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 minutes - Cook time: 2 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • 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?

    Christina
  • 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 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?

    Giselle
  • 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!

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

    robin lewsi
  • 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.

    Allyson
  • 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?

    TERRY ANN HELLER
  • 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.

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

    Danielle
  • 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.

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

    Emma
  • 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.

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

    Rebecca
  • 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...

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

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

    Monica
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