Spelt Berry Sushi Bowl

Good morning and happy Wednesday!

I wouldn’t be so chipper (I feel morning chipperness is generally uncalled-for), but just look at all these colors. Food like this makes me happy to be alive.

(If you’re still half asleep and don’t feel like eating sushi yet… I apologize. I kind of have a thing for colorful food.)

Spelt Berry Sushi Bowl

In case you missed it, this is Pantry Week here at Coffee & Quinoa: a week of me attempting to simultaneously clean out my cabinets and teach myself to put a meal together without a trip to the store.

This dish is a random weeknight creation that truly belongs in my pantry series. Pawing through the fridge after work one night, I found some leftover veggies and cooked spelt, plus some cauliflower with only a few more days of life left in it. For some reason my sweet potato sushi bowl came to mind. I decided to go for it, but was pretty doubtful as I whipped up the dressing… an Asian dish with cauliflower and spelt, really?

But I was pleasantly surprised – very much so! In fact, I may even like this version better than the original. The colors and textures are just so much fun, and the sushi-inspired flavors in the dressing and nori tie even the most random ingredients together. This is the meal that I think may have actually converted me to the “winging it” school of cooking.

Spelt Berry Sushi Bowl

So, obviously, this recipe is pretty loose. I’ve since experimented with it, using different grains, beans, veggies and even fruits. I like this combination of flavors and textures best, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure to include a raw veggie with a little crunch, and definitely keep the nori and the dressing to make it taste like a sushi bowl. Half the fun of this recipe is getting creative and rescuing a few veggies from the abyss of your crisper.


Spelt Berry Sushi Bowl

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spelt Berry Sushi Bowl with Roasted Cauliflower
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
This sushi-inspired vegan bowl is perfect for using up leftover vegetables and grains.
Yields: 2
For the sushi bowl:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked spelt
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
For the dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • juice of half an orange
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Japanese rice vinegar
To top:
  • 1 4x8 sheet of nori, lightly toasted and crumbled or chopped
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  1. To cook the spelt: Bring spelt and 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and simmer until spelt grains are tender but still chewy, about 50-55 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.
  2. To roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread on a lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until starting to brown, stirring once halfway through.
  3. While the cauliflower roasts, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Make the dressing by blending all ingredients together. (I use my immersion blender.)
  4. Once spelt and cauliflower are done, assemble the sushi bowls. Mix half of the dressing with the spelt. Scoop spelt into bowls and arrange cauliflower and other vegetables on top. Pour remaining dressing over the bowls and sprinkle with nori and sesame seeds.
  5. Serve! This dish also tastes good cold or at room temperature.
Adapted from my Sweet Potato Sushi Bowl.


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  • Dad April 10, 2013, 6:00 am

    Wow, these colors are gorgeous! And of course the texture, I love a little crunch. Can’t wait to try it!

  • DessertForTwo April 10, 2013, 6:09 am

    I love color in the mornings! And I also love the idea of cooking out of your pantry and fridge for a week and skipping grocery shopping. I used to be able to do that a lot when I was single. Now, with a husband in the house, I have to keep a few more snacks and meat around. It’s been a hard adjustment because I always feel like something is going to waste. But thanks to meals like this, I can use ‘em up! Thanks :)

  • DessertForTwo April 10, 2013, 6:10 am

    I just noticed your first comment up there from Dad. Love it :)

  • Julia {The Roasted Root} April 10, 2013, 7:49 am

    I’ve never tried spelt berries! I’m guessing you got them out of the Whole Foods bulk bins? Your spelt berry bowl looks teriffic and I’m excited to try a new ingredient!

    • Erica April 10, 2013, 9:35 am

      Sure did! They are my absolute favorite grain for their chewy texture… other than quinoa, of course :)

  • Sarah @ makingthymeforhealth April 10, 2013, 10:49 am

    The colors in this are beautiful and it looks like a nice light dish- perfect for spring! Do you mix everything together before eating or eat each one separately? I think it would be good mixed together like a salad!

    • Erica April 10, 2013, 11:35 am

      I usually do try to get a bit of everything in each bite :) You could definitely mix it all up and call it a sushi salad!

  • kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies April 10, 2013, 10:51 am

    Sushi is pretty much the only time I eat meat (fish), so I love to see this recipe with sushi flavors that’s vegan! Can’t wait to try it out.

    • Erica April 10, 2013, 11:33 am

      Same here re: eating fish. I can’t resist sushi!

  • Katie @ Blonde Ambition April 10, 2013, 11:59 am

    I think you should have Pantry Week more often :) You obviously have a gift for coming up with innovative recipes! Also, it’s worth noting that your photography has come a long way…from great to amazing, obviously.

  • purelytwins April 11, 2013, 8:22 am

    love all the colors in that bowl :) looks delicious

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} April 11, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Now this is my kind of meal, ha ha! I tend to just throw whatever I can find in the fridge and cupboards into a bowl and call it dinner. Last night was sweet potato, a crumbled up veggie burger, corn and taco sauce. Don’t laugh, it was good!

    The colors in this dish are beautiful. Do you buy the nori sheets? I bought seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s that I’ve been sprinkling on my salads.

    • Erica April 11, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Haha that is quite the combo! I think I’m going to be having a lot more meals like that from now on. Yes, I buy the nori sheets, usually from the Asian market. I considered buying some seaweed snacks from TJ’s just last night, but ended up passing. I’ll have to pick some up next time!

      • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete April 13, 2013, 6:59 pm

        Taco sauce makes everything better ;-)

        The great thing about the seaweed snacks is the variety of flavors. Let me know if you try them.


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