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How-To: Make Vegan Sushi

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I had never really tried sushi until last summer when we made it in Natural Chef school. Seafood was never really served in my family, and so I never really like it even before deciding to go vegan. Before making it, I always associated sushi with raw fish and it kind of grossed me out. But then I realized not only was it easy to make, but you didn’t have to use fish or meat at all. Sushi rolls can easily be made vegan. Once I learned how to make it, I went to an Asian Market and picked up some nori (roasted seaweed). The process of making sushi is a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it’s way cheaper than getting it from a store or restaurant. So today, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to not only make sushi, but make vegan sushi! IMG_7695_2

Before we get into the actual steps to making it, I wanted to talk a little bit about the health benefits of sushi. Seaweed is extremely high in many nutrients, including iodine which is good for thyroid health. It is also has some protein. Making sushi with white or brown rice, vegetables, and little avocado is the perfect combination to a filling and whole plant-based meal. I like making mine with white rice, because it taste better but it can easily substitute it with brown rice. I like (and recommend) using liquid aminos instead of soy sauce. Liquid aminos is a low sodium substitute for soy sauce and taste just like it without all the added salt and preservatives. It’s essentially just amino acids, with are the building blocks of protein and essential for our body.

Vegan Sushi Rolls

(Makes 8 Sushi Rolls)

Ingredients:

  • 8 Nori sheets (can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores like Harris Teeter, or at an Asian Market)
  • 2 cups dry rice ( I’ve found white rice works best, but you can definitely use brown rice)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • optional: 1/2 pack of extra firm tofu (I recommend using organic tofu) that has been cut into strips and dried with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 1-2 Tbsp. liquid aminos (Bragg’s Liquid Aminos are my favorite to use)
  • optional: 1 Tbsp. miso paste (can be found in Asian Markets and some specialty grocery stores)

Start off by cooking your rice, I like to make mine in a rice cooker because it’s super easy and convenient. Remember, to make rice you use a 2:1 ratio of water to dry rice! While the rice is cooking, I start cutting up my vegetables. For sushi, you want to make sure to cut them in long thin strips, or like we say in the culinary world: julienne. For the avocado, I just cut them into slices. IMG_7694_2IMG_7698_2

After I’m done cutting up all the vegetables, I start the tofu. Making tofu is super easy, all you do is drain the water in the container, then cut the block however you need to (in this case, into strips) then use paper towels to pressed out all the liquid. Afterwards, put the strips into a pan on medium heat and lightly sauté them until they are slightly browned.

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Once the rice has finished cooking, I let it cool off a little and then add in about 1 Tbsp. of liquid aminos and 1 Tbsp. of miso paste and stir until it’s all incorporated. I only like doing this because I feel like it gives the rice a lot more flavor.

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Now you have everything ready, you’re ready to roll (literally)! Start off by laying down a sheet of plastic wrap (you can definitely use a sushi mat if you have one, but it’s not necessary).

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Once the plastic wrap is down, I like to have my rice, vegetables, and tofu right near my set up so it’s easier to add everything in. Lay down a sheet of nori on the plastic wrap, then put a layer of rice all over the sheet, then lay down a little strip of your filling on the bottom part of the sheet (closest to you). Now, just roll up the sushi as tightly as you can. PRO TIP: don’t put too much rice and/or fillings into your roll or they will fall out and make it difficult to roll up and keep together. Use the plastic wrap to help with the rolling process. IMG_7707

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Once you’ve finished rolling, leave a small part of the under layer and put some water on your finger and rub it on the seam to help close up the nori sheet. And there you have it, you’ve completed your first roll!

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I always make all my rolls, then cut them because it’s easier that way. Once you have all of your sushi rolls made, take a clean and dry cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut it into rolls. PRO TIP: a serrated knife works extremely well, also putting a tiny bit of water on the knife helps a lot too. IMG_7715_2

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One roll makes about 6-8 slices depending on how thick you cut them, and whether or not the end pieces make it (they sometimes will fall apart). Now that you have all of your sushi cut up, you can enjoy them! I like to enjoy mine with liquid aminos and a pair of chopsticks. You can store them for up to two days in an air tight container in the refrigerator. IMG_7722

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