Vegan Butternut Squash and Avocado Rice Bowls

This recipe is loosely based on a dish I used to love at a restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore. If I’m being honest, it was a pretty basic item. A pumpkin and avocado hand roll. But the flavors were perfect together. I still ate fish then, but I found myself ordering this hand roll more than anything else there. It was a great example of how vegan sushi could stand on its own without being too over the top, and naturally I longed to emulate it. And I have. I’ve actually experimented with several variations of this dish throughout the years, but this butternut squash and avocado rice bowl might be my favorite.

This vegan butternut squash and avocado rice bowl is decidedly unfussy. It comes together easily and without much prep, making it ideal for a weeknight. Despite its short ingredient list, it ends up tasting sweet, sour, and even a little bit umami, thanks to the sushi rice marinade, soy sauce and furikake, which is a Japanese blend of sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seaweed that’s used to season rice and other dishes. I’ve included an Amazon link for the furikake in the ingredients portion of this post, but you can also likely get it from your local Asian market.

Note:

I used butternut squash for this, but feel free to use whatever type of winter squash you’d like! Kabocha or acorn would both work great. I also bought the squash pre-chopped because I don’t hate myself, but I do hate cutting butternut squash. I’d highly recommend doing the same.

Three bowls of butternut squash and avocado with rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 1lb butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups sushi rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water (if using Instant Pot)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • Chives, chopped (to taste)
  • Furikake (to taste)
  • Soy sauce (to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit 
  2. Spread butternut squash out on a pan, then toss with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp olive oil before putting in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender
  3. Rinse 1 1/2 cups sushi rice continuously until the water passing through it runs clear, then cook. (I used my Instant Pot, however you can cook it on the stove as well. If you wish to use the stove, follow the cooking instructions on the bag and then proceed to step 4.) To cook in the Instant Pot, cover the rice with 1 1/2 cups of water, making sure the rice is evenly submerged under the water. Then hit the rice button. It should default to 12 minutes on low pressure, which is what you want. Let it cook, then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before venting and opening
  4. Marinate the rice by mixing 3 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt into it
  5. Portion the rice and butternut squash evenly into 4 bowls, then add half a sliced avocado to each. Sprinkle some chopped chives and furikake onto each one and finish it off with soy sauce. None of the garnish/sauce measurements are exact – just use as much as you’d like! Serve warm and enjoy!

Bonus content: 

I would be remiss in not including this photo. Due to harsh afternoon lighting, I had to take some of the photos for this post on the floor. As I was snapping a picture, a little fuzzy head popped into frame. It seems my dog, Gizmo either wanted to guest star in this post or pilfer my food. Who can say, really. Anyway, here’s the picture. Inarguably the best one I took.

Vegan Butternut Squash and Avocado Sushi Bowl
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