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Meatless Monday: Happy International Sushi Day

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Meatless Monday: Happy International Sushi Day

This Meatless Monday, celebrate International Sushi Day by making your own vegetarian sushi at home.

On top of it being my birthday (yes, really), there’s another reason to celebrate today: June 18 is International Sushi Day!

It’s really quite perfect actually, as my first step outside of typical western-style food came in the form of a cucumber maki when I was 12. Today, sushi is one of my all-time favourite cuisines, and learning to love sushi made me realize how important it was to me to try different foods, even if they seem a little strange at first.

This Meatless Monday, celebrate International Sushi Day by making your own vegetarian sushi at home. By making sushi our own sushi, we can ensure the ingredients are top quality, plus we can experiment with interesting combos that wouldn’t typically be found in a restaurant (marinated wild mushroom sushi, anyone?).

The tools
Find the essentials for sushi making at Asian markets or specialty kitchenware shops.

Bamboo sushi mat

the best way to make perfect rolls

ideal ones are made with flat slates, often green on one side

Super-sharp knife

essential for fine slicing and dicing

authentic Japanese knives are great for sushi prep because their carbon steel blades are sharper than most everyday stainless steel knives

The rice
For many of us, sushi rice is merely a vessel for getting other more delicious ingredients in our mouths. However, just like fresh Italian pasta, perfect sushi rice is a delicacy in and of itself. While we can’t claim to make you a master rice maker, this recipe by Matthew Kadey makes pretty mean sushi rice, perfect for your favourite vegetarian rolls.

Sushi Rice
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) short-grain sushi rice
3 Tbsp (45 mL) rice vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) kosher salt

Gently rinse rice well with cold water and let rest in the strainer for about 20 minutes.

Heat vinegar, sugar, and salt in pan over medium heat, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.

Place rice and 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) of water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and water is gone, about 20 minutes.

Remove rice from heat and let rest, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer rice to a bowl, and toss gently with vinegar mixture.

Makes 3 cups. Each one cup (250 mL) serving contains: 376 calories; 6 g protein; 0 g fat; 83 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 676 mg sodium

The filling
Since it’s Meatless Monday, we’re skipping any animal product ingredients, including seafood. For beginners, try out simple cucumber, avocado, or yam rolls. This Vegetable and Tofu Maki is another great vegetarian option for sushi newbies.

Feeling adventurous? Try one of these combos, or experiment with your own to find the perfect sushi roll for your taste buds.

  • Sautéed or marinated wild mushrooms, such as enoki, oyster, and shiitake
  • Blanched julienned carrots, green beans, and asparagus
  • Thinly sliced apple, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts
  • Kimchi
  • Tofu strips with hot sauce and green onion

For instructions on assembly, check out our article "Easy Make-at-Home Sushi."

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