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Vegan Kale and Black Sesame Sushi Bowl

This is clean food. Nutty brown sushi rice provides the comforting base for a colorful, satisfying bowl of crisp, zingy,...

Vegan Kale and Black Sesame Sushi Bowl

This is clean food. Nutty brown sushi rice provides the comforting base for a colorful, satisfying bowl of crisp, zingy, taste-popping flavors. It’s the kind of food I crave for a weekday lunch when I need sustenance for running around. There are a couple of Japanese places in London where they do a bento box full of rice, avocado, and seaweed, which I often pick up on the fly.

If I’m at home, though, or if I have time the night before, I make this; it’s as good cold as it is warm. I have written the recipe to serve two but you can double it for a dinner for four — it’s a perfectly complete one-bowl light dinner on a sunny day.

Black sesame seeds are pretty dark blue-black seeds and have a distinct, deeper sesame taste than their white counterparts. Black sesame seeds are high in both vitamin E and antioxidants. I buy black sesame seeds from Chinese or Japanese food stores or spice shops. If you can’t find them, just use some well-toasted white ones instead. — Anna Jones, author of A Modern Way to Eat.


“Reprinted with permission from A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes by Anna Jones, copyright © 2015Brian Ferry. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.” Photography credit: Aya Brackett © 2014

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For the sushi bowl:

  • 1 Cup brown sushi rice (or regular brown rice)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 handfuls frozen edamame beans (without the pods, about 4 ounces)
  • 1 good-sized pomegranate
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • 2 big handfuls of kale or other leafy greens, stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
  • 4 sheets of nori seaweed, torn into bits
  • 2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • Small bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 avocado, halved and sliced

For the dressing:

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Grated zest and juice of ½ an unwaxed orange
  • 1 Tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon Japanese rice vinegar


For the sushi bowl:

Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water to get rid of some of the starch, then place it in a pan with a pinch of salt and cover with twice the volume of water (about ⅔ cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. Add more hot water from time to time, if needed, to keep the rice from drying out. If you are using regular brown rice, follow the instructions on the package.

Meanwhile, defrost the edamame beans by putting them into a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes.

Cut the pomegranate in half. Lay a sieve over a bowl, put one half of the pomegranate in your hand, seed side down, then squeeze it over the bowl, allowing the juice to pour through your fingers. Set aside.

Take the other half of the pomegranate and hold it above a clean bowl, cut-side down. Tap the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon so that the jewels fall through your fingers into the bowl, tapping a little harder if the seeds resist falling out. Once all the jewels are in the bowl, discard the shell and pick out any little pithy white bits that may have fallen into the bowl.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a splash of sesame oil and sauté the kale or greens for a couple of minutes, then add the nori and cook for a minute longer, to toast. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Once the rice is cooked, drain it and pour over most of the dressing. Add half the black sesame seeds and stir so that the dressing coats the grains.

Pile the rice into two bowls, top with little piles of edamame beans, pomegranate seeds, warm kale, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and more black sesame seeds, and pour over the rest of the dressing.

Eat and feel clean and calm. 

For the dressing:

Add the dressing ingredients to the bowl of pomegranate juice and mix well.