I don’t like seaweed. Pretty much in any form.
I’m originally from Cape Cod, land of the Kennedys, tourists and beaches. I remember going to the beach many times and trying my best to avoid all the seaweed in the water- sometimes I would go to the beaches that had more stones and shells in the shallow water which hurt my feet, simply so I could avoid walking through seaweed. I hated the touch, the smell…
And the first time I tried sushi, I realized that I hated the taste, too.
It was years before I tried seaweed in any form again.
What is sushi?
Sushi refers to the seasoned rice that is traditionally wrapped in seaweed. In the non-vegan world, they are traditionally served with raw fish. This being a vegan food blog and me hating fish, I’m not talking about that at all. Of course, if you’ve stumbled across this post because you don’t like seaweed, even if you’re not vegan/veg, I’m willing to bet you don’t like fish either. Welcome!
Inari sushi (or inari-zushi/inarizushi) became my best friend. Well, maybe not my best friend all the time, but certainly for when an occasion calls for sushi. Inari is basically a very thin pocket of tofu that is fried and soaked in a flavorful liquid. I think that you can also find them dried, but I’ve always found them in a can at my local Asian foods stores.
My understanding is that they’re traditionally made for children. Well, I have a child’s palate in many ways, so it works for me. 🙂
Inari sushi, from a couple of Christmases ago.
You’re not limited to rolling sushi in seaweed, either. One of my friends once rolled sushi for me in rice paper, which was quite good. I’ve also seen sushi rolled in injera, for a totally fusion-type cuisine (injera are pancake-like things made of teff flour, traditionally used in Ethiopian cuisine). Anything that you can think of that’s flat and pliable is a potential sushi wrapper! Pancakes, crepes and vegan omelets are all potential wrappers!
And guess what? Apparently manufactures have figured out that I hate seaweed, so that make sushi wrappers just for that purpose!
Soy Wrappers are these nifty papers the same size as nori sheets for rolling sushi. They’re a little more delicate than traditional nori, but work the same way. This particular brand comes with papers in several different colors!
Yellow turmeric colored ones. These are leftover (hence the browning avocado)
served up in my bento box for lunch!
I think these things are amazing, and have become my default whenever I’m making sushi.
But what about when you are at a restaurant or a party or just want to try to be normal and like regular sushi wrapped with nori like everyone else?
Nori-Wrapped Sushi for Picky Eaters
I have now eaten nori-wrapped sushi and not hated it.
I won’t lie- it’s not my favorite, and if I’m making it at home, I’ll stick to soy wrappers for myself. But, there are a few tricks to making it not taste so… seaweed-y.
First off, not all preparations of seaweed have a strong taste. In the Healthy Japanese Cooking class that I took last year at NGI, I tried several things made with Kombu and Wakame– and I couldn’t really taste it in the finished products. I think that’s important for picky eaters to know, because I was totally scared off of making things with those before, and it’s a shame, because they have some potential health benefits.
You also have probably had seaweed in other things and not known it, too! Irish moss is a type of seaweed that often used in things like tooth paste all the way to raw food delicacies. Kanten is often a stand-in for gelatin. You can’t taste the ocean in any of these things, my friends!
But back to nori. Yes, you can taste the ocean in it. But, you don’t have to!
Nori Tip #1
Wasabi is your friend.
So is pickled ginger.
Have you ever had straight tequila with the salt and the lime? This is sort of the same principle. Add the wasabi to some tamari (stir well), and dip the sushi into it, then eat. When you’re done, eat a piece of pickled ginger. You’ll be eating seaweed- but you won’t really taste it!
Nori Tip #2
Eat your nori-wrapped sushi fresh. I don’t think there’s much that can be done about the seaweed flavor in nori-wrapped sushi that’s been sitting around for a while. This doesn’t make for good leftovers if you hate seaweed, and I would definitely stay away from the pre-made bento boxes that you can find at many health food and grocery stores these days. I think if you’re getting it from a restaurant that makes rolls to order (as most do), you’ll be fine.
Follow these tips, and then you can enjoy things like this!
Sometimes a picky vegan wants to be hip like all the other vegans and eat sushi, too. Now you know how!