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Easy Brown Rice Sushi Balls {vegan + gluten-free}


sushi balls 1

This is one of those “it’s about time” posts, meaning I’ve had good intentions of posting about these yummy sushi snacks for some time. But doing so required me making and then photographing them while the sun was shining, so…here I am, months later, addressing the topic at last.

But perhaps the procrastination paid off, because this post works well as the launch of a week of lunch posts (lunch launch?) to get the “new year” off to a delicious start.

I cam up with these last January, fusing about 4 different recipes into one. The inspiration came from my sister-in-law’s cousin’s wife, Momo, who is a stellar Japanese cook. We were over at their house in the Bay Area for a New Year’s Day celebration and she gave me a quick tutorial on rolling vegetable sushi. Looking at my lumpy results, she said that it is perfectly acceptable to make sushi balls instead–simply add some fillings directly to the rice and roll into balls.  I’ve been balling it every since.

It’s really quite easy, and it’s a great way to use up leftover bits of vegetables.  Less than perfect balls are, ahem, still delicious (heavens, what a statement…on Sunday, no less. Rolling in sesame seeds adds flavor and crunch, but also disguises any imperfections.

You can also vary the fillings and the sesame coating in any way you like, or according to what you’ve got on hand.

sushi balls 2

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Brown Eice Sushi Balls

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: about 40 balls 1x


  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup seeded chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: thin strip of nori, moisten
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped pickled ginger


  1. Prepare the rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and add the vinegar mixture, stirring to combine. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature to cool.
  4. Add the carrots, cucumber, green onions and bell pepper, stirring to combine. Shape mixture into 1-1/4 inch balls and roll in sesame seeds. If desired, wrap with nori strips.
  5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


The balls keep well in airtight containers, refrigerated, up to three days.

Mea Culpa! Will be back to posting this weekend...
Easy Lunc

Cathee Conner

Thursday 4th of September 2008

Oh those look so cute and fun!


Tuesday 26th of August 2008

Hi Camilla,

These look fantastic! I'll be sure to tell Momo when we see her. I think I'll try these out with the boys. Miss you. - Sean


Tuesday 26th of August 2008

Those sushi balls are really cute. I like the textures and fun colors :).


Tuesday 26th of August 2008

That's so cool! What if one doesn't have a rice cooker? What's a good alternative?

Paul's mom & brother are coming this weekend. I'm going to make some panna cotta! They'll swoon.


Monday 25th of August 2008

What a great idea! Who said sushi coudn't be a round shape. I love your out-of-the box thinking. Thanks for the recipe.

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