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The Cactus Club’s Zen Roll (Only Better!)

4 Mins read

The Zen Roll is a sushi mango avocado roll at the Cactus Club restaurants that is topped off with a soy glaze, yuzu tamari vinaigrette and fried lotus root. It is an absolute delicious roll that is filled with surprising flavours that hit you in with all different notes at different times. 

Why You’ll Love This Zen Roll Recipe

This was the first time I used sesame soy paper and I could only find the half sheets but the full sheets are also on Amazon! Sesame soy paper is such a beautiful light way to enjoy vegetarian (or vegan) sushi without a really fishy taste because it does not use nori. 

This is a vegan dish on the Cactus Club menu, but this recipe is vegetarian. It can be easily converted to vegan if you have vegan mayo. 

The best part of this dish is really how the flavours compliment each other and the different textures. Because this is a mango avocado roll, it starts off very soft with the rice, but then it’s complimented by the crispy taro. Very similarly, the soy glaze is thick compliment to the really bright and delicate citrus tamari sauce. It’s one of those times where individually all the components taste good but there’s something about it that when it all comes together, you go “yum!”

How To Make This Zen Roll Recipe

Start by cooking your sushi rice as per instructions. Next, make the soy glaze by combining dark soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and rice vinegar in a small pot. 

While the rice is cooking and soy glaze is coming together, prepare the rest of the ingredients. 

Combine the ingredients for the Citrus Tamari Vinaigrette. The original Cactus Club dish uses Yuzu, but it is a very hard fruit to find so I substituted it with orange and lemon. 

Then peel and finely julienne the the taro root and fry them lightly until golden brown.

After the rice is done, season with rice vinegar and spread it on the soy sesame rice paper. Add in mango, avocado and kewpie mayo and roll it up.

How To Serve This Zen Roll Recipe 

After the roll is made, place the soy glaze on a plate and top it off with cubed avocado and the fried taro root pieces. Drizzle on the Citrus Tamari Sauce. You can also serve it with a side of pickled ginger and wasabi!

Zen Roll Recipe Tips 

The original Cactus Club recipe is uses the yuzu fruit, and I have substituted it with orange and lemon. If you are able to find yuzu, it is a Japanese citrus fruit that is very similar to orange and lemon. Obviously it is not exactly the same, but this recipe uses so little juice and zest (only a few teaspoons!) I don’t think it’s worth going too out of your way if you are unable to find it. 

This recipe uses 1 whole avocado, half of it is for the actual sushi, and half of it is cubed for the garnish. 

I could only find half sheets of sesame soy paper, but if you have the whole one, that will work better! This recipe makes 2 rolls with 4 half sheets but you will only need 2 sheets if you can find the whole sheets.  


The Zen Roll Recipe 


Makes 2 Rolls


2 Sheets of Sesame Soy Paper (If you are able to find the whole sheets, you only need 4 Half Sheets

1/2 Cup Sushi Rice

1/2 Cup of Defrosted Mango or 1/2 Fresh Mango

1/2 Avocado (the other half is for the garnish on top)

1 Tbsp Kewpie Mayo

Citrus Tamari Vinigrette

1/4 Cup of Tamari or Dark Soy Sauce 

1/2 Tsp Fresh Orange Juice (or Yuzu Juice)

1/2 Tsp  Fresh Lemon Juice (or Yuzu Juice) 

1/4 Tsp Minced Ginger

1 Tsp Sesame Oil 

Optional: 1/4 Tsp Lemon and Orange Zest 

Soy Glaze 

1/2 Cup of Dark Soy Sauce

3 Pieces of 1 inch Ginger

2 Cloves of Garlic (Roughly smashed or chopped) 

1 Tbsp of Rice Vinegar 

1 Tsp Honey


1 Lotus Root 

1/2 Avocado Cubed


  1. Cook sushi rice as per package directions. Once the rice is finished cooking, season with rice vinegar.
  2. Prepare soy glaze by adding in dark soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar into a sauce pan.  Make sure ginger and garlic are in big pieces because they will need to be removed later. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Bring up to a boil for 1-2 minutes. They remove from heat, remove ginger and garlic, and let rest for at least 5 minutes (it will thicken up). 
  3. Peel lotus root and julienne into long strips. Lightly fry in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Create the Citrus Tamari Vinaigrette by adding the tamari (or dark soy sauce), minced ginger, lemon juice, orange juice, and sesame into a bowl.
  5. Prepare the sushi. Place the sesame soy paper on a flat surface. If you have a sushi mat, you can use one, but it’s not required. Gently spread a thin layer of rice on the sesame soy paper (it should be about 1/8 of a cup if you are doing 4 sheets. Cut 1/2 the avocado lengthwise and place it on the rice. Follow it with defrosted mango pieces. Squirt on a thin layer of kewpie mayonaise and roll up the sushi wrap. If you are using half sheets, cut it into 4 pieces. Repeat for the next 3 sheets. Leave the end pieces to the side (I eat them as a snack as they are not the best for presenting!)
  6. On a plate drizzle on the soy glaze creating a circular pattern onto the plate. Place the sushi (from 2 half sheets) onto the plate. Garnish the sushi with the avocado cubes (from the other half of the avocado) and crispy lotus strips. Drizzle on the vinaigrette. 
  7. Serve Immediately! This recipe makes 2 whole rolls (2 half sheets).