- Place the sushi rice in a large pot and fill with water until the rice is covered. With your fingertips, vigorously swish the rice around the pot until the water becomes too cloudy to see your hand. Drain through a fine mesh strainer, then wash again. Repeat until the water in the pot is clear.
- In the same pot, cover the drained rice with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover tightly and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, whisk the unseasoned rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.
- Remove pot of rice from heat, keeping the pot covered. Let sit for 10 minutes. Scoop the rice out of the pot into a wide wooden, ceramic, or glass bowl (not metal). Once in the bowl, use a flipping motion with your paddle or spatula to lift the rice, then fold it over onto itself. With your free hand, fan the rice with a piece of thick cardboard or a fan. Or, set the bowl in front of a small electric fan set on low. Lift and fold the rice for 3-5 minutes until you see less steam rising from the rice.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the seasoned vinegar evenly over the rice. Make vertical, cutting motions into the rice and across the length of the bowl with your paddle or spatula, then lift and fold the rice. Repeat for each remaining third of seasoned vinegar.
- Cover the top of the bowl lightly with a dish towel (not plastic wrap), then set aside to cool as you prepare the other ingredients. Do not refrigerate, as that will make the rice crunchy.
Sushi Roll Filling:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Wash the tempeh (about half a brick) and pat dry. Slice the tempeh into thin slices, about 3 1/2" long and a little less than 1/4" thick.
- Place tempeh in a shallow dish and cover with 1/4 cup gluten-free teriyaki. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. With a slotted spatula, remove the tempeh from the baking dish and place onto a separate plate to cool (I put my plate in the fridge to cool faster).
- As the tempeh is baking, cook the shiitake mushrooms. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tsp sesame oil and swirl evenly around the pan. Add the thinly sliced mushrooms and toss to coat. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and shrunk down. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. Place in a separate bowl to cool (I placed the bowl in the fridge to cool faster).
- Thinly slice the Havarti into approximately 3 1/2" long strips, about 1/4" thick. Julienne the carrots and thinly slice the scallions - both green and white parts - and trim to about 3 1/2" long. Set each aside into their own bowls.
Constructing the Sushi Roll:
- Fill a small bowl with 1/4 cup water and 1/8 cup rice vinegar. Stir to combine and set next to the bowl of cooled sushi rice.
- Wrap a bamboo sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap - this will make rolling and clean-up much easier! Lay the mat on a flat surface, the bamboo pieces running horizontally.
- Cut each sheet of nori in half so that each piece is at least 4" tall (it's okay if it's a little longer, some nori run as large as 8 1/2 " tall). Place the nori shiny side down on the bamboo mat, the bottom edge of the nori aligning with the bottom edge of the mat (closest to you).
- Dip your fingers in the water/vinegar mixture, shaking off any excess liquid. Take a handful of cooled sushi rice, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, and spread it gently across the nori sheet. Cover the nori from edge to edge, but leave the top 1/2" bare.
- Lay a few pieces of carrots and scallions across the center of the rice. Lay a few thin mushrooms across the carrots and scallions. Finally, take 2 pieces of tempeh and 2 pieces of cheese, and lay them across the center on top of the mushrooms.
- Place both thumbs at the bottom edge of the bamboo mat (edge closest to you). Lift the mat with your thumbs, then fold it over the filling and roll it in tightly with your other fingers to completely enclose the filling. Gently lift the edge of the bamboo mat folded in with the filling, then continue to roll the sushi roll forward until you reach the end of the mat.
- Gently uncurl the bamboo mat to remove the enclosed sushi roll. Wet the blade of a sharp knife with cold water. Slice the sushi roll in half. Slice each half into three equal pieces.
- Repeat for all remaining nori. Makes 5-6 sushi rolls, or about 30-36 pieces. Serve immediately with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and gluten-free tamari.
Notes: You can save a lot of time by multi-tasking. Cook the rice as the tempeh is baking and mushrooms are sauteeing. Cool the tempeh and mushrooms in the fridge (on different plates than the ones you cooked with) as you combine the rice with the seasoned vinegar and prep the other ingredients.
Recipe courtesy of Steph In Thyme.