesame seeds
  • 2 nori sheets


To Make the Rice:
  1. Rinse rice well. Place rice, water, and soy sauce in a pot and bring to boil. Once boiling turn heat down to simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and no water remains (use a fork to peek at the pot bottom to check if all of the water has been absorbed). Let sit, covered, for ten minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside to cool. While your rice is finishing, make the goma-ae.
To Make the Goma-ae:
  1. Steam spinach, drain well, and place in refrigerator to cool completely. Place a towel around the spinach to allow it to continue draining. If there is too much moisture the sesame dressing won't coat the spinach leaves.
  2. Toast 3-4 tablespoons of unhulled (more nutritious) sesame seeds. While they are still warm grind small batches with a mortar and pestle. If you try to grind too many at once you will reduce the effectiveness of the mortar and pestle. Reserve left over seeds to top the goma-ae and sushi rolls.
  3. Combine ground sesame seeds, rice wine, maple syrup, miso, and water until you have a consistent mixture that is slightly thick but pourable. Add water gradually to achieve this consistency.
  4. Mix sauce into spinach. Use your hands to thoroughly coat the spinach. Steamed spinach has a tendency to clump. Make sure you separate the leaves sufficiently so everything is dressed evenly. Sprinkle whole sesame seeds over the top. Place back in the fridge while you prepare your sushi rice and rolls.
To Make the Sushi Rice:
  1. It is very helpful to have a kitchen scale. A useful guideline for the proportion of sushi vinegar to rice: 12 percent of the weight of the cooked rice equals the amount of sushi vinegar to use. If you don't have a scale and you make the amount of rice that I specify above, you are going to need about 1/3 cup of sushi vinegar. Taste and adjust as necessary. While the rice is warm the taste of the vinegar will be stronger, so keep that in mind.
  2. To mix the sushi vinegar into the rice, stir and fan the rice. This will help remove excess moisture from the rice. Continue mixing until all of the sushi vinegar is incorporated (1-2 minutes).
To Assemble the Sushi Roll:
  1. Cover a sushi mat completely (front and back) with plastic wrap.
  2. Slice a sheet of nori in half. Place half a sheet toward the base of the mat. Cover the sheet with a single layer of room temperature rice. Gently flip the sheet over (rice touching plastic wrap and nori facing you).*
  3. On the lower third of the nori sheet place your sliced avocado and cucumber. About three pieces of each. If you like spice, you can add a line of wasabi before rolling.
  4. Roll gently, but firmly, pushing down as you roll forward. Slice your roll in half, then slice each section into thirds. Use a sharp knife and slice in one definitive slice. It helps if the cutting edge of the blade is slightly wet.
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the rolls and serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and goma-ae.


*This preparation is for an "inside-out" roll where the rice is on the outside of the nori. If you want to make a roll with nori on the outside don't flip the nori sheet over. If this is your first time rolling sushi, I recommend making it with the rice inside.