Southwest Sushi Rolls

These Southwest Sushi Rolls are fun to make and even more fun to eat!

Southwest Sushi Rolls

I think I need to hire an assistant to help me come up with titles for my less conventional recipes. Of course by hire, I mean bribe with food. I usually slack when it comes to the whole title ordeal and wind up spending the bulk of the time testing and tasting. Typical protocol factors in additional time for the sudden realization that I loathe my photos and therefore have to re-shoot and thus re-make the dish in the name of photography or some other ludicrous excuse that let’s me eat grilled cheese or cookies at 10 in the morning for a second day in a row. The horror.

The things I do for you guys… I mean, I had to eat this twice.

In fact, I’m going to have to make it a third time because Paul hasn’t had a chance to try it, and far be it for me to deny him a chance to sample my latest foodie science experiment. Man it’s hard being a food blogger…

Said no one ever.

Southwest Sushi Platter

Southwest Sushi Rolls

ur mini-me while sitting on the kitchen floor, cross-legged, taking turns inhaling every last morsel; at least that’s how things go around here.

Sometimes I’ll get fancy and throw it into a giant chop-chop so I can toss back some veggies along with it.

This time? This time leftover yellow rice was destined for sushi.

And holy freaking chopsticks it’s amazing.

Southwest Sushi Fusion

Southwest Sushi Rolls

These Southwest Sushi Rolls are fun to make and even more fun to eat!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Fusion, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Southwest Sushi Rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 1 cup cooked yellow rice
  • 8 zucchini spears
  • 8 asparagus spears (ends trimmed)
  • 8 slices red bell pepper
  • 4 pieces shrimp tempura
  • olive oil to taste
  • salt, paprika, cayenne pepepr and garlic powder, to taste
  • 2 sheets of nori
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Sriracha (for topping)


  • If you're using leftover yellow or mexican-style rice, re-heat until slightly warmed but not too hot.
  • Starting from scratch? Simply cook your rice on the stove top or in a rice cooker per package instructions. Rice typically takes twenty minutes to cook so while it simmers away, get to work on those veggies!
  • Depending on preference and time-allotment, you can roast, grill, or saute your vegetables. I sauteed my zucchini and red peppers in a drizzle of olive oil seasoned with salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder while the asparagus was quickly blanched and then chilled for al-dente results.
  • The shrimp [or chicken, if you prefer it!] can also be cooked while you wait on your rice. If using frozen shrimp tempura like I did, bake in the oven or toaster oven until crispy and golden. It’ll be done at the same time as your rice so you won’t have to wait around at all!
  • Using leftover chicken? Chop and set aside! Grilling the chicken along with the veggies? Have at it! I suggest using the same blend of spices on the chicken as the vegetables; you can even add cumin and chili powder if you’d like!
  • Cover a bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap and top with a sheet of nori.
  • Using a large spoon, spread rice in a thin layer atop the seaweed sheet.
  • At the very end of the sheet, arrange your veggies in three compact rows.
  • If you’re adding shrimp or chicken add it to the row as well.
  • First time rolling sushi? [click here] for a photo tutorial of the entire process.

Roll, slice with a super-sharp knife, sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sriracha chili sauce one of the sauces in the post below:


    Recipe yields 2 sushi rolls.
    To make a spicy mayo dipping sauce, mix Sriracha chili sauce with your favorite homemade or store bought mayo. Easy peasy!
    Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!


    Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 36mg, Potassium: 997mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 12185IU, Vitamin C: 479mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 3mg

    special diets and swaps 

    • t-rex chefs: feel free to use grilled or roasted chicken in place of the shrimp.
    • vegansaurus chefs: skip the animals entirely & simply use a pile of veggies! Avocado would be an amazing addition.
    veggies for homemade sushi

    creamy curry sauce

    • 3 Tbsp fresh or store bought mayonnaise
    • 1/2 tsp of curry powder, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp of white vinegar
    • a pinch of mustard powder + garlic powder
    • S+P to taste

    spicy mayo

    • 1 Tbsp homemade or store bought mayonnaise [or yogurt!]
    • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce

    Adjust chili sauce to your ideal heat level from mild to unreasonably hot.

    Whisk together and drizzle away! Try a different sauce on each roll or make both to dunk and dip as you please! Judging by what went down in my kitchen here, anything really does go when it comes to sushi!

    Southwest Sushi with Spicy Mayo Sauce

    so . . . how was it!?

    Fan-freaking-tastic, of course! The flavor of the savory yellow rice along with the tender seasoned veggies and crisp shrimp absolutely rocked my tastebuds. Add little sauce to tie it all together along with the added crunch of the toasted sesame seeds and it’s good to go! If you’re a fan of face-meltingly-spicy dishes, feel free to let some jalapenos in on the fun too.

    I seriously cannot wait to make these again! If you’ve made my chop-chop bowls before, you can expect the same level of tastiness from thes technicolor rolls. Haven’t tried a chop-chop? Choose your favorite protein [chicken, salmon, chickpeas] and get one in your face ASAP!

    Jenn Laughlin Headshot Photo - About the Author
    About The Author:

    Jenn Laughlin

    Jenn Laughlin created Peas and Crayons in 2009 after graduating with B.S. in Dietetics from Florida State University and working as a Nutrition Educator for WIC. The goal was simple: create and share delicious tested and perfected recipes with vegetables as the star!

    Read More

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    Recipe Rating

    Questions & Reviews

    1. 5 stars
      I think this is a real creative southwestern American take on Japanese sushi. I included this recipe in my top 8 international sushi rolls. you can check it out @

    2. We love sushi at our house, can’t wait to try something a little different. Those veggies look divine.

    3. Thank you so much, Jenn! This is very helpful! I look forward to making it this week.

    4. Thanks Tessa! It is great as an appetizer and I actually ate two rolls for lunch and called it a meal since it had all the components I typically add into a meal: vegetables, grains, and protein + tons of flavor and color. You could also serve it with a side of grilled or roasted vegetables or with a sweet potato topped with melted cheese, beans, salsa and greek yogurt or sour cream or just simply a salsa potato if you want to keep it simple. Side salads work as well! I tend to mix cultures and cuisines on my plate a lot and as long as they’re all complimenting flavors, anything seems to go! Hope that helps!

    5. Thanks Rachel! Yellow rice is typically standard white rice cooked in a little oil or butter with seasonings like cumin, garlic, and turmeric/saffron for that gorgeous yellow hue [naturally! whoo!] There are recipes online an also packets available at nearly all grocery stores that already have the seasonings mixed in! It’s so delicious and a great treat if you normally eat brown rice and quinoa and want to mix it up! I’ve also made sushi with quinoa and sticky rice mixed together and looooved it!

    6. You’re weird =) I love nori! Though I hate things normal people love; like olives

    7. I wish I loved Nori, but I just can’t stand it *blech* I always have to get soy wrappers when I eat sushi. If I’m ever able to find them in this po’dunk town I live in, then I’ll def give this recipe a try.

    8. Do what I do and just call everything #srangebutgood. 😉

      This certain qualifies. At least with the curry you kept it in the Asian family!