Fried Tofu, Eggplant and Zucchini Sushi Maki

By contributor Megan Stulberg

Two of my favourite things are vegetables and rice, so naturally I love sushi. There are only so many gluten-free/vegan take-out options though (I’m getting sick of cucumber rolls), so I decided to make something more interesting instead.

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  • 2 cups sushi rice (organic)
  • 4 pieces seaweed
  • 1 standard package firmly-pressed tofu (organic)
  • 1 medium avocado, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Dash of red-pepper chili flakes
  • Dash of Himalayan pink salt
  • Dash of black pepper

Other supplies you’ll need: One standard bamboo rolling mat + chopsticks.


  1. Wash rice in cold water thoroughly. Bring hot water to a boil with the rice already in the pot. Cook covered for 20 minutes until water has been entirely absorbed and rice is sticky in consistency. If the rice is too hard, add water by the teaspoon and continue cooking. Be careful not to add too much water! I did the first time and it got so mushy that I had to start over. Fluff cooked rice with fork and set aside.
  2. Slice tofu into thin strips. Marinate in soy sauce and nutritional yeast for 10 minutes. In medium saucepan, heat a dash of EVOO until it sizzles. Sprinkle tofu with garlic and onion while cooking, and fry tofu until texture is very firm. Set aside.
  3. Cut zucchini and eggplant vertically into very thin, long strips. Pan-fry on medium heat in EVOO and add red pepper flakes, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables have browned, then set aside.
  4. Line your bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap to avoid making a big mess and place a glass of water next to your work station. Important: Wait for your vegetables and rice to cool, otherwise the rest of this process will be harder than it needs to be!
  5. Lay the rolling mat flat and place a couple spoonfuls of rice onto the middle of the sheet. Wet fingers and pat rice lightly down into a thin even layer. The rice doesn’t have to go right to the edges — basically, try to create a rectangular section of rice within the rectangular piece of seaweed 1/4 inch from the edge.
  6. Align the tofu strips, eggplant, zucchini and avocado into a very thin horizontal line at the bottom of the rice. Be careful not to overfill. I combined all of my ingredients at once but you can do designated avocado rolls, eggplant rolls, and so on if you’d prefer.
  7.  Tightly roll the seaweed sheet from the bottom, using the mat to press it together. Keep going, squeezing the roll to prevent it from falling apart. Dab a bit of water on the edge of the seaweed to seal it.
  8. Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into bite-size pieces. Wet the knife between cuts to keep it clean. Important: Having trouble doing this right? Use this easy guide here to help.
  9. Keep rolling! Make as much as you’d like and get creative with your fillings.

Serve with gluten-free soy sauce and eat with chopsticks.

Makes approximately 4 rolls (2 servings).

Onigiri: Vegan & Gluten-Free

Post by Aine Davis

Like most people who grew up in the ’90s, I watched a lot of anime as a kid. What I remember most vividly was the food the characters ate.  I salivated while watching my favourite characters bite into delicious dumplings, sushi, maki rolls and cakes.

But as a young vegetarian, I knew I’d never be able to bite into a delicious Japanese savoury pork bun.  So I did what any mature seven-year-old would do: I moved on.

Recently, I rediscovered my love for anime…oops! But this time, I had more tools at my hands, and I came up with a recipe for one of the most delicious Japanese foods: onigiri! “Onigiri” is the Japanese term for triangular rice balls traditionally wrapped in seaweed.


What I love and admire about Japanese food is that most dishes are fresh and healthy. Minimal ingredients are used without using many spices or herbs, which allows each ingredient to shine.





  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Pinch of cilantro, to taste
  • 2 scallion leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 standard avocado, cubed*
  • 1/2 standard cucumber, cubed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, optional

Directions for Preparation:

  1. Steam rice. I used this helpful guide for the perfect sushi rice. Do not stir rice until fully cooked.
  2. Once rice has steamed, pour in rice wine vinegar. Move rice to a larger bowl and set aside. Let cool.
  3. Dice garlic, cilantro and scallions, and cut cucumber and avocado into small chunks. Immediately dress avocado with lemon juice so it does not spoil. *See photographed guide below photo guide below on how to properly cut an avocado.
  4. Toast sesame seeds. Place on a baking tray and put in oven at low heat. Let toast about 10 minutes or until seeds become fragrant.
  5. Once rice has cooled, begin to assemble the onigiri!

Use the photos below as a guide.

Directions for how to extract avocado:


Cut avocado around the seed, split halves and extract seed with knife. Throw seed away. Slice squares into the avocado halves, but be sure not to break through the skin.


Using a large spoon, slide spoon between the avocado meat and the skin. Scoop!


Pop the avocado out of the skin. Boom!

Directions for Onigiri Assembly: 

  1. If the rice mixture is not sticky to touch, add a splash more rice vinegar.
  2. Spread out a large piece of plastic wrap evenly on cutting board.
  3. Add a large spoonful to the middle of the plastic wrap.
  4. Layer avocado, scallions, garlic, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Add another spoonful of rice on top of vegetables.

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5.  Fold the four sides of saran wrap upwards, like this:


6. Pinch the top in one hand…


7. Spin the rice ball until the cling wrap is tight and the rice is closely packed.


8. Shape the ball into a triangle. Unwrap from cling wrap carefully and roll in sesame seeds.


Ta da! Serve with gluten-free soy sauce if desired. Makes 4 servings.