Vegan Sushi Night ~ Smoky Tofu Nigiri & Vegan Crab Roll

One of the things I love about our Tokyo Diner Night meals is that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. For example, in my pre-vegan days I had a love-hate relationship with sushi. As a girl I would read about sushi was “all the rage” and the moment there was a sushi restaurant in my small town, I pounced. I loved it and ate it often, thinking myself the height of sophistication.

And then one dark day, I succumbed to food poisoning from a batch of bad–though not discount–sushi, and thus my wariness began. Spending almost a decade in Los Angeles gave me a renewed appreciation for the dish but now, as a vegan I steer clear of it altogether, mostly because I still have an iffy relationship with nori.

But still, I’ve had some pretty decent vegan sushi over the past three years. So when I was binge watching YouTube last week and saw a brief glimpse of an eel roll, it gave me an idea and that idea became my next dinner request.

Before you begin, you’ll need a few tools: Sushi Mat, Plastic wrap, Sharp knife.

If you’re a committed vegan sushi lover, consider a sushi making kit.

My partner and I watched a few vegan sushi videos online to figure these out and if you’ve done the same, you’ll know that a wide variety of rice is used. For both types of vegan sushi, he used sushi rice. It’s nice and sticky and if this is your first time, it’s better to do it right so that later, when you’re comfortable, you can make changes.

Let’s start with the Nigiri because preparation is so simple. Mix the mirin, soy sauce, agave syrup and rice vinegar in a bowl and brush the smoked tofu or simply let it soak and set it aside while you prepare the other roll.

For the vegan crab roll, you only need three simple ingredients: smoked tofu, vegan mayo or veggiegurt and Sriracha. I’d recommend adding some salt, pepper and maybe even garlic granules but those are optional and totally up to you.

Grate the tofu using a box grater and then add Sriracha and mayo or veggiegurt, stir until combined.

Now the hard part, rolling up the sushi. I wish I could give you some pointers but I’ve yet to even perfect my vegan Vietnamese rolls, but I think my Hubs did a pretty good job, don’t you? It’s a vast improvement over the last homemade vegan sushi dish I posted.

You will, of course need proper vegan sushi accoutrements such as pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. All are optional but if you want the whole experience, go all the way with it!

Overall this was one of my favorite sushi meals, even with the nori, because the flavors were unexpected and totally delicious. If you thought your days of eating sushi were over since you adopted a cruelty-free diet, think again my friend.

And stay tuned, more vegan sushi recipes to come!

The vegan sushi set I bought didn’t arrive in time, but next you’ll see these babies on a pretty blue-green set that’ll make you totally jealous!

Is Vegan Sushi A Thing?

Prior to becoming a vegan, I went through sushi phases. When I was a teenage girl reading romance novels and dreaming of practicing law in New York City, a big part of the dream was eating sushi with my girlfriends. And I did enjoy it.

For about two weeks.

There was something about the blend of seaweed (nori), soy sauce and raw fish that absolutely did NOT agree with my taste buds. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to actually like the taste of sushi, which went a long way in re-crafting my vision of the future. As you can imagine, when I went vegan a few years ago, I stopped thinking about sushi altogether, assuming that it would no longer have a place in my life.

So imagine my surprise when we happened upon a sushi restaurant that had two all important words for any traveling vegan, vegan options.

I really wanted edamame and miso soup because miso is one of my top 5 all time favorite soups, but there were three different vegan sushi rolls so I knew I’d get to try them because my husband used to love sushi.

I’ll admit that this miso had a lot more ingredients than I was accustomed to, including mushrooms and sesame seeds. It was still delicious, if different, but I can usually count on miso soup being a satisfying, low calorie food option. Not so much with at least a full tablespoon of sesame seeds.

I didn’t need to add anything to the soup, not even soy sauce, which in my book is considered a win.

The edamame beans were…fantastic. Perfectly steamed (I guess) and served with pink Himalaya sea salt, they were tasty and fun to eat.

They were warm this time, which is the first time I’ve ever eaten them warm. There’s a nice restaurant in Culver City, CA that serves the most amazing chilled edamame. It was the first place I’d ever had them and by far, my favorite way to eat them. But Sushi Han in Ploiesti, came in a distant second.

So what exactly does vegan sushi contain?

Good question.

The red you see in the photo above is tomato and bell pepper. It’s a “Vega Roll” with cucumber, tomato and lettuce sushi roll, with some red bell peppers thrown in for texture and flavor. It wasn’t my favorite because there was also avocado on it, but the Hubs liked it. My favorite was the little green topped ones you see in the left corner of the photo–Hosomaki Hiashi–made with rice, seaweed and something called chuka which was slightly sweet, very green and damn tasty.

The other was avocado and rice which I didn’t even bother to try because…avocado.

The options were underwhelming for me but the chuka roll was delicious as was the soup and the edamame.

There was a noodle dish because we can’t forget my love of Asian noodles, but it was greasy and the Udon noodles were actually spaghetti. Overall it wasn’t worth a photo or mentioning, which is something that was never true before when it comes to sushi. Usually the hubs and I have to compromise when he’d want sushi. We’d have to find a place that did a good teriyaki or udon too, so we’d both be happy.

Now, thanks to a vegan lifestyle, we can both enjoy sushi.