Mini sushi hand rolls

OK, sure, sushi burritos are all the rage now, but before those were invented, they already existed: sushi burritos are just larger, cylindrical versions of traditionally cone-shaped temaki (“hand rolls”). But the traditional shape is better for a party, and making them a bit smaller makes them into an amazing appetizer.

It takes a fair amount of prep, but the results are so worth it. You can put whatever filling you want, but here we’ve opted to go with roasted acorn squash and cucumber: soft yet crunchy; salty yet sweet; and a hit of umami to round it out. Plus they’re just gorgeous on a plate, and dedicated carnivores won’t even notice that they’re vegan.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
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Serves 40 rolls



  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 2 medium cucumbers

Sushi wrapper and rice

  • 10 sheets nori
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 450F. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with foil and lightly oil the foil.
  • Put the rice into a bowl and add water to cover. Stir rice; the water will be cloudy. Pour off water and repeat adding water and stirring at least five times until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain and let dry.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the ends off each squash, then place one of the cut sides down, and slice the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and place the squash down so that the inside is face down. Carefully cut the squash into 1/8" slices (doesn't matter which direction you're slicing). It's important to have the slices be an even thickness.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, tamari, and rice vinegar and whisk vigorously to combine. Place the squash slices into the bowl and, with your hands, toss the slices so that each is coated with the vinaigrette.
  • Start the rice cooking. Cook in rice cooker according to your machine's instructions, or combine rice and 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
  • While the rice is cooking, roast the squash slices. Remove them from the tamari vinaigrette and place them on the lined baking sheets in a single layer. Roasting only one sheet at a time, roast for about 15 minutes, until the slices are golden and crisped on the edges. Let cool on sheet briefly, then transfer to a plate.
  • While the squash is roasting, prep the cucumbers. Peel them, then slice them lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut them into 3-inch skinny matchsticks, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Make the sushi rice seasoning. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Many recipes call for heating the mixture in order to dissolve the sugar and salt, but you can get away with stirring well.
  • When the rice is done, transfer it to a bowl. Add the seasoning and fold it in, making sure it's well distributed. The rice will seem too wet, but it will return to the correct consistency as it cools.
  • While the sushi rice cools, prep the nori. Place one of the sheets in front of you with one of the short sides on top.
  • With a sharp knife or scissors, cut the sheet in half horizontally, then cut each of those halves in half horizontally again so you have four strips. It's ok if your cuts aren't perfect — the mistakes will be hidden when you roll it up. Repeat for the rest of the sheets.
  • When the sushi rice is room temperature (a little warmer is fine too), take one of the nori strips and spread about a tablespoon of rice on one end.
  • For the filling, use two pieces of cucumber and one piece of squash. The squash will probably need to be cut in half. Layer cucumber and squash on the rice, then roll into a cone. You may need to wet the end of the nori to seal the roll. Repeat with the remaining strips.


The filling can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; rice should be made just before making the rolls. Rolls are best if they're made shortly before the party and kept at room temperature.
Soy sauce can be substituted for the tamari, but the tamari makes the dish gluten-free.

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