Vegetarian or Vegan? Sushi Can Still Be For You

May 15, 2017

Today marks the start of National Vegetarian Week, and to celebrate, we’ve put together a guide on choosing vegetarian sushi.

Many people make the assumption that sushi is raw fish. But they would be wrong. Anyone native to Japan will tell you that sushi actually means ‘seasoned rice’. So no matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, you can still enjoy the delicious taste of sushi.

One of the most common varieties of vegan sushi comes in the form of ‘Maki sushi’, or sushi rolls, one to five fillings wrapped in rice and nori (seaweed). Maki sushi is great because it gives you the freedom to be creative and add as many different types of vegetables to your roll. Think of it as a sandwich format that you can play around with. To give you an idea of the different kinds of Maki sushi, we’ve listed a few traditional Japanese versions below:

  • Kappa Maki, which is also known as the cucumber roll, is the most popular sushi roll and can be found in most Japanese restaurants
  • Oshinko, (pickled yellow daikon / takuan)
  • Kampyo (marinated dried gourd)
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Natto (fermented soy bean)
  • Umeboshi (sour pickled plums)

Another popular dish is the cucumber avocado roll, which is simple and satisfying. You don’t need many ingredients and it is relatively simple to make:


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (sushi vinegar)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cucumber


  • Wash the rice in a sieve until the water runs almost clear
  • Combine the rice and water in a pot and cook until there’s no water and the grains have visibly expanded
  • Mix in the seasoned vinegar
  • Lay the nori on top of the bamboo mat and spread the rice evenly, (leave a bit of space around the edges of the nori)
  • Cut up your avocado and cucumber and place them in the middle of the rice
  • Now, begin to roll. Make sure to tuck in the edge before making the final roll. Don't wet the nori or it won't stick. The moisture in the rice will seal the roll
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into individual bite-sized pieces, and enjoy!

As well as Maki, other well-known types of sushi suitable for vegetarians and vegans include, Inarizushi – sushi rice packed into a pouch of marinated, deepfried tofu (if eating out, make sure dashi is not used in the recipe, as it can often contain bonito fish). And another is vegan Nigiri sushi - vegetables pressed into a small rectangular block of rice. The topping can be held in place by a thin band of nori.  

There’s a wide range of different sushi out there for vegetarians and vegans so try it and let us know how you get on!

To find out more about National Vegetarian Week 2017, which runs from 15th to 21st May, visit

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