Did you know you can make vegan “tuna” from tomatoes? As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually incredibly delicious. Slightly cooked tomato flesh soaked in a flavorful fishy marinade works miracles, especially in combination with the other flavors of sushi. You really can veganize anything!   Reprinted with permission from The Traveling Vegan Cookbook by Kirsten Kaminski, Page Street Publishing, Co. 2021. Photo credit: Kirsten Kaminski.

Spicy “Tuna” Maki [Vegan]

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For the “Tuna”:

  • 3 ripe roma tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon nori flakes (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce

For the Maki Rolls:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) vegan cream cheese
  • 3 to 4 nori sheets
  • 7 oz (200 g) sushi rice

To Serve

  • Soy sauce
  • Green onions


  1. To prepare the tomatoes, fill a small pot with water and bring it to a boil. Make four small cuts in the skin on the top of each tomato and place them in the pot. Boil for 40 to 60 seconds until the skin is beginning to lift off. Immediately take the pot off the heat, drain, and rinse the tomatoes with cold water to prevent further cooking. Use your hands to carefully peel off the skin. Quarter the tomatoes and use a melon or a spoon to scoop out the inner parts (seeds, liquids, etc.) until you have simple pieces of tomato left.
  2. To make the marinade, in a medium bowl combine the soy sauce, miso paste, oil, liquid smoke, nori and chili sauce, as well as 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot water. Place the tomato pieces in the marinade and stir to cover all the pieces. Place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
  3. To make the rolls, lay out all the prepared tomatoes and the cream cheese near your workspace. Cut the nori sheets in half. Take half a nori sheet and place it on a bamboo mat, shiny side down. Place 1⁄2 cup (100 g) of the sushi rice on the nori and evenly spread it out and press down, leaving a 1⁄2-inch (1-cm) border around the edges. You may need to wet your hands for easier handling. On the lower third of the rice, spread the cream cheese and add some tomato pieces. Use the bamboo mat to roll the sushi up from the bottom into a tight roll. Now you have a roll with rice on the inside and nori on the outside. Remove the bamboo mat and cut the roll into thick slices. Repeat with the other nori sheets. Serve with soy sauce and green onions.


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