Vegan Maki ideas, please.
October 25, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Vegan sushi (maki) ideas wanted. Tips for my first attempt at this are also welcome.

A few questions:

1. What are you favorite fillings? Interesting or off-the-wall ingredients preferred but traditional ideas will also work.
2. What tools will I need?
3. What about sauces and dips?
4. I've googled recipes for making the rice and I think it seems easy enough, is there anything else I should know about it?
5. Is there anything else I should know?

I do have access to an awesome Asian market, Trader Joes and Wholefoods. Thanks in advance!
posted by MaryDellamorte to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I love oshinko (pickled radish), cucumber, asparagus, avocado, and cooked portobello mushrooms in my rolls. I like carrot and red bell pepper too. And I love sesame seeds mixed with the rice if I'm not rolling them inside-out (which is tricksy) with the seeds on the rice outside.

Spicy mayo is a great sauce dabbed on or put inside the rolls. You can use Vegenaise mixed with some chipotle (adobo sauce) or some hot sauce of your choice.

This is a good tutorial that has some more ideas you could use.
posted by flex at 3:40 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sweet potato tempura (probably any tempura, really) also makes excellent vegan sushi rolls.
posted by orangejenny at 3:42 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

oh man - I have this covered!

my old roommate was amazing at making up veggie sushi, here's some of his best:

hash browns - the kind you buy frozen - bake until crispy, slice into strips and roll. so good

fried miso veggie burger (or whatever veggie burger you like best), cut into strips and rolled with a slice of portabella mushroom

pre-baked yam, cut into strips

and one I invented, sort of a Mexican twist - avocado, cucumber and finely chopped cilantro, sprinkled with chipotle
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:43 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

sometimes i really like plain, single ingredient rolls. i just had a cucumber roll and an avocado roll for breakfast.

seitan prepped in soy sauce/black bean paste could be delicious

quick pickling is absurdly easy - heat some vinegar, put in some sugar, pour over cucumbers, radishes, and onions - put in the fridge for an hour - three days.
posted by nadawi at 3:43 PM on October 25, 2011

barbecued tofu
sesame seeds
red peppers
fresh ginger
bean sprouts
shitake mushrooms
tempura flakes
posted by any major dude at 3:44 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fresh green beans, sauteed with garlic, ginger, sugar and soy until fully cooked and slightly browned in patches.

Baby spinach wilted in the microwave a tiny bit (or in a pan)

Pressed tofu strips

Cucumber slices

Honestly, not much beats an overstuffed kind of roll with avocado, tofu, greenbean and shredded carrots.

I used to have sushi-making parties where we'd pass the mat around the table, one person would make a roll with whatever combination of stuff they wanted, the mat would go to the next person and we'd slice the roll and share it out.
posted by Frowner at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding sweet potato tempura, and adding that you can easily and lazily approximate it with sweet potato oven fries (they have them at Trader Joes)! Also, mango and strips of jalapeno, yum!
posted by crabintheocean at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

All of the vegetarian rolls from this menu are DELICIOUS. The ones that aren't marked vegan are because of mayo, which you can easily get around with some Veganaise.
posted by grapesaresour at 3:51 PM on October 25, 2011

Most fruits are delicious like this, provided large enough fresh pieces are available. Mango's been mentioned, but almost anything works, and I love the combination of apples (matchsticked, like cucumber) and rice, but not everyone likes fruit+rice. Additionally, add peanuts to veg, like peanut avocado, peanut cucumber.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

at a party i went to someone made rice balls, they formed rice into balls- filled them with miso soaked soy-- or maybe it was gluten, chopped up bean sprouts and who knows what else. They were delicious! And finished with a nori 'belt' and toasted sesame seeds.
posted by abirdinthehand at 4:22 PM on October 25, 2011

Kombu no tsukudani - kombu kelp simmered in sweet soy broth - is a good addition. I love gobo in maki (pickled burdock root, looks like a skinny carrot but is much tougher and has a distinct flavor). Shiso and perilla/sesame leaf (ala kimbap) add nice flavor. All different kinds of mushrooms - shiitake, chanterelle, oyster, enoki, maitake.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:13 PM on October 25, 2011

One of my all time favorite veggie rolls is an inside out roll with tomato, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro as the filling. I discovered this at a restaurant and it's easy to recreate at home.
posted by katy song at 5:22 PM on October 25, 2011

I really liked a mango and red pepper roll that I had. Also: green onion, carrot, cucumber, marinated tempeh.
posted by 200burritos at 5:55 PM on October 25, 2011

Pineapple, mango, papaya and other tropical fruit works great.

Veganomicon has a delicious sushi filling that's basically steamed tempeh mashed with veganaise, sesame seeds, chopped scallions and a little sriracha.
posted by gnutron at 5:56 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, consider making hand rolls (temaki) instead of full-on maki rolls. It's easier, quicker and great for serving groups so everyone can choose their fillings.
posted by gnutron at 5:58 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tofu tempura is great, as is teriyaki tofu. (Maybe with cucumber and avocado--yum!) Asparagus (bonus points for asparagus tempura) and (vegan) cream cheese has also been very successful when I've done that.

If you're making inari, you can really stuff it with almost anything--I've put everything from plain chopped veg + rice to leftover curry + rice in them.
posted by MeghanC at 8:31 PM on October 25, 2011

Oh my lord yes, tempura sweet potato sushi is, like, vegan ambrosia. So do that.

A place nearby does a terrific roll that's just cucumber, a bit of mint, and a tiny daub of ume plum paste. The paste is sweet-tart, and just goes so well with the fresh green of the cucumber and the...mintiness? of the mint. Yum!

Thank you for asking this question! It will make for future awesomeness in my belly.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 9:21 PM on October 25, 2011

I personally enjoy ones made with spazzagus and mushrooms, all sliced thinly and fried in the tiniest drop of sesame oil and also with some garlic. Having said that, I only ever made these one single time and haven't made them again since because the process is so very very taxing.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:37 PM on October 25, 2011

a nice ripe plum sliced into sticks is a good substitute for tuna. no kidding.

also, don't forget the ume paste.
posted by FauxScot at 12:48 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our usual fillings are cucumber, asparagus (steamed), smoked tofu, Taifun tofu weiners (a bit of a guilty pleasure, but so tasty!) and sun-dried tomatoes. I'm going to be trying everything from the answers above in the future, though! Yum :D.
posted by daisyk at 1:02 AM on October 26, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, here's an update. I made the sushi tonight and it went as I expected it to, tricky and time-consuming but not terribly hard. I would have to say that making the rice is the hardest and most time consuming part. It was also tricky preparing the nori. The package said to "toast over open flame" or "toast in a dry skillet" until it turned a bright green. I don't have access to an open flame, and the skillet technique Did Not Work. So my boyfriend suggested that I put the oven on broil and do it that way, and it worked beautifully. There's definitely a short window from where it turns to bright green to where it burns and is too brittle.

Rolling wasn't that hard and I amazingly didn't have a problem with it, however, the lack of a super sharp knife to cut the rolls was definitely a stumbling block that caused a few of the pieces to become misshapen.

As for the filling, I made the following three combinations:

1. Tofu*, avocado, and vegan cream cheese**
2. Carrot, cucumber, avocado, wasabi mayo (made with vegenaise), and umeboshi paste
3. Vegan cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and Sriracha

For the dipping sauce, I made the recipe from this link but since I didn't have a vegetarian fish sauce, I substituted soy sauce (only 2 tablespoons worth instead of 3).

They were all equally delicious. I think for my next attempt, I want to try using soy wrappers, does anyone have experience with them? I also want to try making inari sometime.

*I cut some thin sliced tofu slabs in a pan until crispy on both sides. Once finished cooking, I removed the pan from the heat and while the tofu was still in the pan I threw in a mixture of equal parts of mirin and soy sauce. Just enough to form a glaze on the tofu. I then cut the tofu into small strips. It's so simple and it's very delicious. I also use the same mixture when I cook a big slab of tofu to put on a sandwich or cubed tofu served over an Asian style rice dish.

**I don't like Tofutti cream cheese, it tastes too sweet to me. I used this brand instead and was pleasantly surprised. It still had a slight sweetness to it but it had a nice tartness that reminded me of real cream cheese.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:59 PM on October 30, 2011

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