Sushi Choices for Vegetarians and Vegans

September 15, 2021 0 Comments

When most people think of sushi, they picture a combination of rice, seaweed, and fish, however, there are many varieties to suit vegetarian and vegan diners. After all, more than two-thirds of Japanese citizens practice Buddhism which, for many, prohibits the eating of meat. As such, there is an extensive selection of plant-based sushi options available. Here are some of the most popular varieties.

Vegan and Vegetarian Nigiri

Nigiri is one of the most common types of sushi presentation. Literally translated as ‘two fingers’ nigiri comprises a ball of vinegared sushi rice, pressed into an oblong shape and topped with another ingredient. Popular vegan and vegetarian choices for nigiri include:

shiitake mushrooms: flavoured with salt and lightly-flamed to improve the fragrance.

nasu: slices of aubergine, either grilled, pickled, or fried in a tempura batter. Fried nasu is often served with grated ginger.

avocado: lightly seasoned with salt, the creamy texture of avocado requires it to be fastened to the nigiri with a strip of nori for easier handling.

tamagoyaki: not suitable for vegans, tamagoyaki remains a popular choice for vegetarians. It is a fluffy omelette, with a slightly sweet flavour that pairs well with the sushi rice. Like avocado, the tamagoyaki make need to be fastened to the nigiri with a strip of seaweed.

Vegetarian and Vegan Maki-zushi

Maki-zushi, or sushi rolls, are another popular form of sushi. A large square sheet of nori is laid out on a bamboo mat and spread with vinegared sushi rice. Onto this is placed the various fillings, with the whole being tightly rolled and cut into slices. Popular vegetarian and vegan options for maki-zushi include:

kappa: perhaps the simplest form of vegan sushi, the kappa maki includes fresh cucumber, making it an ideal palate cleanser.

shinko: the pickled vegetables in shinko maki allow for great variety in taste and texture. Particularly popular is takuan maki, which includes pickled radish for a extra crunch and tanginess.

kampyo: pickled strips of calabash (bottle gourd) have a salty sweet flavour and are believed to aid digestion, making them a popular choice for finishing a meal.

ume, cucumber, and shiso: ume paste (made from Japanese pickled plums), shiso (Japanese mint), and sweet cucumber combine to make a light and refreshing maki-zushi choice.

Other Types of Vegetarian and Vegan Sushi

Outside of nigiri and maki-zushi, there are several other options available.

natto temaki: this hand-rolled sushi is less tightly-compressed than maki-zushi. This means the rice retains its fluffy texture, which works well with the fermented soybean (natto) filling.

seaweed gunkanmaki: Fresh seaweed (wakame), dressed with mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, and red chilli, is placed atop a bed of sushi rice, the whole being held in place with a strip of nori.

inarizushi: a pouch made of fried, sweet tofu, which is stuffed with sushi rice and often topped with sesame seeds.

takenoko chirashizushi: chirashizushi translates as ‘scattered sushi’ and comprises sushi rice topped with a variety of ingredients. In takenoko chirashizushi, the main topping is bamboo shoots, simmered in a broth to soften them and add flavour.

Here at SushiSushi, we supply everything you need to create appetising vegetarian and vegan sushi dishes.

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