Veggie Nori Rolls — A Great Travel Food

 In Recipes, Travel, Vegetable Dishes

Nori rolls are easy, tasty, and a great food for travel. I’ve made them the night before travel and taken them on airplanes, long car trips, and for picnics on the beach. They keep for a few hours outside of refrigeration, or longer in a cooler with some ice. If you are looking for a travel food that can keep for a few days without refrigeration, try my backpacker’s energy rice balls recipe.

My favorite veggie nori roll combination is fried tofu, avocado, carrots and mustard, but you can do a variety of foods including green onions, tempeh, asparagus, cucumber and sauerkraut. For a different seasoning, try umeboshi paste or tahini.


1 ½ cups short grain brown rice

1 ½ cups sweet brown rice (if you can’t find this, just use regular short grain brown rice)

6 cups water

¼ t sea salt

½ block firm tofu, cut into 1-inch thick strips

2 T safflower or avocado oil

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

½ avocado, cut into strips

Nori sheets

Mustard or umeboshi paste

Toasted sesame seeds


  1. Rinse rice and soak in 6 cups water for 3-5 hours or overnight.
  2. Measure the discarded soaking water, and place the same amount of fresh water in a pot with the rice.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and add salt.
  4. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Then remove from heat, keeping the lid on, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir with a wooden spoon to aerate. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy skillet. Once it is warm (it will lightly sizzle when you add a piece of tofu), add the tofu pieces one at a time.
  7. Cook the tofu on each side 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove and place on a paper towel to cool and drain.
  9. While the tofu is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it is at a rolling boil, add the carrots until bright in color, approximately 15 seconds. Remove and place on a plate to cool.
  10. To assemble the rolls, have the nori sheets, vegetables, tofu, seeds, mustard all easily accessible.
  11. Lay your sushi mat in front of you and place a sheet of nori on the mat, horizontally and shiny side down onto the mat.
  12. Wet your fingers, take ½ cup of rice and place it onto the sheet of nori, spreading it about ½ inch think. Make sure to place it all the way to the sides, but leave a ½-inch margin along the edge closest to you and 1-2 inch margin along the edge farthest from you.
  13. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of toasted seeds on the rice, then layer with a line of mustard or umeboshi paste.
  14. Layer the fried tofu, avocado and carrot on the rice.
  15. Using your thumbs on the outside of the sushi mat while your fingers curl over and steady the filling, gently roll the mat away from you – bringing the sheet of nori and contents with it.
  16. Continue to roll and release the sushi, while releasing the mat, so the mat doesn’t get caught up in the food.
  17. When you get to the edge of the nori, wet your finger and drag it along the exposed edge of nori. Continue rolling to seal the sushi.
  18. While the mat is over the sushi, gently press around to tighten the circular roll.
  19. Remove the mat and slice the roll in half with a wet vegetable knife. Then slice each half again, and again, to make pieces. It’s helpful to wet the edge of the knife prior to cutting each piece and to make sure you have a nice sharp knife.
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