Brown Rice Sushi Balls

brown rice sushi balls

I credit our friends Bryan and Jenn for my sushi infatuation. The last time they came to visit (they live a state away), we went out and loaded our table with all manner of rolls and nigiri. I was hooked. So when the ever creative Heidi at 101 Cookbooks posted the recipe for her Sesame Almond Brown Rice Balls, it gave me an idea. Why not make brown sushi rice balls? They would have endless flavor combinations and be easier than the traditional rolling process.

Adding toasted seaweed to the rice mixture gives just the right amount of good-fishy flavor to the little balls.

And filling them is the fun part:

sashimi grade ahi tuna + avocado + spicy mayonnaise

avocado + spicy mayonnaise + pickled ginger

sashimi grade ahi tuna + avocado + pickled ginger


How about sashimi grade salmon, crab, or even solid rice balls topped with a thin slice of ahi or salmon (similar to nigiri); you see where I’m going with this. So many options!


Brown Rice Sushi Balls
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks You can enjoy these right after you make them or chill them for later. They're conveniently portable if you take care to keep the container upright (otherwise bring a fork). :)
For the rice balls:
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice, (or brown sushi rice) prepared according to package directions and cool enough to handle comfortably
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced, toasted seaweed (I used Annie Chun's sesame seaweed snacks)
  • 1 ounce toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives, divided
For the spicy mayonnaise:
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (maybe your own)
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 dash each soy sauce and lemon juice
  • Some filling ingredient options:
  • small cubes of avocado tossed with a little lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown)
  • tiny cubes of sashimi grade ahi tuna or salmon
  • pickled ginger (I love this brand)
  • spicy mayonnaise (recipe above)
For dipping (optional):
  • 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part sesame oil
  • soy sauce + wasabi paste to taste
  1. Line a container or platter with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine all rice ball ingredients - reserving 1 tablespoon of the chives for garnish - in a large bowl. Season to taste with fine sea salt.
  3. Line a small, deep cup with plastic wrap. Scoop in enough of the rice mixture to fill about ⅔ full. Make an indentation in the center of the rice and fill with your choice of ingredients (see suggested combinations above). Gather the plastic wrap straight up from the sides and use your fingers to gently cover the filling with rice. Lift the ball from the bowl and gently twist it, letting any air escape. Use your fingertips and opposite palm to shape a round ball (see photo above). Gently remove the ball from the plastic wrap and place in container or on platter. Repeat with remaining rice mixture (you'll get the hang of it after a few balls). Sprinkle with reserved chives for garnish.
Makes 12 to 15 rice balls


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  1. says

    I cannot wait to try these. I am drooling! Thank you for being so amazing and helping me be a fantastic cook with little effort or creativity on my part! You get every ounce of credit for my skills in the kitchen! ;o)

  2. says

    These look so good. My stomach is rumbling… I’ve been meaning to make sushi at home for years, no joke, and never have, but now I’m kind of thinking that these would be just as good! So much easier than all that rolling and patting etc.

  3. Jerri says

    Thank you for this recipe. I stuffed them with tuna tartare and fresh baby cukes, served with wasabe, pickled ginger and soy sauce. Awesome.

  4. says

    I have had those sushi balls on my mind ever since I saw them on 101cookbooks. It’s a genius technique, rolling real sushi is such a pain! I’m glad to see that yours turned out as well as Heidi’s. I definitely need to make my own soon!

  5. says

    My kids had so much fun making these when we lived in Japan. This would be a school activity for fun and I was a helper in the classroom with the kids. My son is now 15 and STILL makes these balls for lunch.

  6. Jenny says

    These look fantastic! I’ve been trying to track down sushi grade salmon, could you let us know where you were able to find your? :)

    • Marissa says

      We have a great fish monger in town. I would talk to someone at the fish counter where you shop and ask them about it – they may be able to get it for you even if they don’t usually stock it. Good luck!

  7. says

    Such a neat way to enjoy sushi! My husband and I are hooked on it, too. In fact, we’re heading out tomorrow to gorge ourselves ;). I’d love to try this out some day!


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