Sushi Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans
While many people will immediately associate the word ‘sushi’ with raw fish, the term actually refers to the vinegared rice that makes up the bulk of each piece of sushi. This means that the topping that accompanies the rice is able to change depending on your flavour preferences. Therefore, if you are following a diet free from animal products, then there are plenty of ways in which you can enjoy sushi without any involvement of fish! Here are just some of the many veggie options you can enjoy:
Also known as Shinko Maki, with ‘shinko’ meaning pickle, the takuan maki is a sushi roll containing pickled radish. Typically, the radish in the centre of the roll will be yellow in colour. It adds a bit of crunch to each roll and offers a tangy flavour, making it a great vegan choice.
Another popular type of pickle is the kampyo, or gourd. When pickled, the gourd is brown in colour and has a taste similar to a sweet soy sauce. Believed to aid digestion, kampyo maki already play a part in many sushi meals, as it is often enjoyed as the last ordered dish.
A simple, but refreshing, vegan sushi option comes in the form of the kappa maki, or cucumber roll. Each bite-size roll contains a small slice of cucumber, or several little bits of cucumber, rolled up inside rice and a piece of nori seaweed. For regular sushi eaters, this type of sushi would be used as a palate cleanser between different types of fish; however, a few of these can be filling enough for someone living without meat to enjoy as a lunch, or as part of a bigger sushi dinner!
Shiitake Mushroom Nigiri
One of the most popular, and easiest forms of sushi are nigiri. Instead of forming a roll, a nigiri is simply a ball of sushi rice with a piece of veg, slice of omelette or fish placed on top. Shiitake mushrooms are very flavourful, and their savoury taste is often enhanced using a splash of soy sauce when used for sushi. The texture and juiciness of a mushroom is a great alternative when looking to replace meat and fish in a piece of sushi.
Over the past few years, avocado has grown into a frequently used ingredient in sushi, especially that made in Western countries. It can be used as the filling for sushi rolls, both alone and alongside other ingredients, or it can be simply added to the top of sushi in a slice as a nigiri. Often, the avocado slice will be attached to the rice using a small strip of nori seaweed, as with many nigiri sushi. A sprinkling of salt is sometimes added to the avocado to enhance its milder flavour, but the creamy texture works well with the rice.
Nasu is the Japanese word for aubergine, and it isn’t hard to see how slices of this veg would work really well as a nigiri topper. It can be served up grilled or pickled, allowing it to provide a diverse range of flavours for the sushi. Aubergine can also be battered and fried as tempura and added to sushi with a slice of ginger for a more textured bite.
Image Credit: Ocdp
Filled with vinegared rice, the outer pouch of the inarizushi is made from sweetened tofu and fried. With the tofu skin holding the rice in, these types of sushi are often enjoyed as part of a picnic, or for lunch, as they can be easily eaten from your hands. Each bite is sweet and succulent, making it a little different to other forms of sushi, but equally as delicious!
For those who have turned to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle but miss the tastes of fish sushi, vegan fish for sushi is being made by flavouring substitute vegetables with soy sauce and other ingredients.
Image Credit: Vegan Feast Catering