3 Vegan Rice Ball (Onigiri) Recipes For When You Have No Food

I was in quite the dire situation with little to no food in the fridge and pantry. I wasn’t going to be grocery shopping anytime soon, so I needed quick meal I could make out of what I had on hand. And of course, the one thing that you can depend on is rice balls or onigiri. 

Onigiri are rice balls formed into either spherical or triangular shapes and wrapped with nori. I obviously didn’t have the traditional ingredients like sticky rice or nori, so I altered the recipes quite a bit. After making onigiri, I have come to learn that it is not as easy as you’d think it is and I may need A LOT of practice before mastering the art. I actually ended up using too much rice and too little filling, making each bite full of rice. I also found that because I am a beginner at making onigiri, it was VERY time consuming. If I’m starving as I was in the video making it, I’ll just chuck all the fillings into a bowl next time.

I’m actually super glad that the fillings tasted amazing and were healthy.

Carrot Filling

  1. Cut thin slivers of carrots. Use a peeler for quickest results. I cut my carrot into thick chunks, so it took weeks to pickle.
  2. Pour 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water into a jar with a few tablespoons of sugar to taste. Recipe adapted from WhiteOnRiceCouple
  3. Submerge carrots into the pickling juice, seal, and wait a few hours if slivers are very thin. The longer you pickle it, the more flavour there will be. I like to seran wrap the top of the jar before putting the lid on to make it more air-tight. Keep it in a cool place like your fridge.

Caramelized Onions

  1. Heat a non stick pan to love-medium heat and drizzle your choice of oil. I used extra virgin olive oil. If you aren’t vegan, you can opt for butter for more flavour.
  2. Sprinkle onion slices into pan and slowly sauté until translucent. I like to use long onion slices, but it’s a personal preference.
  3. OPTIONAL: Add a few teaspoons of soy sauce to taste.
  4. When onions are brown and soft, they are done.

Salad Filling

  1. Chop up choice of lettuce into thin strips
  2. Add 2:1 ratio of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar into a bowl. 
  3. Add honey or sugar to sweeten.
  4. Add juice of half a lime.
  5. Mix dressing together and pour lettuce in to combine.

Onigiri Recipe

  1. Cook sticky rice with a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. I used regular rice because that’s what I had on hand, but sticky rice would make it easier to work with.
  2. Let rice cool
  3. OPTIONAL: Add a few teaspoons of rice wine vinegar to taste. I like my rice to remind me of sushi, so I sometimes add it.
  4. Warm some salt in water and dip your hands into this to avoid rice sticking to your hands. This will also act as flavouring to the onigiri.
  5. Grab a small handful of rice, flatten it, and add your filling of choice.
  6. Start wrapping the rice around the filling and form into a ball or triangle.
  7. Wrap onigiri in nori, or in my case, lettuce (lol).

Let me know what your favourite onigiri filling is!

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