A reasonable requirement for love, if I do say so myself.
I like sushi… more than a friend. It’s by far the meal I miss most since going plant-based/vegan. I often get questions from readers saying “what’s so bad about sushi anyway?”
Salmon and tuna; the fish most commonly found in sushi are not very different from other animal products from a nutrition standpoint. They are high in fat and have a lot of protein. Since I believe our diets should consist mostly of plant-based foods and a very small amount of fat, it’s not an ideal protein choice.
If this isn’t the diet style you follow that’s okay, we can still be friends but the main reason we should avoid sushi these days is the fact that our waters are so, so, SO polluted and over-fished. There is a reason why we’re farm raising salmon, which is a whole other issue to tackle in a different post.
So if you love sushi like I do fear not, there are plenty of vegan sushi options that you can order when you’re out to dinner. I’ve been known to order an avocado roll, sweet potato roll and a mushroom roll if it’s on the menu. I used to call people who ordered like this at sushi restaurants, fake sushi lovers. Who orders sushi without fish? Can you even call it sushi? Now I’m one of those people.
If you’re feeling adventurous or is your wallet can’t take your constant cravings (that’s me) you can to make sushi at home. It’s really not as hard as you’d think and you can make an awesome vegan roll with just 5 ingredients! Most likely you can find these in your local grocery store in the international food aisle, but if you can’t, I linked (affiliate links) each one to similar ones you can find on Amazon.
Nori Seaweed Sheets- the sheets you roll the sushi in
Rice Vinegar- for added flavor
Black Sesame Seeds
Sushi Rice- I need to get more as you can see!
1. First, you cook the rice following the directions on the back of the container. Once the rice is done cooking and cooled add the rice vinegar and the sesame seeds.
2. Take the nori sheet out of the package. You will notice that one side is smooth and one side is a bit rougher. The rougher side is the side you’re going to want to cut when the time comes. Make sure the rough side is face down and that the rice and other ingredients are on the smoother side. When you roll it up the rougher side will then be on the outside. You’ll also notice little lines on the nori. You’ll want to roll it up so these lines are horizontal rather than vertical. They are basically perforated lines that make roller easier.
3. Next, pat the rice on the smooth side of the nori sheet leaving space on the bottom and top. Make sure you pat the rice down so it’s an even layer that goes all the way to the sides. If you are thin on the rice on the edges it will make cutting it later more difficult.
4. Add whatever you want to the center of the rice for your sushi roll filling. Avocado is my number one choice but you can add mashed up sweet potatoes, mango, mango AND avocado (cray, cray) or mushrooms. Get as creative as you want.
5. Now it’s time to roll it up. You’ll want to do it as tight as you can, it will make cutting it easier. Once it’s rolled, if the nori feels a bit dry, drape a damp paper towel over the roll. To avoid this in the future you might need a bit more rice.
6. Slicing the roll can be the hardest part and I’m going to tell you a dirty little secret. Each piece of sushi is going to have an ugly side and a pretty side. I find this is always the case even when you order it from a restaurant. The ugly side is always facing down, take a look next time. I have the best luck with my long carving set knife. It’s HUGE but sharp enough to do one smooth cut of each piece. Running the knife under water first helps prevent the sticky rice from sticking to it. I start by slicing the roll in half and then I cut each half into three pieces, leaving me with 6 total. The tend to be larger pieces but I don’t mind.
Tip: If when you cut the sushi the filling starts to explode out of the sides, don’t fret. Simply push the sushi roll ingredients back in with the side of your knife and hand and try again. You may need to do this little push in between each cut. This tends to happen if the knife you’re using isn’t sharp enough. If it’s the sharpest one ya got, try grabbing a serrated one. Think about when you slice a tomato; if your knife isn’t sharp or the tomato is too soft, it just kind of squishes. It just takes one little puncture to get a nice slice.
I hope the steps were helpful and clear. I wanted to be very detailed because I have had a lot of practice and over time I’ve gotten pretty good at making it. If you mess up the first time just keep trying, it gets easier and you’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t. I love making homemade sushi because the ingredients are ones you probably wont use all of at one meal. The nori sheets packages come in sizes from 10-50 per pack, so say you make 3 rolls you’ll have leftover sheets for next time. Same goes for the rice, vinegar and seeds, it seriously is something you can just whip up for lunch! Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions or even better if you’re a pro, send me some tips!