This California Roll in a Bowl is a deconstructed version of your favorite sushi roll complete with imitation crab, cucumber and avocado on a bed of sushi rice and topped with a spicy mayo sauce!
Table of contents
California Roll Sushi Bowls
Full of fresh ingredients, this rice bowl recipe takes a classic California roll and turns it into an easy sushi bowl! Making a deconstructed california roll, also known as a poke bowl, is not nearly as much work as learning how to roll sushi, so it’s perfect for quick and easy lunch or light dinner!
I combined all of the elements and delicious flavors of a California roll like creamy avocado, budget-friendly faux crab, and crunchy cucumber which is then served over rice and coated in an easy dressing of spicy sriracha mayo! It’s an Asian-inspired dinner that is fresh, healthy, and comes together in a pinch, just like beef and broccoli stir fry!
It’s served cold which makes it an easy choice for a hearty meal on a hot day. It’s completely customizable, so don’t stop at the California roll. Use this as a base to turn all of your favorite rolls into bowls!
- Sushi rice: Used as the foundation for this bowl, sushi rice is short-grain white rice that has a bit of stickiness to it (not the same as sticky rice).
- Water: Needed to cook the rice.
- Rice vinegar: A traditional vinegar used in Japanese cooking, which gives the rice a slightly sour flavor.
- Diced avocado: The creamy element that delivers healthy fats and delicious flavor!
- Imitation crab: Much more cost-effective than real crab. It’s actually not crab at all!
- English cucumber: Crunchy crispy, and fresh, it balances out the other textures.
- Mayonnaise & Sriracha: For a quick, easy dressing that signifies that amazing drizzle of sauce you find on sushi rolls.
- White or black sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and nori furikake: For garnish!
How to Make this for this Simple Sushi Bowl
If you love the idea of eating sushi rolls but don’t know how to make them. Then, don’t. Make a sushi bowl with just a few steps!
Step 1: Boil uncooked rice over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce to low. Simmer for 18-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. (you can also cook the rice in a rice cooker per it’s directions, as I did)
Step 2: Transfer cooked rice to a medium bowl and mix in rice vinegar. Set it aside to cool completely.
Step 3: Whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a bowl.
Assembling the Sushi Bowl
Start by dividing the rice into 4 serving bowls. Top with avocado, crab, and cucumber then drizzle the spicy mayo on top. Serve with your choice of soy sauce, sesame seeds, green onion, or nori furikake seasoning. Or, all of the above!
1. Use brown rice or regular rice, if preferred.
2. Use cauliflower rice for a low carb keto version.
3. Additional ingredients for added texture and flavor include pickled ginger (or fresh ginger), slivered carrots, sliced radish, and thinly sliced nori seaweed.
4. Use lump crab meat if desired. Not a fan of crab? Use cooked shrimp or smoked salmon instead! Ok, so it’s not a California roll anymore, but it works!
5. Top with the favorite yum yum sauce if you’d like too!
- You can also use a rice cooker to cook the rice per the rice cooker instructions. Instant Pot rice is also great.
- Make sure to rinse your rice thoroughly before cooking it.
- Find Sushi rice in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores. Yes, it’s called sushi rice.
- Types of cucumber to use. I prefer English or Persian because they have fewer seeds, but any cucumber is fine.
- Mayonnaise. Use Japanese mayo or regular mayonnaise.
- Spice level. Add more or less sriracha sauce depending on how spicy you like the dressing!
- Thin out the dressing. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, you a bit of water to thin it out.
You don’t! Just make enough for as much as you’re going to eat because once it has been assembled, the toppings generally will become mushy after a while. Cut the avocado just before serving, otherwise, it will turn brown and unappealing.
There are ways to store things separately before assembling the sushi bowl. You can cook the rice and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Make the dressing the night before and bring it up to room temperature before pouring.
Rice, but especially white rice, is high in starch. When cooked it can become gummy. Although we like our rice to be “sticky” in this case, we don’t want it clumpy or gluey.
It’s a seasoning blend made from dried seaweed, sesame seeds and salt. If you can’t find any, feel free to use them all separately and make your own. You can also use salted nori (dried seaweed) by itself.
California Roll in a Bowl
- 1 cup sushi rice or other short grain rice
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 large avocado diced
- 8 ounces imitation crab diced
- 1 cup english cucumber diced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- Sesame Seeds sliced green onions, and/or Nori Furikake, for garnish
- Rinse the rice under cold water for 30 seconds until the water runs clear. (I use a mesh strainer to do this)
- Add the rice and water to a medium pot and and bring a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed
- Add the cooked rice to a large bowl and drizzle with the rice vinegar then stir to combine.
- Set the rice aside and cool completely.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. If desired, add in a tablespoon of water to thin the sauce.
Assembling the Sushi Bowls
- Divide the rice between four bowls. Top with avocado, imitation crab, and diced cucumber.
- Drizzle the spicy mayo over top.
- Garnish with soy sauce, sesame seeds, green onion, or nori furikake seasoning.