5x Japanese Vegan Sushi Recipes

Sushi is an authentic Japanese dish that combines vinegared rice with, well, basically everything. Including vegetables. That makes for a lot of authentic vegan Sushi recipes. Today we make Futomaki, Hosomaki and Nigirizushi.

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A lot of sushi is vegan already.

Finding the authentic Vegan Sushi Recipes

Yes! I’m very excited that today our mission to collect traditional vegan dishes from all countries in the world has brought us to Japan to find authentic Vegan Sushi Recipes. Not literally of course. Literally at the moment of writing this recipe we are still two backpackers stranded on Koh Samui (Thailand) because of Covid-19. But in our minds we are traveling to Japan to steel the art of vegan sushi.

Overall, Sushi is an authentic Japanese dish of rice prepared with vinegar, sugar and salt, combined with a variety of ingredients including seafood, vegetables and sometimes even fruits. Plenty of possibilities! And also plenty of authentic vegan Sushi options.

3 categories of Vegan Sushi Recipes

With there being so many Sushi variations, there are plenty of authentic Vegan Sushi Recipes to choose from. We will be making 5 different types of plant-based sushi, falling into 3 main sushi categories: 1 Futomaki, 2 Hosomaki and 2 Nigirizushi.

Futomaki and Hosomaki share the word maki, which means roll. It’s the type of sushi you get by rolling sushi rice and some type of filling in nori (seaweed), and than cutting them into little rounds.  Nigirizushi is something different — the only commonality is the sushi rice. Before getting into how to make Futomaki, Hosomaki and Nigirizushi, a little more explanation.

What is Futomaki?

Futomaki literally means fat/big/large roll. But that’s only because the roll is fat, big and large. And that is because in Futomaki you use 2, 3 or even up to 7 fillings. Because there is so much freedom in the fillings, many chefs use leftovers for the filling to cut costs and avoid unnecessary waste. Still, chefs do consider colors and flavors that go well together. 

Anything might be in a Futomaki, from vegetables to raw fish, but it is often made without any raw fish at all, making it into an authentic vegan sushi.

What is Hosomaki?

Contrary to Futomaki, Hosomaki means thin roll and only has 1 filling. Today we will use cucumber for one Hosomaki (which is so popular it has its own name: Kappamaki) and carrot for the other.

What is Nigirizushi?

As you could have guessed by the absence of the world maki, Nigirizushi is not rolled, but hand-pressed. You simply make an oval shape in your hands and press well. It can be topped with raw fish, but also avocado and shiitake are common toppings. Needless to say we’ll be going with those.

Ingredients

For a complete dinner for 3 persons

Everything you need to make 5 different  vegan Sushi recipes. So many authentic vegan Sushi options to choose from!

For the sushi rice

  • 370 grams (2 cups) of sushi rice
  • 440 milliliter (2.4 cups) of water
  • 6 tablespoons (⅜ cup) of rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons (⅜ cup) of white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of salt
  • Optional: a handful of black sesame seeds

For the Hosomaki

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 carrot

For the Nigirizushi

  • 6 shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 stems of (Chinese) chives

For the Futomaki

  • Anything left from the rest: cucumber, carrot and chive or avocado

For general use

  • 4 nori sheets
  • Pickled ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi

Kitchen utensils

  • Cooking pan
  • Saucepan or grill pan
  • Bamboo sushi mat (or substitute with a placemat)
  • Sharp knife

How to make the 5 vegan Sushi options

Prep: 0 min. | Cook: 40 min. | Total: 40 min.

Start with the rice (to be used for all of the Vegan Sushi Recipes)

  1. Cook the 370 grams (2 cups) of sushi rice with 440 milliliter (2.4 cups) of water for some 15 minutes (double check the instructions on the rice you bought). If you’re the lucky owner of a rice cooker, cook the rice according to the instructions for sushi rice in the manual. 
  1. Mix the 6 tablespoons (⅜ cup) of rice vinegar, 6 tablespoons (⅜ cup) of white sugar, and the 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of salt.
  1. When the rice is done, let it cool down. When the rice is cool enough to touch comfortably, mix the dressing with the rice. This might smell a bit vinegary at first, but that will even out eventually.


  2. Optional: mix a handful of black sesame seeds through the rice.

How to make the Hosomaki (2 types)

  1. Cut the nori sheet in half (cut in the long side).

  2. Place a sheet of nori on the bamboo mat.
Nori sheet on a bamboo mat.
The Nori sheet should be straight on the bamboo mat.
  1. Cover the nori sheet entirely with a thin layer of rice pressed gently but firm — cover the edges well and precisely.
Rice on a Nori mat with cucumber filling.
The rice must cover the Nori sheet entirely and the filling should be placed in the center.
  1. Cut a strip of filling (cucumber or carrot) that has the width of the nori sheet and a diameter of max ½ centimeters.

  2. Lift the bamboo mat from the rim closest to you. When the nori sheet lifts up, place your hand under the bamboo mat, close to the filling, to roll further. Roll tightly until the ends meet.
Rolling a sushi roll
Gently yet firmly, that is how you should roll the sushi.
A sushi roll, or maki as the Japanese call it.
This is what your sushi roll looks like when rolled up.
  1. Cut into 6 pieces. The sharper the knife, the more beautiful your pieces get.
Cutting your sushi is a delicate task and the final touch for all authentic vegan Sushi recipes.
The roll can be cut in 6 or 8 pieces. A sharp knife is your best friend.

How to make the Nigirizushi

  1. First boil some water in the kettle.
  1. In the meantime, take a clump of rice (either or not enriched with black sesame seads) in your hand palm. Knead tightly together and make a nice oval shape. Do this 10 times.
  1. Brush the 6 shiitake mushrooms clean and cut off the stems.
  1. Heat the 4 tablespoons of sesame oil in a saucepan or grill pan.
  1. Put in the shiitake mushrooms and grill for 2 minutes on each side. 
  1. Cut the lemon in 4 quarters and squeeze out 1 quarter on the mushrooms. Use the other quarters for garnishing.
  1. Remove the very end of the stems of the chive and rinse with water. Sand tends to get stuck in between the leaves. 
  1. Blanch the chives by putting them in a bowl and pouring the boiling water from the kettle.
  1. After 1 minute, rinse off the chives.
  1. Cut the avocado in half (lengthwise) and cut lengthwise into wisps of ½ cm.
  1. Take a nori sheet and cut a few wisps of ½ centimeter wide. 
  1. Take 6 oval shapes of rice and put a shiitake on it. Tight the rice and the shiitake together with a chive and knot nicely. The chives are flexible because of the blanching. 

  2. Take the other 4 oval nigiri shapes and put a piece of avocado on it. Tie together with a wisp of nori.

How to make the Futomaki

  1. Cut the nori sheet in half (cut in the long side).
  1. Place a sheet of nori on the bamboo mat.
  1. Cover the nori sheet entirely with a thin layer of rice pressed gently but firm — cover the edges well and precise.
  1. Fill with any long strips of cucumber, carrot (and maybe chive and/or avocado).
  1. Lift the bamboo mat from the rim closest to you. When the nori sheet lifts up, place your hand under the bamboo mat, close to the filling, to roll further. Roll tightly until the ends meet. 
  1. Cut into 6 pieces. The sharper the knife, the more beautiful your pieces will be. 

All done! You completed 5 authentic Vegan Sushi Recipes. Now go dip ‘m in some soy sauce, some wasabi and serve with fermented ginger.

A plate of sushi - picked vegan.

Summary

Recipe: Sushi
Country: Japan
Prep: 0 min.
Cook: 40 min.
Total: 40 min.
Ingredients: rice, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, cucumber, carrot, shiitake, mushroom, sesame oil, lemon, avocado, chive, nori, seaweed
Type of meal: main dish, snack

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