Super Onigiri

Super Onigiri Recipe

Onigiri are so cute! I make these little on-the-go rice balls all the time with leftover rice, and whatever fillings and seasonings are convenient and on hand. You can make them any shape you like, sometimes I'll use damp (lightly salted) hands, other times press them into a mold, for more precision shaping. I think the key is to avoid fussing, or trying to make them too perfect. I posted a photo of these super-onigiri to Instagram the other day - without the recipe. Apologies! I'll try to make good here. These are made with leftover sprouted brown rice and cooked mung beans. They're filled with a bit of avocado, and I made a quick almond-butter + miso slather that I hit with the broiler for a quick flash. I only did little nori strips as wrappers because I was eating them at home, but I'd do a full wrap if I'm taking them for lunch or travel. You can do either.

Super Onigiri RecipeSuper Onigiri RecipeSuper Onigiri Recipe

Super Onigiri with Sprouted Brown Rice & Mung Beans

If you have time to sprout your own rice, that is an option here. A shortcut is to buy pre-sprouted / germinated rice - (for example, truRoots brand). If I know I might make onigiri, I add a bit more water to the rice than usual, and I might pull it from the heat a bit early, so it stays a more moist. You can use the rice warm or room temperature.

2 cups cooked (sprouted) brown rice
1/2 cup cooked mung beans
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
small handful of chopped arugula or chopped scallions (or micro versions of either)

1/2 avocado, peeled
fine grain sea salt

1 tablespoon miso paste (use chickpea miso if you avoid soy)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

strips of nori

In a medium bowl, gently toss the rice, mung beans, sesame seeds, and arugula.

Smash the avocado with a bit of salt, you'll put a bit of this in the middle of each onigiri.

Shape the rice in 1/2 cup portions, you'll end up with 4 onigiri. You can use wet hands, an onigiri press, or a plastic wrap-lined cup (see photo). You'll press a layer of rice to form the bottom, use your finger to make a bit of an indent, add a bit of avocado, and then cover the avocado with another layer of rice. Press enough that the onigiri holds together. Repeat until all the rice is used.

In a small bowl blend together the miso, almond butter, and olive oil. Smear an equal amount on the top of each onigiri, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil just until the miso mixture is well toasted. Alternately you can skip the broil step. Wrap each onigiri with a strip of nori. If I'm going to take these to-go, I'll wrap the entire onigiri, you can even wrap the rice burrito style if that's easier. But, If we're going to eat them immediately, I might go for a thinner strip of nori. Dab a bit of water on the seaweed where you want it to seal.

Makes four onigiri.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 2 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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These would make a great appetizer!

xoxoBella |

Bella B

Hi there! Any ideas on avoiding soggy seaweed here? Thank you! M


These look gorgeous! I look forward to packing some as part of my lunch.


Hi Heidi- what beautifully simple little packages these are! With all the healthy fats and grains going on, these would make awesome fuel post(pre?)-hike. I happen to have most of these ingredients on hand already, living in a relatively health conscious Chinese household, so I think I will have to make these in the near future. Thank you for posting! I always enjoy how natural and minimalistic your recipes and photos are, but I've never chose to comment until now :)

Michelle Fan | chasing bagels

I love onigiri! I used to make and eat them pretty often years ago and I love your idea to fill them with avo! :D

valentina | sweet kabocha

These look absolutely beautiful. I'm curious to try these little rice balls. First things first, I need to shop for some pre-sprouted rice :)

Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday

yay, onigiris!!! :) love seeing your versions of our national soul food. looks great! have to try adding almond butter to miso for yaki (broiled) onigiri as you did here. and whoa, chikpea miso!? never knew there was such a thing. hope to give it a try if/when i get a chance...


Oh my, these look STUNNING! So beautiful. You do wonders for our eyes (and bellies)... Thank you :)


Wonderful idea for leftover rice, I have it so often and I mostly just make fried rice the next day. I would love to try these.


Love the sound of your miso/almond slather! Yum xx


I always thought that for onigiri, the rice had to be hot and freshly made. I must try it with cold rice!
A couple of weeks ago I was watching NHK World, Japan's English-language channel. They showed "onigiri sandwiches" made by lining a square plastic food storage box with cling film and then a nori sheet. Then put in a layer of hot rice, your fillings, and another layer of rice to cover. Wrap the end of the nori sheet over the top, then tightly wrap with the overlap of the plastic film and allow to cool. Cut in half on the diagonal, and there's your "sandwich"! Using a full sheet of nori and the plastic wrap provides a way to hold it and keep your hands clean. Have a dipping sauce ready--mayo, soysauce, sweet chili sauce or whatever you like best, and dip as you eat.
I have made "nigiri sandwiches" filled with chopped hardboiled egg, surimi sticks, smoked salmon, or whatever you like. I want to try them with grated carrot and chickpea ful.


I was hoping you would share this soon! What lovely little onigiri. The miso-almond butter glaze sounds amazing, especially broiled.


This looks soooo good. My staple lunch when I was in Japan was onigiri (I think I had some every day of the whole month I was there). I don't know why I never ventured to make them myself (it doesn't seem so hard). Quick question though, is there any miso version that does not contain soy? Funny thing is, when I was in Japan, I got a really bad allergic reaction (near anaphilactic shock) and when I got home to Canada I discovered I was now (never before) allergic to all Legumes (beans, chickpeas, soy, peanuts). So for the last year I've had to check everything and avoid all of that stuff but of course, any replacement for peanuts is filled with soy and anything vegetarian has either soy or peas/beans of some sort! It makes things complicated for me. But I assume I could try this recipe without the mung beans (maybe replace with salmon or tuna for protein) and avoid the miso if all of the kind have soy in it.


aloha from maui! love these lil' packages of goodness. sprouted rice is basically soaked rice is it not? i get thrown off with thoughts of rice "tails" appearing. imagining these with black lentils as a substitute for mung beans. what do you think?


Adorable! These look perfect for a quick lunch on the go. I have never had onigiri before but I'm inspired to try these at home.


How long will these onigiri 'keep' their tight, compact form? (Do they travel w/o falling apart?)

robin lewsi

How did you know I just cooked a batch of brown rice and a batch of mung beans? Your timing is too amazing. I'll have to try these now! Beautiful photos as always!


I love when you post travel-ready recipes! I'm not sure I know how I would wrap the entire onigiri. I'm imagining trying to wrap it like a birthday present. Haha. I guess I'm a little naive in the seaweed wrapping department. Will you please elaborate?


These look so delicious Heidi! I ate a lot of onigiri the two times I've travelled around Japan, but never thought to make my own. Love the addition of mung beans to the rice mix to make them more substantial too! Looking forward to experimenting with this! xo Liberty

Liberty Browne

I made these with slight modifications based on what I had at home and they are AMAZING! If you're not going to eat them immediately or want to travel with them, how do you store them? Do you wrap them in plastic or parchment paper individually and them put them in the fridge? Will they stay together on the go?


Beautiful! Heidi, I have been searching high and low for mung beans produced in the West. I have never been able to find mung or adzuki beans that are not imported from China. Where are yours from? Do you know of any suppliers in the Americas or Europe?


There are mung beans grown in the US:
"In the U.S., most mungbeans are grown in Oklahoma. U.S. production is estimated at around 100,000 acres. The majority of this acreage is harvested for a variety of food products, but some mungbean fields are plowed under as a green manure crop. Several million pounds of mungbeans are consumed each year in the U.S., with almost three fourths of that being imported."

Jen Garrison Stuber

Chickpea Miso? I don't avoid soy, but I am intrigued :)


These look wonderful! They're so adorable and perfectly portable!

Mary Frances

I like this idea! I am have started trying to make my own snacks to bring into work (frequently quinoa bites of some variety). I am excited to play around with this recipe once it is cool enough to turn the oven on (I find baking brown rice to be far less frustrating than stovetop). I have to say what I am most excited about is learning that Miso exists without soy. I have just been avoiding it all along. My head exploded in a plethora of ideas, with more recipes being accessible. And the best part is a local company has started making chickpea miso, score on the local front.


The recipe lists one of the ingredients as being sprouted brown rice. Do you sprout your own rice, Heidi? If so, can you tell me about your process? Also, what makes sprouted rice better than regular rice?


These are adorable! I am in love with a tuna roll topped with miso I found at an amazing sushi restaurant while on vacation a few weeks ago in Fenwick Island, DE and now I want everything topped with that amazing sauce. Your miso, almond butter sauce sounds incredible, I'm thinking of subbing in coconut oil for the olive oil, might be good. And I know it's nothing new, but genius idea to line the measuring cup with plastic wrap before adding in the rice mix, I will not forget that one! Thanks always for amazing photos, delicious recipes and wonderful inspiration.

Jen at

Wow! These look like something right up my alley! A must try next time I have rice leftovers.

Sonja {Dagmar's Kitchen}

Hi Heidi. These sound delicious. I adore rice (brown rice especially) & have always eaten a lot of it, but it recently came to my attention that arsenic is considered a problem with all rice, & that levels are particularly high in brown rice. Have you heard about this issue? Here is a link to one article, in case you are interested:


I love how you used a measuring cup for a mold for the onigiri... genius!! :D

Sarah | Well and Full

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