Valentine's Sushi

Pretty and Plant Based

Valentine’s Day Sushi!

Valentine’s Day always calls out for a splash of red on the plate. Crimson hearts and ruby red beets just go together. So, for a heart-healthy flash of red, try my Pickled Beet Handrolls. There is pink pickled ginger, pink tofu, and curly red leaf lettuce in every roll, too, for a burst of color.

February is Heart Health Month…

So why not celebrate Valentine’s with a heart healthy handroll? While we like to think of paper hearts and romantic love, the truth is, we need a healthy ticker to keep the love flowing. Beets are famously heart-healthy, with a natural dose of nitrates that convert to Nitric Oxide, which relaxes your circulatory system, allowing blood to flow more freely. That boost in circulation is also a boon to sexual health, so beets should be required in all Valentine’s menus!

Vegan Beet Handrolls

Handrolls are Easy

Handrolls are the Easiest Valentine’s Sushi

If you are intimidated by sushi rolls, and don’t have a sushi mat, these handrolls are for you. Instead of crafting a cylinder, you create a little cone, with assorted delicious fillings that spill attractively out one end.

Quick Pickles Make Life Better

Steam a beet, slice it and toss with vinegar and sugar, and you have a quick pickle. Let is marinate for a while, and the juices double as a marinade for the tofu. Tofu takes on a lively pink tint from the beet juices, and a bit of sweet-tart flavor. You’ll probably have some left over, and you can use them on salads, in sandwiches, or just eat them up on their own.


Pickled ginger, wasabi and plant-based mayo add lots of flavors to this roll, as they nestle up to the soft tofu and crunchy beets. Tender brown rice and baby lettuce leaves provide unique textures to keep you interested.

Valentine’s Day will be more fun, if you eat something light and nourishing, instead of a heavy, rich feast.

Of course, you can always save room for chocolate!

Pickled Beet and Tofu Handrolls

Quick Pickled Beets provide a tangy marinade for the tofu, cutting a few steps on your way to showy, pretty handrolls.
Course Appetizer
Servings 12
Author Robin Asbell


  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cup water depending on variety
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • 1 large whole beet
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup pink pickled ginger drained
  • 12 leaves baby red leaf lettuce
  • 6 sheets nori
  • vegan mayo, wasabi, soy sauce for dipping


  • To cook rice: Place the rice in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Swish with your hands for a few seconds, then pour off the water. Drain in a wire mesh strainer. 
  • Place the rice in a small pot with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes, depending on the variety. When all the water is absorbed and the rice in tender, take off the heat and let stand, covered, for five minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.  Stir the vinegar and sugar in a cup, then drizzle over the rice, and fluff with a fork. Cover with a damp towel until time to use.
  • Trim the beet into a cube, and steam over simmering water. When tender when pierced with a knife, let cool. When cool enough to handle slice into 1/2 inch thick slices, then stack and slice into 1/2 inch wide julienne. In a storage tub, stir the vinegar, sugar and salt and add the beets, toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cut the tofu in strips in the same manner as the beets. Place in a bowl and drizzle with the marinade from the beets, and gently toss to coat.
  • Assembly: Use sharp scissors to cut nori sheets in half, reserve. Prepare a bowl of cool water with a shot of rice vinegar added, and have a clean towel for your fingers. On each nori sheet, place a couple tablespoons of rice on one half. With wet fingers, pat the rice to cover a square area at one end of the nori, leaving the remaining portion exposed. The corner of the square of rice that is closest to the center is the point of the cone. From that corner, place a leaf of lettuce, pickled ginger, a piece of beet, a piece of tofu, and mayo, if desire . Roll the rice around the fillings, keeping the point of the cone closed. Dab some vinegar water on the exposed nori and dry your fingers. Roll the nori around the cone and press to seal.