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Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad {vegan, gluten-free}

Say it aloud. Brown rice shiso sushi salad. Quickly. Shiso sushi salad. Holy shiso, that’s a tongue twister. It’s also a tongue pleaser, this salad of shiso shreds, avocado slices, carrot matchsticks, cucumber, green nori ribbons, pink pickled ginger and a spicy wasabi dressing.

Brown Rice Sushi Salad | Letty's Kitchen


Bless shiso for this recipe, though it’s not a major ingredient and the salad will be plenty tasty without shiso. I’ve seen the aromatic jagged-edge green leaf, a cousin of mint and basil, used as a green wasabi vessel in restaurants, so when the surprise herb, also known as Japanese basil, came in our CSA box, it made total sense to invent shiso sushi salad.

Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad

Since sushi salad has been on my mind, I’ve noticed that every grocery around now has sushi takeout, “prepared fresh daily.” I did 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.

Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad

Think of this salad a vegetarian sushi roll, deconstructed. Instead of spreading the sweet vinegar rice and your favorite sushi roll fillings in olive green nori, toss them, along with the nori, into tangy/sweet salad. The difference is short grain brown rice, which brings nutty whole grain texture and flavor.

Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad

Ask at farmer’s markets and Asian food stores for shiso, but if you can’t find the fresh leaves, don’t worry. Shiso is a bonus—the essentials are the flavored rice and everything else sushi. Shiso sushi salad is seductive even without shiso. Just as delicious, and less alliterative.

Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad Details:

  • 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 links for mail order.)
  • Feel free to 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.
  • 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.

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Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad
Brown Rice Shiso 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.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 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 flavorless oil (grapeseed or canola)
  • ½ teaspoon Real 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 the avocado slices with the remaining tamari and arrange the slices 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.


  • 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

  • […] to cook the rice beforehand if you don’t have a stash of leftover rice, like I did from testing brown rice sushi salad recipes. Why not make some ahead and have it in the freezer? When zucchini talks, you’ll be in […] Reply · 17 September, 2015

  • […] Brown Rice Shiso Sushi Salad by Letty’s Kitchen […] Reply · 15 August, 2016

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

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