When you think of sushi, the first idea that likely comes to mind is probably some form of fish or seafood roll.
But were you aware of all the many delicious varieties of sushi rolls without fish and seafood?
In this article, I’ll take a look at my favorite vegan sushi roll and will also cover some of the most popular varieties of sushi without fish.
If you ask your friends, ‘do you want to grab sushi?’, you might get responses like ‘I don’t eat raw fish’ or ‘I’m allergic.’
Even if you don’t like fish, can’t eat fish, or you are vegan, you can still make sushi at home and there are so many options!
In this post we'll cover:
A few fishless sushi options
Don’t forget about the famous
- vegetarian roll with avocado and cucumber,
- the Teriyaki chicken roll,
- vegan rolls,
- as well as BBQ pulled pork
- and coleslaw rolls,
just to name some of the fish sushi alternatives available!
Maybe you’ve even heard of gourmet sushi made with Hida beef, a tender and delicious cut of meat from the Gifu region of Japan.
In this post, you will learn to make and easy, yet delicious vegan tofu sushi rolls, filled with tasty vegetables and topped with watercress and wasabi sauce.
Vegan Yam and Tofu Sushi Rolls Recipe
- 4 cups sushi rice or short-grain rice
- 4 Nori sheets seaweed sheets
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt sea salt is preferable
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 yam (or sweet potato)
- 2 small carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 1 avocado
- 2-3 pieces of tofu fried
- 1 handful watercress
- soy sauce
- sesame seeds (white or black)
- pickled ginger
- Prepare the sushi rice by rinsing it in cold water.
- Cook your rice on the stovetop by boiling it and cooking on low heat for about 20 minutes or use an instant pot and cook on low heat for 12 to 14 minutes. The rice should absorb the water and have a sticky texture.
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl and heat it up in the microwave until the solids are dissolved.
- In a large bowl, mix the vinegar mixture and add the cooked rice and allow this mix to cool.
- Cut up your vegetables and tofu into small slices and strips.
- Cut up the yam or sweet potato into thin strips, spray with olive oil and bake in a pan for about 25 minutes until tender. Turn them halfway through to make them crispy.
- While the yam is baking, fry the tofu in a pan for about 5 minutes or until crispy and golden, then add the soy sauce and mix well.
Wrapping the Sushi Rolls
- Once all your filling ingredients are done, it's time to wrap the rolls.
- Place the nori sheets on the bamboo roller with the shiny side facing down.
- Fill up a small bowl with a bit of cold water – this will be used to wet your hands when rolling.
- Take approximately one handful or one cup of rice and put it in the middle of the nori paper.
- Leave 1-2 cm of the nori sheet uncovered at the top because that’s how you’ll seal the rolls.
- Start filling one end of the sheet and place the thinly sliced strips of cucumber, avocado, yam, carrots, tofu, and some watercress at the edge (bottom) of the nori sheet.
- Don't use more than 5 filling pieces or the roll will be too full.
- To begin rolling, tuck your thumbs under the mat and hold the ingredients in place with your fingers and start rolling with light pressure. Wet your fingers in the process.
- Roll up the sheet and cut in half, then slice into smaller pieces and sprinkle with sesame seeds and add wasabi sauce or extra soy sauce. Enjoy the sushi with pickled ginger for that authentic dining experience.
Here is Kelyrin’s Cooking Bento with a great tofu sushi recipe as well:
Now let’s talk about the different types of sushi without fish.
The Rice & Seaweed
But first, let’s talk about the basic art of great sushi rolls: the rice!
It’s the essence of the sushi roll and getting the primary ingredient right will ensure sushi-making success even for beginners.
The rice needs to be short-grain white rice, and it should have that pearly appearance.
The easiest way to make sushi is with Nori sheets, which are edible seaweed sheets already rolled out into thin sheets.
You can also use kelp varieties called kombu. Once cooked, your rice must be sticky to ensure the roll doesn’t fall apart.
Common sushi fillings That Are Not Fish
You can be creative when making sushi and mix all kinds of non-fish ingredients.
If you’re looking for alternatives to fish, check out this list of popular ingredients you can use to make sushi:
For people who don’t like fish and seafood, almost all types of meat can be used to fill sushi rolls:
- Pork – can be fried and combined with teriyaki sauce to make Teriyaki pork rolls.
- Beef – boiled beef is used to make gourmet sushi varieties.
- Chicken – can be mixed with avocado and carrots to make Teriyaki chicken rolls.
- Prosciutto – can be combined with parmesan to make an Italian inspired roll.
- Bacon – there is a BLT sushi, popular with Americans that is made of bacon, lettuce, and tomato pieces.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
There are endless options for people who choose not to eat animal products.
Once you start combining ingredients, it’s easy to make delicious sushi rolls that are sure to please!
- Pickled cucumber – can be made into pickle rolls and combined with other pickled vegetables.
- Daikon, radish – vegetable daikon rolls are made with radish/daikon, carrots, and avocado.
- Fried tofu – fried tofu can be combined with spicy Japanese mayonnaise or sriracha sauce for intense flavor.
- Roasted eggplant – the eggplant should be combined with shallots, ginger, and brown rice (I have this whole article on Japanese eggplant if you’d like to learn more).
- Scrambled or fried egg – Tamago egg is a scrambled egg recipe that looks like sushi and is wrapped in rice and seaweed.
- Tempeh – this type of sushi is made with fried tempeh, avocado, and courgette.
More Ingredients for Filling Sushi Rolls
If you’re looking for new ideas to fill your rolls, try these foods:
- Peppers (roasted or fresh)
- Caramelized onion
- Lettuce, arugula
- Sweet potato and yam
- Cabbage (or kimchi)
- Sautéed mushrooms
Remember that sushi is tasty with all kinds of ingredients besides fish and seafood.
You can make sushi at home without any special tools and at a much lower cost than eating out at a restaurant, so start rolling!