You might be wondering how come and I did not call this post “Vegan Sushi”. There are two reasons for this decision. The first is that I recently found out that nori is often grown using mollusk shells. From a strictly vegan point of view, this means that growing nori involves animal exploitation, therefore it is not vegan. This is of course a gray are. Many vegans still consume nori and other types of seaweed, either because they are not aware of the cultivation techniques, or because they do not view this process as exploitation.
The second reason that I did not use the word vegan to describe my sushi rolls, is because of this old October post by Happy Herbivore. Please, go read it. It talks about a very common issue within the vegan community. It talks about how some vegans (the ones who shout the loudest, unfortunately) keep judging everyone else, trying to be the best vegan they can, instead of offering support. Yes, vegan forums and websites are often plagued with trolls and it is understandable that vegans get suspicious and angry whenever a picture shows up, that contains a non-vegan food/item. However, posting the picture of a bloody stake and the picture of a freaking nori sheet is not the same, if you ask me. The first one is obviously a troll “gift” to the group, while the second is a genuine mishap of a person who is trying hard to lead a kind and compassionate life.
Does that mean that because I am angry and disappointed with a small -but loud- part of the vegan community, I will no longer tag my posts as vegan? Definitely not. I feel that vegans and vegetarians should be able to find delicious recipes online and therefore my vegan tags will stay, because -vegan or not- I do pride myself on my ability to cook tasty vegan delicacies on an amateur level and I feel that people can benefit from them and find it easier to stay on a veggie path. I feel that veganism as a way of life has a lot to offer to animals, the planet and our health and it is a great shame that people are running away from it because they added honey to their tea and all of a sudden a whole vegan forum is sending them hate mail, instead of reasonably explaining why honey isn’t vegan. As you can understand, I am slightly upset with the lack of compassion towards people who make an effort to be compassionate. Let’s try and change that.
Now… The Sushi.
- 1 1/2 cup sushi rice
- 3 cups water, to cook the sushi rice with.
- 10 nori sheets
- 1 bell pepper
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- a bunch of chives
- 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
- 1 cup button mushrooms (or shiitake, or whatever mushrooms you can find) thinly sliced
- 1 package marinated tofu. I use that stuff and love it.
- Soy sauce or other sauce of your choice to dip the sushi in.
- Put the rice into a pot or rice cooker and let it cook. If you put it in a pot, put the lid on and simmer. Trust the pot. Don’t open and stir all the time! Check the rice after 15′ and give it a bit more time. If you keep stirring it will become one ugly muddy mass. And it will probably stick to the bottom of the pot as well.
- While the rice cooks, chop your vegetables. I bought the carrots and leek pre-cut and it saved me tons of time.
- Once the rice is done, take a clean kitchen towel (or a fancy bamboo sushi mat. They do the exact same job) and lay it in front of you.
- Put the nori sheet with the rugh side up on the towel. Align the short side of the sheet with the upper edge of the towel.
- Put a wide stripe of rice at the top of the nori sheet, wide enough to cover about 1/3 of the sheet.
- Top this rice stripe with a mix of the vegetables. Make sure to arrange them in stripes that use all the length of the nori sheet, because when you cut your roll into bites, you want every bite to include all the vegetables. Let me make it even more clear. Do the layering making stripes using the whole width of the nori sheet and making sections from left to right. Otherwise you will end up with a mushroom bite, a leek bite and so on. Is that clear now?
- Now the tricky part starts (which is not tricky at all). Take the edge of your towel, which is also the edge of your nori sheet, and tightly roll it inwards. Keep rolling and lightly wet the bottom edge of your sushi roll, to make sure that your roll will be sealed properly.
- Continue with the other nine rolls.
- Now chop the rolls in bite-sized pieces.
- Congrats! You just made sushi! Devour them with soy sauce, wasabi paste and ginger slices.
We ate a couple simpler but equally delicious stuff this week, in case you are looking for some inspiration.
These are super simple avocado burritos with a soft tortilla. I cooked mushrooms, onions and bell peppers with a bit of olive oil and then filled our burritos with that mix plus spicy mustard and fresh avocado. You need at least two to feel satisfied.
This was a great dish, but I forgot to take pictures of it once it was baked, because we were doing a skype call with our family and eating them at the same time. But they are delicious and you should definitely try them. All you have to do is make mashed potatoes out of potato flakes, but make a firm mix. Then, add in there finely chopped kale and red cabbage, spices of your choice and a bit of olive oil. You can fry or bake the patties and in both cases they taste delicious. If you bake them, lightly oil them using a brush. They only need 7-10′ baking to become golden.
It’s Sunday! Spend some time to cook something delicious and nutritious today and spoil your taste buds.
Everything looks seriously delish, and thanks for the interesting read! I also believe being vegan is about trying to live as compassionately as possible and appreciating the effort that others give as well, big or small, not being judgmental about ‘not being vegan enough.’ Anyway, can’t wait to try the sushi. 😉
Thank you Sun for your kind words 🙂 I know that the vast majority of vegans out there think the way you and I do and this should be enough to keep me happy, but it is hard not to get frustrated some times 😀
I didn’t realize that nori grew on mollusc shells. I learned something new! 🙂
Crazy, right?! I was told on facebook that not all nori is cultivated that way but most is. And then a huge vegan fight started, so I discretely left the discussion 😀 Still, it is so easy to replace it with rice paper or cabbage leaves if someone is not comfortable with nori 🙂
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I didn’t read all of the comments but I wanted to add that the growth of nori on mollusk shells isn’t the only thing that makes it not vegan. Nori, commonly referred to as seaweed is not a plant at all. It is a colonial species of algae. You can make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to call it an animal but since I am a biologist I don’t see it as either.
that’s really interesting Cynthia! Thank you for your comment, I will look more into it. Great to have some insider info from a biologist!