Hey sushi lovers! Don’t let seaweed stop you from enjoying sushi. There are tons of tasty seaweed-free options to try!
You can wrap sushi fillings in thin cucumber slices instead of nori sheets. Nigiri sushi skips the seaweed by topping rice with fish or shellfish.
Japanese omelets called tamagoyaki also work great in seaweed-free rolls. And don’t forget inari sushi, which uses pouches of fried tofu stuffed with rice.
For a real seaweed substitution, wrap your fillings in flexible rice paper. It mimics the rolling experience without the ocean flavors.
So if seaweed isn’t your thing, no worries! Let’s dive into the many versions of sushi that don’t contain those oceanic sheets.
Cucumber Sushi Rolls
One easy seaweed swap is using cucumbers. Thinly slice cucumbers lengthwise into long strips. These green ribbons can wrap sushi rice and fillings just like nori sheets.
Cucumber’s mild flavor lets the fillings shine. The crisp texture also contrasts nicely with soft rice.
Some delicious combinations for cucumber sushi rolls include:
- Tuna, avocado and carrot
- Salmon and cream cheese
- Shrimp tempura with spicy mayo
Get creative with proteins, veggies and sauces inside these refreshing rolls.
Another seaweed-free sushi variety is nigiri. Nigiri sushi features a small oval of sushi rice topped with seafood or fish. No nori involved!
Some popular nigiri choices are:
Nigiri provides the pure taste of high-quality fish or shellfish paired only with rice. It’s the perfect minimalist sushi.
In Japan, a common protein used in sushi is tamagoyaki – a sweet folded omelet. Tamagoyaki makes an ideal seaweed-free filling.
To make it:
- Whisk eggs with dashi stock, soy sauce, and sugar
- Cook thin layers in a pan, stacking them
- Slice the stacked omelet into strips
Place these sweet, fluffy egg strips in your sushi rolls for a protein punch.
For another seaweed-free sushi, try inari sushi. Inari sushi features pouches of seasoned fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice.
The chewy fried tofu replicates the texture of nori. And it provides a subtle sweetness that complements rice.
Some popular inari fillings are:
- Sushi rice only
- Carrots, cucumber, and sesame
- Tuna salad with mayo
Inari sushi makes an excellent plant-based sushi option.
Rice Paper Rolls
Lastly, rice paper is an easy alternative to nori. These thin, round sheets soften with water – ideal for a wrap.
After soaking rice paper, simply fill with sushi rice and ingredients. Roll up burrito-style for handheld sushi.
Some fun fillings for rice paper sushi are:
- Spicy tuna and mango
- Crab salad and avocado
- Shrimp tempura and cucumber
Rice paper offers a neutral flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients. Let your creative fillings shine!
Making Cucumber Sushi Rolls
Ready to try your hand at cucumber sushi rolls? Follow these simple steps:
Step 1 – Slice Cucumber
Wash and peel a large English cucumber. Slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick strips using a mandoline or sharp knife.
Step 2 – Soak Rice Paper
Briefly soak round sheets of rice paper in warm water until pliable, about 10 seconds.
Step 3 – Prep Fillings
Slice, dice, or julienne any fillings like avocado, carrot, shrimp or tuna.
Step 4 – Spread Rice
Spread a thin layer of prepared sushi rice onto the soaked wrapper, leaving a 1-inch border.
Step 5 – Add Fillings
Arrange cucumber strips and other ingredients in a line down the center of the rice.
Step 6 – Roll It Up
Lift the bottom edge of the wrapper and gently roll it up around fillings. Press gently to seal the roll.
Step 7 – Slice and Serve
Use a sharp knife to cut cucumber rolls into bite-sized pieces. Enjoy your seaweed-free sushi!
Making Tamagoyaki Sushi Rolls
Adding tamagoyaki omelet to your sushi is easy with this recipe:
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp dashi stock
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp oil
- Nori sheets, rice, fillings
- In a bowl, whisk eggs with dashi stock, soy sauce, and sugar.
- Heat oil in a small nonstick pan. Pour in 1/3 of egg mixture. Cook until almost set, then roll up.
- Repeat with remaining egg mixture to create a rolled omelet.
- Let cool 5 minutes. Slice omelet roll into long strips.
- Place strips on nori sheet with rice and other fillings.
- Roll up sushi roll and slice to serve. Enjoy!
The sweet tamagoyaki pairs perfectly with rice and acts as an alternative protein to raw fish.
Crafting Inari Sushi Pouches
Make these sweet fried tofu pouches to stuff with sushi rice:
- 1 package inari tofu pouches
- 1 cup dashi stock
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Sushi rice
- Mix dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Add drained tofu pouches to pan. Simmer 5 more minutes.
- Remove pouches from broth using tongs. Let cool.
- Stuff each pouch with 1-2 tbsp prepared sushi rice.
- Top with any extra ingredients like sesame seeds or avocado.
- Eat inari sushi as finger food or add to sushi rolls.
The sweet and savory seasoned pouches complement the rice perfectly.
Rolling with Rice Paper Wrappers
Rice paper makes an easy nori alternative. Follow these tips:
- Choose round rice paper sheets for rolling sushi
- Briefly dip the entire sheet in warm water
- Place on a damp cloth and fill with rice and ingredients
- Roll up like a burrito, tucking in sides
- Slice rolls into thick pinwheels
- Store unused sheets in a humid environment
Experiment with fun rice paper roll combinations:
- Shrimp, mango, avocado
- Smoked salmon, dill, cream cheese
- Crab stick, cucumber, carrot
Rice paper offers a neutral canvas for any fillings!
Packing Seaweed-Free Rolls for Travel
Want to transport your homemade seaweed-free rolls? Use these tips:
- Wrap individual rolls in plastic before packing them together to prevent sticking.
- Place pieces snugly in an airtight container without gaps or air pockets.
- Tuck damp paper towels around the rolls to keep them from drying out.
- Bring soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger in small leak-proof containers.
- If traveling long distances, consider bringing rolls with heartier fillings like tempura shrimp or tuna.
- Pack an ice pack in the container to keep rolls chilled.
With proper packing, your seaweed-free rolls will be perfect for picnics, parties, or on-the-go snacks!
FAQs About Seaweed-Free Sushi
Here are answers to common questions about sushi without nori:
Is sushi still considered sushi without seaweed?
Yes! While nori is traditional, sushi does not require seaweed to be authentic. The main components are vinegared rice and fillings.
What are the benefits of choosing seaweed-free sushi?
It provides options for anyone who dislikes the taste or texture of nori. Seaweed-free versions allow everyone to enjoy sushi!
Do the rice paper and cucumber rolls taste the same as nori ones?
They taste slightly different but still delicious. Rice paper and cucumbers are neutral – the fillings’ flavors still shine.
Can you make a seaweed hand roll without nori?
Yes, use rice paper or cucumber wrapped into a cone shape. You can also fashion seaweed-free temaki by wrapping fillings in lettuce or egg crepes.
Can people with seaweed allergies eat the rice paper sushi rolls?
Yes, rice paper contains no seaweed or fish ingredients. Always notify restaurants of any food allergies though.
I hope this article has opened up the world of sushi for seaweed avoiders. With so many nori-free options, everyone can craft and enjoy tasty homemade sushi!