How I learned to stop worrying and love vegan sushi

A Kickstarter campaign for tomato sushi caught my eye a few days ago— and got me thinking about vegetarian and vegan sushi in general, and what making vegetarian sushi means.

While I am a fan of veggie burgers for the ease and convenience, I’ve never been a huge fan of faux meats. Soy chicken nuggets, lunch meat, even BBQ ribs: too over-processed, too full of salt. And after trying a can of vegan tuna that had a distinctly gritty texture, I was, until recently, avoiding vegan sushi.

I love me some veggies, so why add chemically-tasting fake meat to the mix? Which is why this Kickstarter idea is so cool: it’s plant-based, not processed-soy based.

Vegetarian sushi is not just ordering a vegetable roll: there’s needs to be that savor, that umami, and most importantly, it needs to be filling. Cucumber rolls and asparagus rolls are delicious, but they are are on the lighter side.

I love this idea: making a vegetable the focus of a sushi roll. Tomatoes seem perfect: they look like tuna, could easily be seasoned to replace tuna, and are much more sustainable. (And yes, I’m hoping they ship their tomato sushi overseas!)

And marinated veggies reminds me of this delectable-looking recipe from the blog Bitter sweet: Vegan poke. Poke is a dish of raw, marinated tuna you can buy by the pound at any grocery store in Hawai’i. Her version involves marinating watermelon, turning the summer fruit into a savory dish.

Vegan quinoa sushi at Flax.

Vegan quinoa sushi at Flax.

Trying vegan sushi at different restaurants has definintely changed my mind about vegan sushi. Like Flax In Dresden, Germany. Their quinoa sushi, with avocado and tofu, was at once simple and flavorful, the richness of avocado balancing the mild taste of tofu. It was also pretty filling.

Vegan sushi at the Loving Vegan in Albuquerque.

Vegan sushi at the Loving Vegan in Albuquerque.

The Loving Vegan in Albuquerque has an extensive menu of vegan sushi, some with faux fish, some without. I dug the Caterpillar Roll (portobello mushrooms and BBQ sauce) and their Forever Green Roll (with tempura asparagus.) (There’s also the competing Nu Asia vegan sushi place up the street— and it makes me so happy to see two veggie sushi places out here!)

At Hikari Sushi & Korean Restaurant in Wrocław, I happened on a delicious vegetarian roll: tamagoyaki (grilled egg,) shitake mushrooms, lettuce and cucumbers.

Vegetarian sushi at Hikari in Wrocław.

Vegetarian sushi at Hikari in Wrocław.

And I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to The Lunch Room in Ann Arbor, MI, who does bento boxes with vegan sushi every Monday night.

Have you tried vegan or vegetarian sushi yet? Where are your favorite places to get it?

Vegetarian sushi at the Zebra Noodle Bar in Prague.

Vegetarian sushi at the Zebra Noodle Bar in Prague.

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