If you have leftover rice kicking around from either a weeknight meal or takeout, these sushi inspired rice balls are the perfect scrappy solution. Today, I have a really simple plant-based sweet potato stuffed version that I know you will love. 

Sushi Inspired Rice Balls

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • These sushi inspired rice balls are easy to transport and to handle! Perfect for anyone taking lunch to work, eating on-the-go, or travelling.
  • You know who likes cute little handheld foods? Kids! If you’re trying to inspire your kids to eat homemade snacks, this is a great segue to healthy snacking!
  • This recipe is a part of my Scrappy Cooking series, which allows you to save money and reduce household food waste!
  • Talk about affordable! Made with ONLY SIX commonly available ingredients, this recipe is proof that you don’t need to spend tons of money to enjoy delicious food.
  • This recipe is beginner-friendly and very hard to mess up! If you aren’t too confident in the kitchen, these sushi inspired rice balls can ignite your love of cooking.
Sushi Inspired Rice Balls

How to Make This Recipe

First, cut your sweet potato into cubes and roast them in the oven until soft. Alternatively, you can pierce the skin of the sweet potato and microwave it, before cutting the “flesh” into cubes.

You’ll need some leftover white rice to make sure your rice balls stick nicely together. Heat a pan over medium heat, then add the leftover rice and combine it with hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and nori. Let the rice cool down enough to handle.

Time to form your sushi inspired rice balls! In a small saucer, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice, make a divot in the middle. Place a cube of sweet potato in the centre, and then layer another 1 to 2 tablespoons of the rice on top.

With wet hands, press the rice around the sweet potato until you have a firm rice ball. Repeat until you use up the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Grill the rice balls until they are slightly toasted on all sides. Finally, coat each rice ball in black sesame seeds and enjoy dipped in soy sauce!

Hack It!

  • Depending on what you have in your fridge or even pantry, you can stuff your rice balls with virtually anything. It’s a scrappy recipe, after all… Some of my favorites include tofu, avocado, cucumber and more.
  • While soy sauce is a traditional accompaniment to sushi, you can dip your rice balls into the sauce of your choosing. Try them with peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, or sweet chilli!
  • The reason this recipe calls for white rice is because it allows it to stick together unassisted. Brown rice doesn’t usually hold shape quite so well, but you are welcome to try!
  • If you have a sesame allergy, you can coat your rice balls in crushed peanuts, toasted breadcrumbs or crispy onions instead.
Sushi Inspired Rice Balls

Other Recipes You’ll Love

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And if you haven’t got a copy of the PlantYou Cookbook yet, you better hurry while the stocks last! The book features over 140 recipes for every taste and every occasion. Truly, this is the book I wish I had when I first transitioned to being plant-based. It’s so easy to navigate, and bursting with colors! Dare I say, it would make a great Christmas gift…

Sushi Inspired Rice Balls

The Recipe: Sushi Inspired Rice Balls

A great way to use up leftover rice and enjoy traditional sushi flavors inspired by Korean Jumeokbap or Korean Rice Balls.
5 from 4 ratings


  • 1 ½ cup cooked white rice
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 nori sheet, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked, cut into 1 inch cubes


  • Small saucer
  • frying pan


  • In a pan over medium heat, combine the leftover rice with the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and nori sheet.
  • In a small saucer, pack 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice, and then make a divot in the center. Place the sweet potato in the centre of the rice, and then layer 1 to 2 more tablespoons of the rice over top
  • Wet your hands, then transfer the rice “ball” into your palms. Pack the rice around the sweet potato until a firm tight ball is formed. Repeat until all of the rice and sweet potato is combined.
  • Heat a pan over medium, and grill the rice balls until slightly toasted on each side. Pour the sesame seeds on a plate, and roll each of the rice balls in the seeds until slightly covered.
  • Enjoy with soy sauce immediately.
Calories: 112.8kcal, Carbohydrates: 20.8g, Protein: 2.5g, Fat: 2.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.8g, Cholesterol: 0.1mg, Sodium: 65mg, Potassium: 164.2mg, Fiber: 1.8g, Sugar: 2.3g, Vitamin A: 5366IU, Vitamin C: 1.1mg, Calcium: 55.4mg, Iron: 0.9mg