California Roll Bowls

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These California roll bowls are a deconstructed classic sushi roll packed with vibrant flavorful sushi rice, crab, avocado, cucumber, and topped with sesame seeds and spicy mayo.

A vibrant poke bowl with rice, cucumber, carrot, avocado, seaweed, and spicy mayo drizzle, served in a white bowl.
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Two bowls of sushi rice topped with avocado, cucumbers, crab, and spicy mayo, surrounded by black sesame seeds, soy sauce, and chopsticks.

California Roll Sushi Bowls

My family LOVES sushi! Sometimes all that rolling and placing out can be tiresome though, so we go for the “sushi bowl roll” which is lazy man’s sushi. You get all the fresh vibrant flavors of a classic California sushi roll in a convenient bite. These bowls use sushi rice as the base and are topped with crab, creamy avocado, crispy cucumber, some crumbled seaweed leaves, and a dollop of quick spicy mayo. I love to add sesame seeds and you can also add green onions for fresh crunch.

Since each person is making their own bowl, this is a great option for family dinners with people who have dietary restrictions. You can use cauliflower rice as the base and top with a vegan sauce option like my favorite miso dressing. Make it how you like it!

A colorful poke bowl with rice, cucumber, seaweed, avocado, red peppers, and drizzled sauce, topped with sesame seeds.

How to Make California Sushi Bowls

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Sushi rice (3-4 cups) – Sushi rice, sticky and vinegared, forms the flavorful base of the California sushi bowl.
  • Japanese mayonnaise (1/4 cup) – Japanese mayo, creamy and slightly tangy, adds a rich depth to the dish.
  • Sriracha (2 teaspoons) – Sriracha sauce brings a fiery kick, enhancing the other flavors with its hot and garlicky taste.
  • Imitation crab (8 oz) – Imitation crab, sweet and tender, offers a seafood essence without the cost of real crab.
  • English cucumber (1/2 cup) – English cucumber, with its crisp texture and mild flavor, provides a refreshing crunch.
  • Dried seaweed sheets (1-2) – Dried seaweed sheets, with their briny, oceanic taste, wrap the ingredients together both visually and palatably.
  • Avocado (1) – Avocado, buttery and smooth, lends a luxurious creaminess and a pop of green.
  • Sesame seeds – Sesame seeds, toasted for an extra nutty flavor, sprinkle over the top for a subtle crunch.
  • Soy sauce for serving (1/4 cup) – salty and umami-rich, serves as a dipping or drizzling option to season the bowl to taste.
Two bowls of sushi rice topped with crab meat, cucumber, seaweed, and drizzled with spicy mayo and sesame seeds, on a marble surface.

Use this Method

Prep. Once your sushi is prepared, make your spicy Mayo by combining 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons siracha.

Chop Veggies. Now chop cup 8 ounces of leg style imitation crab meat and 1/2 cup of English cucumber. You can also break up a few pieces of Nori (dried seaweed).

Combine. Now add the cooled sushi rice to a bowl, along with the chopped crab, cucumber, and sliced avocado. Then drizzle on the spicy mayonnaise, and top with chopped nori, sesame seeds, and as much soy sauce as desired. Enjoy! 

Two bowls of sushi rice topped with avocado, cucumber, seaweed, and orange sauce, accompanied by soy sauce and sesame seeds on a white surface.

Tips and Tricks to California Roll Bowls

Prep Ingredients in Advance: Chop and prepare all your ingredients, such as cucumber, avocado, and crab meat or imitation crab, before you start assembling. This keeps the process organized and efficient.

Invest in Good Quality Nori: Use good quality seaweed sheets (nori), as they add essential flavor and texture. You can choose to layer them as sheets or cut them into thin strips for easier eating.

Get Creative with Toppings: Experiment with different toppings like mango for sweetness, masago (capelin roe) for crunch, or spicy mayo for a kick. This personalizes your bowl to your taste preferences.

Assemble with Care: Layer your ingredients thoughtfully to create a balance of flavors and colors. Start with rice, then add your seafood, vegetables, and finally, your toppings and sauces.

Season with Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top for an extra bit of crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the sushi bowl beautifully.

Chill Your Ingredients: Keep ingredients like the crab and avocado chilled until you’re ready to assemble. This not only keeps them fresh but also enhances the refreshing nature of the sushi bowl.

Serve with Soy Sauce and Wasabi: Offer soy sauce and wasabi on the side, allowing each person to adjust the seasoning according to their preference.

Presentation Matters: Serve your California roll sushi bowl in a clear bowl or a traditional Japanese donburi bowl to enhance the visual appeal, making the meal even more enjoyable.

Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t worry if your first sushi bowl isn’t perfect. Sushi-making can be an art, so enjoy the process and improve with each attempt!

FAQs

What type of rice is best for a sushi bowl?

Sushi rice, also known as Japanese short-grain rice, is the best choice because its stickiness helps hold the ingredients together. Be sure to season it with a mix of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt for authentic flavor.

Can I use fresh crab instead of imitation crab?

Absolutely! Fresh crab meat can be used and provides a richer flavor than imitation crab. Just ensure it is fully cooked and cooled before adding it to your bowl.

How do I prevent avocado from browning in the sushi bowl?

Sprinkle lemon or lime juice on the cut avocado to slow down the oxidation process that causes browning. This not only keeps it looking fresh but also adds a zesty flavor.

Is there a vegetarian option for a California roll sushi bowl?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by substituting the crab with tofu, tempeh, or simply using more vegetables like bell peppers and radishes for added texture and color.

What if I don’t like nori?

If you’re not a fan of nori, you can omit it or replace it with a sprinkle of furikake seasoning, which includes sesame seeds and seaweed, to still capture a hint of the ocean flavor without the texture of nori.

Can I prepare a sushi bowl in advance?

It’s best to assemble the sushi bowl just before serving to maintain the freshness and texture of the ingredients. However, you can prepare the individual components ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator.

What to Enjoy with Your Sushi Bowl

Miso Soup: A warm bowl of miso soup complements the sushi bowl with its savory, umami-rich flavor, offering a soothing start or side to your meal. Also try this miso dressing over salad or miso noodle salad!

Edamame: Steamed and lightly salted, edamame pods are a crunchy, healthy snack that balances the soft textures of the sushi bowl.

Pickled Ginger: Often served with sushi, pickled ginger cleanses the palate between bites, allowing you to fully enjoy the distinct flavors of your sushi bowl.

Seaweed Salad: This vibrant and tangy salad adds a fresh and salty crunch, enhancing the ocean flavors of the California roll sushi bowl.

Tempura Vegetables: Adding tempura, like sweet potato or broccoli, introduces a delightful crunch and richness, contrasting nicely with the fresh ingredients of the sushi bowl.

Wasabi and Soy Sauce: These classic sushi condiments can be used to adjust the spiciness and saltiness to taste, adding a kick or deepening the flavors.

Sake or Green Tea: Pair your meal with a cup of warm green tea for a traditional experience or a glass of sake to complement the sushi’s flavors.

Japanese Cucumber Salad: A simple salad with cucumber, vinegar, sugar, and salt can provide a refreshing side that contrasts well with the rich flavors of the sushi bowl.

Try these Asian staples:

Two bowls of sushi rice topped with avocado, cucumber, seaweed, and orange sauce, accompanied by soy sauce and sesame seeds on a white surface.

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California roll sushi bowl with cucumber, crab meat, mango, seaweed, and drizzled with spicy mayo, garnished with sesame seeds.

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A colorful poke bowl with cucumber, avocado, crab meat, seaweed, and rice, garnished with sesame seeds and spicy mayo.
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California Roll Bowls

These delicious bowls have all the flavors of the classic California roll in an easy to enjoy bowl!
Cuisine Asian
Keyword bowls, crab sushi, seafood bowls, sushi, sushi bowl
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 bowls
Calories 580kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell
Cost $10

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups sushi rice cooked and cooled
  • ¼ cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 8 oz imitation crab chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup English cucumber diced
  • 1-2 dried seaweed sheets nori sheets
  • 1 large avocado peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce for serving I used low-sodium soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

  • Once your sushi rice is prepared, make your spicy Mayo by combining the mayonnaise and sriracha.
  • Chop up the leg style imitation crab meat and English cucumber. Also break up a few pieces of Nori.
  • Add the sushi rice to a bowl, along with the chopped crab, cucumber, and sliced avocado. Drizzle on the spicy mayonnaise, and top with chopped nori, sesame seeds, and as much soy sauce as desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 125g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 1191mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3mg

About Courtney

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5 from 2 votes

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!

  2. Katherine says:

    5 stars
    Yummy