As a vegetarian, good sushi is hard to come by. There are always the staple vegetarian rolls; Vegetable Roll, Avocado Roll and Cucumber Roll, but after awhile they are rather boring, so when I go to a sushi spot that puts more thought into the vegetarian dishes, I’m always overjoyed! Many non vegetarians think that Sushi restaurants have nothing to offer vegetarians, however Japanese is one of my favorite cuisines. My go to items at Sushi restaurants are the side salad, usually coming with delicious gingery dressing, an avocado roll and Shishito Peppers (hold the Bonito aka fish flakes). The following are three of my favorite vegetarian friendly Sushi Spots in Los Angeles:
Wabi-Sabi on Venice’s Abbot Kinney has amazing side dishes such as pan fried sweet miso eggplant, chili garlic edamame, and kale salad. Of course they offer the signature vegetarian sushi: vegetable and cucumber rolls. In my eyes the star Wabi-Sabi dish is the huge Vegan Mushroom Miso soup with Tofu, vegetables sautéed in spicy garlic black bean paste and last but not least delicious cubes of crispy rice. This dish is enough to feed a small family, but you’ll find it hard to share. It is so delicious, rich and versatile that it is hard to stop eating. It is a must for vegetarians and vegans alike. If you’re hungry for something sweet- the green tea creme brûlée is to die for.
The Izaka-ya in Manhattan Beach or on Third Street in West Hollywood have such high quality sushi rice that their simple Avocado Roll is absolutely delightful. They have a tapas menu, full of ornate and delicious small plates; such as the kinpira lotus root, agedashi tofu, shishito peppers, sauteed pumpkin, cucumber salad, etc. The best vegetarian item on the Menu is the Tofu Chample; perfectly cooked vegetables with delicious soft tofu. I thoroughly recommend this spot! Not to mention my boyfriend claims it has the best (fish) sushi in LA!
Last but not least is Shikibu, a restaurant practicing macrobiotic rules by solely using Brown Rice for sushi. Shikibu has simple sushi for vegetarians, including Carrot Kimpira, mixed vegetable and avocado rolls. They have a delicious carrot ginger dressing which can be found on the Tofu Salad, a crisp simple salad with delicious slabs of fresh tofu. The shining star at Shikibu is the Crispy Rice with Carrot Kimpira, it is crunchy, spicy, and has a tiny homemade pickle on top…. Perfection… OISHII DESU!!!
I was inspired by Wabi-Sabi’s vegan Miso soup. So I created my own:
Oishii Vegetable Miso Soup
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 cloves garlic- sliced
2 cubes marinated tofu-chopped into small squares
1 inch piece of ginger minced
1/2 yellow onion- chopped
1 cob corn- chopped of cob
1/2 zucchini- quartered rounds
3/4 Cup Miso
12 Cups Water
2 dozen green beans- chopped in thirds
Handfull of mixed mushrooms- sliced
1/2 Head of green Cabbage- chopped
3 carrots- peeled and cut in small rounds
Splash of Soy Sauce
1.Heat Big Soup pot, add Toasted Sesame Oil
2. Sautee Onions, Ginger, Garlic, Tofu until onion is soft (about 5 minutes)
3. Add water, miso, and chopped vegetables
4. Taste for flavor– add splash of soy sauce if necessary.
5. Let Soup come to a boil, turn down to simmer for 35-50 minutes (until carrots are soft)