Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls

If you have been looking for a vegetarian alternative to sushi, your search ends here. These refreshing zucchini and couscous sushi rolls are easy to make and so delicious, they’ll make you keep coming back for more!
Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls pinit

About This Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Recipe

Over the years, sushi has become so popular that you can find a sushi joint on most corners of any multi-cultural city. This Japanese delicacy has taken the world by storm, and for good reason! But when it comes to making sushi rolls at home, it can be a time-consuming task. It requires a lot of skill to yield a dish that can even come close to professional sushi chefs.

So, if you’re looking to recreate sushi in an easier way, these zucchini and couscous rolls are a fantastic alternative. What’s more, aside from steaming the couscous, which is fairly hands-off anyway, this recipe requires no cooking.

If you’re a fitness buff, you can even customize this recipe to incorporate a wonderful balance of protein, fats, and veg. Chop up different vegetables to add in the filling depending on which minerals and nutrients you want to add to your diet. The fantastic thing about these zucchini and couscous sushi rolls is that you can change up the ingredients to suit your preferences, diet, or allergies.

Though these zucchini and couscous sushi rolls may feel a little fiddly the first time you make them, I’ve broken down this recipe into simple steps for you to make delicious rolls to nibble on throughout the day!

Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls

What You Need for This Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Recipe

Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Couscous: Couscous is made from semolina flour and is a traditional North African dish. It’s a versatile ingredient that’s a wonderful vehicle for other flavors to be the star of the show, or in the case of this recipe, to add a little texture in the absence of sushi rice.
  • Mirin: Originating from Japanese cuisine, mirin is a type of rice wine similar to sake but with lower alcohol and higher sugar content. I’ve used it in this recipe to add some texture and flavor to the couscous and to balance the bright flavors of the raw vegetables.
  • Red bell peppers: Slightly sweet with the earthy, bright flavor of a raw vegetable, red bell peppers add a wonderful crunch to this dish and are far less bitter than mature green bell peppers.
  • Avocado: A great source of healthy fats, avocado also adds a smooth, almost buttery texture to the sushi rolls.
  • Cream Cheese: Another healthier fat, albeit not the healthiest. The cream cheese in this recipe acts as a moistener and as a glue to hold the sushi rolls together. Spread this along the entire surface of the zucchini ribbons to ensure they do not unravel.
  • Fresh Chives: Fresh chives and cream cheese is a pair made in heaven! A little bit of allium in any dish helps season the other ingredients.
  • Salt: You have the brightness from the vegetables, the creaminess from the cheese, and the sweetness from the mirin, so a touch of salt helps balance the flavors on the palate.
  • Zucchini: Also called courgettes or baby marrows, these wonderful green gourds grow on vines and have fantastic water content. They are fairly flexible, similar to cucumber ribbons, making them a wonderful seaweed alternative in these sushi-style rolls.
  • Soy Sauce: It’s a fermented paste made from soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and aspergillus. A big player in a lot of Asian cuisines, soy sauce adds a unique saltiness that regular sea salt just cannot compete with.

Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Couscous: I’ve used couscous mainly for texture, but you can easily replace it with quinoa, bulgar wheat, or even sushi rice.
  • Cream Cheese: The cream cheese not only adds healthy fat to the sushi but also acts as a glue to hold the rolls together. Cottage cheese or quark would also work well instead of cream cheese.
  • Mirin: If you can’t get hold of mirin, I’d recommend substituting it with either dry sherry or a little sugar dissolved into some white wine vinegar.
  • Red Bell Peppers and Avocado: This recipe is very versatile and you can use any vegetables you wish. Or if you want the classic fishy taste of sushi, a little white crab or tuna would work perfectly!

Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls


Can I Make This Ahead Of Time?

It is better to eat this dish immediately after preparation. You don’t want the zucchini discoloring and becoming rubbery.

Can I Make This Vegan?

Yes! Substitute the cream cheese for a vegan alternative. Nothing too heavy, but thick enough to act as a sort of edible glue for the rolls!

Where Can I Find The Special Ingredients?

Most Asian grocery stores and larger supermarkets should carry mirin. Failing that, you can order it from Amazon or online grocery stores.

Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 30 min Total Time 30 mins


A refreshingly delicious take on sushi, these crisp and fresh zucchini and couscous sushi rolls are a wonderful alternative to traditional sushi rolls that are easy to put together without compromising on flavor!

Yield: 16 rolls


How To Make Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step By Step

  1. To begin, empty the couscous into a heatproof bowl, add boiling water, and cover it with a plate. Move to one side and allow the couscous to steam.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 1
  2. Chop the pepper and avocado into thin strips. Cut the ends off the zucchini and use a very sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to slice it into ribbons 2-4mm thick.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 2
  3. In a small dish, combine the cream cheese, chives, and salt together until fully incorporated.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 3
  4. By now the couscous should have absorbed all the water and cooled slightly. Separate using a fork before adding the mirin. Stir until sticky and sweet.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 4
  5. Lay the zucchini ribbons onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Overlap the zucchini before spreading the chives and cream cheese across the entirety of the surface. Place the couscous on the bottom quarter, followed by sliced vegetables.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 5
  6. Bring one edge of the plastic wrap upwards and pull the zucchini over itself. Using your hands, squeeze the zucchini into a roll shape, then continue rolling and squeezing until you have a long sausage shape.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 6
  7. Slice into halves, then quarters, and continue until you have 16 equal rolls. Garnish with some extra chives and serve with soy sauce.

    Zucchini and Couscous Sushi Rolls Step 7


  • You can easily scale this recipe up for parties, but I'd recommend only rolling 1 zucchini’s worth of ribbons at any time. Make several rolls and slice individually rather than 1 giant roll.
  • To avoid having the zucchini get discolored or turn rubbery, I’d recommend preparing everything beforehand and then moving on to making the zucchini ribbons.