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Vegan Sushi Close to Me: The place to Discover Plant-Primarily based Nigiri and The right way to Make It at Dwelling

14 min read

Vegan sushi has existed for so long as the common-or-garden cucumber avocado roll (for the reason that late Seventies), however at present, it’s developed far past its fundamental beginnings. Cooks have taken culinary liberty with the idea and reproduced plant-based variations of every part from nigiri (a single ingredient served over rice) to rolls filled with vegan fish, tofu, and a colourful array of contemporary, fried, and pickled greens. 

The contemporary innovation on this centuries-old meals has redefined what sushi will be. Fish isn’t vital to copy the tastes of the ocean or to emulate that refreshing expertise of meticulously plated nigiri. The plant-friendly eating places and recipes under actually reveal that vegetation can do all of it—even sushi. 

Prepared your chopsticks and inventory your fridge with pickled ginger—from vegan sushi eating places to make-at-home recipes, you’ll be craving vegan sushi very quickly. 

A quick historical past of sushi

The idea of sushi is a centuries-old meals custom from Southeastern Asia. To protect uncooked, salted fish, people would retailer it in fermented rice—a course of that might additionally ferment the fish over time and forestall it from going unhealthy. Within the mid-eighteenth century, rice vinegar was added to the rice, and by the 1800s, sushi developed into what we acknowledge as nigiri at present—a skinny slice of contemporary, uncooked fish over a small ball of compressed rice seasoned with rice vinegar. 

The Plant Lab

Whereas sushi gained recognition in Japan, the primary sushi restaurant outdoors of Tokyo wasn’t based till 1966. Established within the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles, the restaurant, Kawafuku, turned well-liked with businessmen, and by 1970, one other sushi restaurant popped up in Hollywood, catering to celebrities and the rich. 

To most Individuals, the notion of consuming uncooked fish didn’t sit properly, which prompted the invention of the sushi roll (additionally based in Los Angeles). The California roll actually originates from the state, together with all the concept of the roll. 

What’s vegan sushi?

Throughout the identical time, sushi cooks started incorporating avocado into their rolls. In spite of everything, avocado is a part of the traditional California roll. This led to the arrival of vegan-friendly sushi by means of the avocado and cucumber roll. Vegetable rolls full of gobo (pickled burdock root) and different colourful veggies adopted swimsuit. 

The primary all-vegan sushi restaurant is unknown, however by 2011, Shojin had arrange store in Little Tokyo. The all-vegan sushi menu featured advanced and scrumptious combos that far exceeded the fundamental vegetable roll. The chef not solely performed with greens, utilizing quite a lot of conventional Japanese cooking strategies to rework tofu into crab meat and eggplant into eel, however applied a wide selection of eye-catching plant-based sauces, toppings, and ending touches to additional elevate his rolls. 

As we speak, vegan sushi exists in a plethora of varieties. Some use plant-based fish constructed from konjac—a root vegetable from Jap Asia—whereas others depend on tofu, jackfruit, mushrooms, eggplant, and even chickpeas to copy the style and texture sushi-lovers crave. 

“Vegan sushi isn’t another—it’s the way in which ahead,” Chef David Lee of Planta, a pioneering plant-based restaurant group, instructed VegNews.

“We’re dedicated to introducing it to our viewers with out sacrificing taste profile or texture. Smoked eggplant, dehydrated watermelon, and contemporary nori or soy paper are essential to the equation, and so is high quality rice.” Lee continued.

Sorts of vegan sushi

Plant-based iterations of nearly each type of sushi exist as of late, and the substances fluctuate from restaurant to restaurant. Listed here are a couple of of the commonest forms of vegan sushi you’ll come throughout at vegan and vegan-friendly institutions. 


Nigiri, or what loosely interprets to “hand-pressed” sushi, is essentially the most conventional type of sushi. It’s simplistic in composition, that means the few substances actually shine. Nigiri is made merely of seasoned sushi rice pressed right into a small oval and topped with a really skinny slice of uncooked fish (except egg, eel, and shrimp nigiri, which is cooked). The commonest forms of nigiri embrace salmon, albacore, and yellowtail. 

Screen Shot 2023-01-18 at 11.31.24 PMThe Plant Lab/@theveganmonsta/Instagram

Vegan nigiri options quite a lot of ingenious culinary strategies to copy that uncooked fish texture and taste profile. In 2017, Ocean Hugger Meals astonished the world by launching its ahi tuna-grade various—Ahimi—in choose entire meals. The product was merely made with marinated, thinly sliced tomato, and it was the primary breakaway innovation that paved the way in which for different vegan variations of uncooked fish. Whereas not obtainable at Complete Meals, Ocean Hugger paved the way in which for others. Now you can discover vegan sushi-grade sashimi at GTFO, an internet vegan retailer. 

As we speak, higher-end vegan Japanese eating places nonetheless are inclined to depend on the manipulation of greens to create their very own variations of nigiri, whereas fast service and meals truck operations lean extra towards starch-based options. These, comparable to The Plant Lab’s salmon, look hyper-realistic and are largely manufactured from starches, comparable to konjac or different vegetable-based gelling brokers. 

Rolls and hand rolls

A sushi roll historically consists of a filling wrapped in nori (seaweed sheet) and rice. The roll is reduce into wherever from 5 to eight one-bite items. A hand roll accommodates the identical substances, however it’s served in a distinct utility. Nori is wrapped right into a cone form and full of rice and greens and/or vegan fish. Sometimes, a hand roll is a smaller serving than a reduce roll. 

The scrumptious creativity in vegan sushi is infinite, and we love attempting new and engaging combos, however there’s a group of widespread rolls you’ll see throughout most menus. Right here’s what they’re, how they’re ready, and what’s in them. 


1 Cucumber and Avocado Roll

Little rationalization is required right here, aside from the truth that in case you’re at a non-vegan sushi restaurant, it’s nearly assured that this might be on the menu. It’s an excellent gentle chew and a welcome final resort when there are not any different satiating choices. 

Vegnews.nowsushicalirollNow Sushi

2 California Roll

Many self-proclaimed sushi snobs could liken this roll to Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte in that it’s “fundamental.” Whereas the primary iteration of this roll was made with actual crab meat, at present, it’s made with imitation crab, mayonnaise, and cucumber, all rolled in nori and sesame-flecked rice. Word: Imitation crab nonetheless accommodates seafood. It’s basically the Spam of the ocean, because it’s manufactured from an assortment of elements that come from quite a lot of white fish comparable to tilapia and cod. 

Vegan variations of the California roll are sometimes made with seasoned tofu, jackfruit, or mashed chickpeas combined with vegan mayo. 

Vegnews.happiestveganonearthHappiest Vegan on Earth

3 Spider Roll

Love an excellent crunch? Order a spider roll. In contrast to the California roll, this mix of fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, avocado, and mayo originates from Japan. It will get its identify from the lengthy, fried items that stick out of both finish, which abstractly appear like a spider’s legs. You’ll typically see this roll paired with eel sauce, which occurs to be vegan. It’s a candy, syrupy mixture of diminished mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. 

To copy the crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside crab meat, vegan sushi cooks fry enoki or shimeji mushrooms. When completed correctly, the ensuing texture is just like fried soft-shell crab.


4 Philadelphia Roll

True to its identify, the Philly roll really comes from Philadelphia. The mixture was created by Madame Saito—a Japanese immigrant turned Philly restaurateur. As legend has it, her Jewish American clients impressed this roll. She considered lox and bagels and included the idea right into a sushi roll. 

The Philadelphia roll is manufactured from smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber, surrounded by rice and nori. Vegan choices merely swap in non-dairy cream cheese and a starch- or vegetable-based salmon. 


5 Caterpillar Roll

Avocado-lovers, this one’s for you. The caterpillar roll will get its identify from the slices of avocado that adorn the surface, making it appear like a really summary caterpillar. Typically, two dots of sriracha are added to the tip of 1 roll, giving the caterpillar “eyes.” The filling consists of unagi (eel) and cucumber, additionally surrounded by nori and rice. 

On account of its chewy texture when baked or fried, eggplant is mostly substituted for unagi in vegan iterations of the caterpillar roll. 


6 Shrimp Tempura Roll

Whereas most conventional sushi is served uncooked, shrimp is the exception. Frying is a typical utility, which lends a pleasant crunch and textural selection to this roll of battered shrimp, cucumber, and avocado. 

To create a vegan shrimp tempura roll, cooks sometimes use a commercially obtainable plant-based shrimp manufactured from konjac, then batter and fry it. 

The place can you discover vegan sushi?

Really, you could find vegan sushi in its most elementary type nearly wherever. Nevertheless, we’re seeing innovation on this delicacies crop up in all places from Honolulu to Los Angeles. Search out any one among these spots to take pleasure in vegan sushi that’s means past fundamental. 


1 Tane

When on Oahu, a go to to Tane is a should. A number of miles outdoors of the bustle of Waikiki, Tane is a classy, all-vegan sushi and ramen restaurant that by no means fails to wow with its revolutionary and addictive line of vegan sushi. The in depth menu is paralyzing to the impact that you just’ll need to order all of it. Although it’s tough to be upset right here, we suggest beginning with the beet salad and splitting not less than 4 rolls amongst two individuals. Put together to depart a bit too full but glad. 
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2 Shizen

Sister restaurant to Tane in Honolulu, this San Francisco outpost has been impressing city-dwellers and vacationers alike with its elevated and posh Japanese delicacies. The intricate specialty rolls are one thing to savor, however the small plates and delicate nigiri shouldn’t be handed over. Reservations are extremely really helpful. 
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3 Kensho

Kensho’s two areas in Yorba Linda and Westminster, CA have all of the rolls you possibly can dream of. Warmth-seekers will particularly delight on the many spicy choices, from the fundamental but well-executed spicy tuna roll to the I Lava You—a baked California roll topped with oyster mushrooms and torched to charred perfection. The kitchen additionally gives expertly executed renditions of the usual rolls together with the Caterpillar and Spider. 
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VegNews.NikuNashiSushiBoat.TiffanyRoseTiffany Rose/Niku Nashi

Niku Nashi

Regardless of opening simply this spring, Niku Nashi is already taking Los Angeles by storm. Positioned on town’s famed Melrose Boulevard inside APB, Niku Nashi’s all-vegan sushi is to not be missed. The 54-piece sushi boat gives a collection of reduce rolls, sashimi, and 4 hard-shell ceviche tacos. Sufficiently big for 4, this one-of-a-kind sushi boat will go away you full and glad. Pair together with your alternative of cocktail or mocktail for the last word night time out with buddies. 
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Vegnews.theyasaiThe Yasai

5 The Yasai

Boasting two areas in San Diego, this intimate plant-based sushi idea depends solely on tofu and greens to craft its dizzying array of ingenious specialty rolls and unimaginable nigiri. For lunch, keep on with an appetizer just like the gyoza and a traditional roll or two. When eating in for dinner, splitting a couple of small plates and specialty rolls is the easiest way to style the expertise of The Yasai’s artistic cooks. 
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Vegnews.naughtypandaNaughty Panda

6 Naughty Panda

Initially based in Orange County, CA, this themed vegan sushi spot packed up its lovely mascot and made its residence in Pasadena, CA. The tiny joint is cramped and finest suited to takeout, however regardless of the small storefront, the rolls convey huge taste. Standard choices embrace the crispy fried onion-topped Tremendous Saiyan Crunch Roll and the distinctive orange slice-adored Charmander roll. 
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Vegnews.chefkennysdimsumChef Kenny’s Vegan Dim Sum

7 Chef Kenny’s Vegan Dim Sum

Chef Kenny’s menu is simply shy of Cheesecake Manufacturing facility-size. The sushi is considerably eclipsed by the dim sum, specialty dishes, soup, noodles, and extra, however it’s undoubtedly definitely worth the lengthy scroll down (or flip of the web page, if eating in). We take pleasure in pairing the nigiri and hand rolls with different heartier choices on the menu for a smorgasbord of pan-Asian dishes. Native tip: the egg tarts are a should for anybody with a candy tooth—they’re actually divine. 
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Vegnews.beyondsushiPast Sushi

8 Past Sushi

There’s multiple vegan sushi joint in New York Metropolis, however this micro-chain has been dazzling Manhattanites and vacationers alike with its ingenious fish-free sushi since 2012. The menu actually goes past sushi—an order of Smoked Mushroom Bao at all times accompanies our roll order. Another excuse to like this place: the rolls are moderately priced—most are below $10—which makes attempting all of them barely extra accessible. 
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Vegnews.tamasushiTama Sushi

9 Tama Sushi

Tucked right into a strip mall in Huntington Seashore, CA, this small, vegan-friendly sushi joint is crafting plant-based rolls even omnivores go for. Native favorites embrace the LB Vegan—a torched roll topped with mayo-drizzled meaty mushrooms and water chestnuts—and the Purple Dragon Roll, a roll that exhibits off the kitchen’s tomato-based sashimi tuna.
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10 Daikon

Las Vegas is residence to a handful of vegan sushi eating places, and Daikon proves to be a stable alternative. The fish right here is constructed from a large assortment of pure plant-based sources comparable to tofu and jackfruit or thinly sliced and seasoned greens like eggplant, tomato, and bell pepper. The result’s surprisingly slimy … in that good, raw-fish means. Go for healthful and contemporary with the vegetable-forward Black Garlic roll or completely indulgent with the fried Golden State Roll—a tempura California roll drizzled with candy soy sauce and spicy mayo. 
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Vegnews.tomosushiTomo Sushi

11 Tomo Sushi

The town of Philadelphia can excel at greater than cheesesteaks, and this vegan-friendly sushi spot is proving the purpose. The vegan menu options appetizers, small plates, ramen, and an exhaustive menu of plant-based rolls. You’d must be an area to strive all of them, however you possibly can hit the candy spot with a mixture of advanced and single-ingredient rolls. Our order for 2: Umeshiso Kappa, Shiitake Mushroom, Harvest, and Vegan Inexperienced Dragon. 
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12 Shojin

At this pioneering Los Angeles vegan restaurant, the perfect menu gadgets are those that play with texture and layer on taste after taste. Something that’s torched, baked, or tempura’d is one thing to strive, comparable to the favored spicy tofu-based Shojin Dynamite Roll and Baked Scallop Roll. At Shojin, extra is extra. 
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13 Planta

Based in 2016, the Planta chain has cropped in a mess of cities throughout the Jap portion of the US together with Bethesda, MD; Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; and Toronto, Canada. Every menu varies, however you possibly can at all times rely on distinctive dishes constructed from, properly … vegetation. The sushi right here is elevated with out being over-the-top elaborate. The produce-based nigiri is considerate and composed, and the condensed collection of rolls is made with only a few substances—ones that actually shine. You’ll stroll away feeling gentle but finally glad. Not on the East Coast? Planta not too long ago opened its latest location in Marina del Rey, CA. A second SoCal location is ready to open in Brentwood, and within the South, Atlanta will welcome its first Planta outpost.  
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14 Kusaki

Simply missed in a 7-Eleven parking zone, this newcomer omakase and sushi restaurant is hoping to make waves in Los Angeles by pairing coveted Japanese delicacies with regionally sourced, plant-based substances. The vegan fish dishes are gorgeous—from the delicately plated nigiri to the sashimi, however due to these native substances, the greens are the actual star right here. Attempt as a lot as you possibly can from the Veggie Sushi portion of the menu, supplemented with the Chard of Asparagus appetizer and the Rainbow or Philly roll (you possibly can’t go unsuitable with both). That is a kind of locations the place you order a little bit of every part and return typically for extra. 
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15 The Plant Lab

Vegan sushi on wheels? This plant-based meals truck focuses on Japanese delicacies, and there’s no scarcity of vegan sushi choices. The creatively named DaVinci Roll (full of snow crab and shrimp tempura and topped with tofu eel, avocado, and tempura flakes) and the Edison Roll (full of shrimp tempura, oyster mushrooms, and yellow pickled radish and topped with spicy tuna, avocado, crispy onions, eel sauce, chili oil, and wasabi drops) are buyer favorites. Spherical out your order with a aspect of fried gyoza, seaweed salad, and Atom Balls. 
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Vegan sushi condiments

Purists could balk on the concept of something greater than soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi, however generally, condiments make the roll. You’ll see vegan sushi eating places, pop-ups, and extra drizzling creamy, plant-based spicy mayo and sticky-sweet unagi or eel sauce; including texture with tempura flakes; and even going as far as to deep-fry whole rolls. Sriracha, jalapeños, lemon slices, and seaweed-based “caviar” are additionally well-liked additions to plant-based sushi. 

Condiments are a key technique to create further taste and texture to fundamental rolls, notably when made at residence. The recipes under both embrace an irresistible condiment or may benefit from a flourish of spicy mayo or a sprinkling of crunchy panko. 

The right way to make vegan sushi

VegNews.PinkSushi copyHeather Bell and Jenny Engel

1 Vegan Pink Rice Sushi With Tamari Ginger Sauce

Showcase your sushi-making expertise on socials with this colourful roll. The pink rice is of course coloured with beets, and it surrounds a rainbow filling of purple bell pepper, avocado, carrots, cucumber, and baked teriyaki tofu. 
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Vegnews.pinksushiAnya Kassof

2 Black and White Sushi Rolls

Taste is king, however this roll is equally about aesthetics. Naturally nutty black rice surrounds sizzling pink pickled turnips and creamy avocado for a putting piece of sushi that’s additionally texturally intriguing and scrumptious. The very best half? You solely want seven substances. 
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Vegnews.vegesushiRobin Robertson

3 Vegetarian Sushi

That is your customary vegetable roll, elevated with a contact of wasabi powder and accented with pickled ginger. It’s gentle but satisfying, excellent for the sushi newbie.  
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Vegnews.cucumbersushiSarah Bond

4 Wholesome Cucumber Sushi With Spicy Mayo

Hollowed-out cucumber slices exchange nori on this gentle and refreshing vegan roll. The spicy mayo provides a delicate warmth whereas baked tofu imparts a hearty umami chew. 
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Vegnews.diycalirollMichelle Hirsch

5 DIY Vegan California Roll

Made merely with avocado, baked tofu, cucumber, carrots, sushi rice, and nori, this roll is a canvas to be punched-up with taste. Drizzle it with store-bought eel sauce or vegan spicy mayo, high it off with tempura flakes, or (for the adventurous) deep-fry all the factor. After all, a fast dip in tamari and a strip of pickled ginger work simply as properly. 
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