Chickpea “tuna” and black rice sushi

I’m a huge fan of sushi, evident by the fact that it’s the very first dish I made by myself as a child. When occasionally ordering sushi out, I absolutely love the black rice varieties found at some sushi stations. That rich purple colour of the rice and dense taste seem to be so much more exciting than the white rice varieties. But often black rice sushi is only available with avocado as the sole filling. I don’t know about you, but I love my sushi filled with a vibrant variety of vegetables and a hearty plant-based protein. So I thought it was about time that I get back to making my own sushi, just the way I like it.

Another important reason to make and eat sushi regularly is that seaweed is an excellent source of iodine. Iodine is a mineral essential for normal thyroid functioning and we require an average of 150 μg per day. Though table salt is now fortified with iodine, we should really be lowering our intake of salt. This is where sea vegetables, including seaweed, come to the rescue as an excellent natural, wholefoods solution to the iodine dilemma (fantastic news, I know)!

For this sushi recipe, I tried making chickpea “tuna” for the very first time. It turned out wonderfully creamy and packed with flavour. In fact, I had to stop myself from polishing of the mix before I could use it to fill my sushi rolls.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for deliciously creamy, flavoursome and nourishing sushi…

Chickpea tuna sushi


  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (pre-soaked if possible)
  • 2 tbsp unhulled tahini
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
  • Nori sheets
  • 1.25 cups uncooked black rice
  • 1/2 large cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar



  1. Bring a cup of black rice and 2 cups of water to the boil, then simmer for 25 – 30 minutes (or until the water has been absorbed).
  2. Mash the chickpeas with a fork until the mixture resembles canned tuna. Mix in the tahini, dijon mustard and lemon (as well as a splash of water if needed).
  3. Take the rice off the heat, stir in three tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, then allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the rice onto a large tray/plate and let cool in the fridge.
  5. On the sushi mat, lay a nori sheet shiny-side down, with the long edge facing towards you.
  6. Spread the rice in a layer over ¾ of the nori sheet, then add a strip of chickpea “tuna”, carrot, red cabbage and cucumber.
  7. Fill a small bowl with warm water and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar.
  8. Bring the edge of the sushi mat up to roll the nori sheet around the sushi filling, making sure to leave an approximate 5 cm strip at the end.
  9. Dip your hand into the small bowl and wet the strip of seaweed before finishing the roll.
  10. Dip a sharp knife into the bowl mixture and use that to slice the sushi into 8 pieces.
  11. Assemble the pieces onto a plate, grab your chopsticks and feast on the sushi goodness!

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