the art of vegan sushi.

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food is always tricky in our house: i am allergic to soy and my husband is severely allergic to gluten. i’d say i have more of an intolerance to gluten (mostly skin reactions instead of intestinal), so i avoid it. my husband is mostly vegetarian, but he does eat fish. i always try to avoid sugar, and i recently became vegan. so looking for gluten, soy, sugar and animal product free food is obviously tough. being vegan has really forced me to try new things and to take on cooking challenges that i wouldn’t otherwise. case in point: sushi.

it’s probably bonkers that i didn’t start making sushi until after i quit eating fish, but so it is. sushi making always seemed mysterious and daunting to me, until i became vegan and saw this recipe from nutrition stripped. from there i realized it doesn’t have to be that complicated, and i started experimenting with different ingredients.

i love nutrition stripped’s recipe, but i often crave something a little more filling, and i find that using rice does the trick. i sometimes use brown rice instead of sushi rice, and i don’t find much difference besides taste. i think the trick to sushi rice is to make sure that you cook it with less water than regular rice (almost equal parts), to make sure to use rice vinegar, and that shorter grain rice sticks together better. sushi rice recipes often call for sugar, but i have found that a small amount of agave works perfectly. i’ve also prepared it with just rice vinegar and didn’t really notice a difference. for the sauce i find that i crave the spicy mayo found in so many sushi rolls. i like hampton creek’s just mayo for an alternative to dairy mayo or soy based vegan mayos. it has no soy or dairy and works well mixed with sriracha for spicy mayo sauce.  for the veggie filling, crunchy veggies work great, and i find that some kind of onion-y veg adds a good taste balance. i have never used a bamboo mat or any fancy sushi prep products, just a clean cutting board and warm water works fine.

ingredients:

  1. 2 cups sushi rice
  2. 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  4. 3 avocados, mashed
  5. 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  6. 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  7. 1 cucumber or zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  8. 1 scallion or 1/2 red onion, cut into matchsticks
  9. alfalfa sprouts
  10. 1 tsp wasabi paste
  11. 6 nori sheets
  12. 2 tablespoons vegan mayo or regular mayo
  13. 1 tablespoon sriracha

to prepare:

  1. make the sushi rice. bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil and add sushi rice. reduce heat to simmer until all water absorbed
  2. stir in rice vinegar and agave to rice and set aside to cool
  3. make the sauce: add the sriracha to the mayo and stir until consistent, orange color
  4. fill a bowl with warm water for dipping fingers
  5. cut, dice & mash the avocado
  6. assemble the rolls: lay a nori sheet on a cutting board or clean surface
  7. spread a line of sauce along the closest edge of nori to you
  8. spread a line of avocado along the sauce
  9. spread a heaping tablespoon of sushi rice over the avocado & sauce
  10. layer pieces of pepper, scallion, carrot, cucumber or zucchini over the rice, avo & sauce, horizontally, keeping everything close to the edge of the nori sheet
  11. top with alfalfa sprouts
  12. place a series of tiny (pin sized!) dots of wasabi paste along the edge of your fillings
  13. swiftly gather the edges of the nori closest to you and roll up your fillings in the nori sheet until you can no longer see them
  14. run the tip of your finger through the warm water and along the edge of the nori sheet to create a glue and seal the roll
  15. run your damp fingers along the entire roll to moisten/soften the nori before cutting
  16. cut the roll into 3-4″ pieces
  17. serve!
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