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Brown Rice Sushi Salad {vegan, gluten-free}

Think of brown rice sushi salad as a deconstructed vegetarian sushi roll. Instead of rolling sweet vinegar rice and fillings into sheets of nori seaweed, toss the flavored rice and sushi fillings along wth little slivers of nori and turn it into a tangy slightly sweet salad!

Brown Rice Sushi Salad in bowl on sushi mat with chopsticks | Letty's Kitchen

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Though it’s not a major ingredient and this salad will be plenty tasty without it, let’s bless shiso for inspiring this recipe.  In sushi restaurants, you may have seen the green aromatic jagged-edge shiso used as a vessel for the wasabi condiment.

A lot of grocery stores have sushi takeout, “prepared fresh daily.” Do a double take on the thin jagged-edged green plastic things that separate the pieces of sushi in the to-go containers–it’s fake shiso!

So when shiso, a cousin of mint and basil, aka “Japanese basil”, came in our weekly farm share box,  I decided to make a shiso sushi salad.

Say it aloud. Brown rice shiso sushi salad. Quickly. Shiso sushi salad. Holy shiso, that’s a tongue twister! And a tongue pleaser, with shiso leaf, avocado slices, carrot matchsticks, cucumber, nori ribbons, pink pickled ginger, and spicy wasabi dressing. Short grain brown rice brings in nutty whole grain texture and flavor.

Shiso leaves, whole and cut for Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad


ingredients for Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad

Ask at farmer’s markets and Asian food stores for shiso. If you can’t find the fresh leaves, substitute mint or fresh basil, or skip the fresh herb entirely. Shiso is the bonus… The essentials in this salad are the flavored rice and everything else sushi. Shiso sushi salad is seductive even without shiso. Just as delicious, and less alliterative.

Ingredients needed for Brown Rice Sushi Salad:

  • Look for the usual sushi ingredients, pickled ginger, wasabi, rice vinegar, mirin, nori seaweed sheets, and white sushi rice in supermarket international aisles. Find sushi ingredients at natural food grocers too, as well as short grain brown rice. (The highlighted ingredients are Amazon affiliate links.)
  • Feel free to add high protein sushi possibilities like toasted sesame seeds, cooked edamame beans, and/or cubes of Asian teriyaki baked tofu.
  • I thought sweet brown rice would be perfect in sushi salad. Not. Cooked using one part water: one part rice, sweet brown rice was super sticky–even the wasabi and rice vinegar didn’t separate the grains. I tested this recipe with long grain brown rice too—for brown rice shiso sushi salad, regular short grain brown wins out.

You might also like this Curried Brown Rice and Veggie Salad!

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Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad
Brown Rice Sushi Salad {vegan, gluten-free}
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins

Enjoy this wonderful sushi inspired salad as a side dish, or, add extra protein, like edamame or tofu, and serve as a main course salad on a warm Indian summer day. A simple miso soup would complement this salad nicely. Makes 6 to 8 servings

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Keyword: sushi, salad, nori, shiso
Servings: 8 8 servings
Calories: 171 kcal
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or grapeseed oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed
  • 5 or 6 shiso leaves , washed, if available
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger (see note)
  • 1 small cucumber , peeled, seeds removed and sliced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 or 2 carrots , cut in matchsticks
  • 2 or 3 green onions , with tops, thinly sliced
  • 1 sliced avocado
  1. Place the brown rice in a bowl with water and swish it around. Drain and rinse. Bring the water and the first 2 teaspoons of tamari to a boil. Add the rice, return to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting possible. Cook without stirring, 50 to 55 minutes. (To check if the liquid has been absorbed or not, tilt the pan to the side.) Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar with the wasabi powder. Mix in the mirin, agave syrup, oil and salt. Gently stir the dressing into the rice.
  3. Using scissors, cut the nori sheet lengthwise in quarters, then in small strips, ¼-inch x 1 ½-inch.
  4. Trim the shiso leaves, stack them one on the other and roll them up, cigarette fashion. Slice the shiso roll into thin widths, about 1/6th of an inch. (Cutting herbs like this is called chiffonade.)
  5. Add the nori and shiso to the rice. Add the pickled ginger, cucumber, carrots and green onions; mix well.
  6. Refrigerate until well chilled.
  7. To serve, sprinkle avocado slices with the remaining tamari and arrange on top of the salad.

Recipe Notes
  • If you love wasabi spice, add a little more to the dressing. The same with pickled ginger, feel free to double the amount.
  • Add high protein sushi possibilities to your salad. Sometimes I sprinkle in toasted sesame seeds, sometimes cooked edamame beans, and on occasion, cubes of Asian teriyaki baked tofu.
Nutrition Facts
Brown Rice Sushi Salad {vegan, gluten-free}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Sodium 274mg12%
Potassium 272mg8%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 1385IU28%
Vitamin C 4.9mg6%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • This sounds amazing. I’ve heard about Shiso for years but haven’t ever seen it anywhere in Utah. Reply · 31 August, 2014

  • Beautiful salad and I’m sure delicious. Brown rice is so good at soaking up flavors while still holding onto its nutty charm. GREG Reply · 2 September, 2014

  • Thanks Amy for including my brown rice sushi salad in your roundup of vegetarian sushi recipes! Reply · 16 August, 2016

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