Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri


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If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine but follow a vegan diet, you’ll love this recipe for Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri. Traditionally, onigiri is a popular Japanese rice ball snack filled with various savory ingredients. In this vegan version, we’ll show you how to recreate the beloved flavors of tuna mayo using plant-based ingredients. These Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri are not only delicious but also easy to make and perfect for on-the-go meals or lunchboxes. Join us as we explore the step-by-step process of creating this vegan twist on a Japanese classic.

Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri is a creative and plant-based take on a classic Japanese dish. Onigiri, also known as rice balls or omusubi, have been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries. These portable and convenient snacks are made by shaping seasoned rice into triangles or spheres, often with a tasty filling or seasoning. While the traditional onigiri fillings include ingredients like pickled plum (umeboshi), grilled salmon, or seaweed (nori), modern variations have evolved to cater to different dietary preferences, including veganism.

The concept of veganizing onigiri by replacing traditional fillings with plant-based ingredients, like “tuna” made from chickpeas or other legumes, has gained popularity in recent years. This recipe allows vegans and those with dietary restrictions to enjoy the delightful flavors of onigiri while staying true to their dietary choices.

Onigiri itself is believed to have originated in Japan during the 8th century as a way to preserve and transport rice. Over the centuries, onigiri has become a beloved snack and bento box staple in Japan, often enjoyed for its simplicity and versatility.

Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri

Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri is a delectable combination of seasoned rice, vegan tuna, and creamy mayo, all wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed. The vegan tuna, made from ingredients like chickpeas or jackfruit, provides a similar texture to the original fish-based filling, while the vegan mayo adds a rich and creamy element. These hand-held treats are not only tasty but also versatile, making them a great option for picnics, lunches, or snacks. Let's dive into the recipe and discover how to make these delightful Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Total Time 30 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 6 Calories: 134.4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegan tuna, vegan mayonnaise, soy sauce or tamari, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

  2. Take a small handful of cooked sushi rice and flatten it in your hand.

  3. Place a spoonful of the vegan tuna mayo mixture in the center of the rice.

  4. Mold the rice around the filling, shaping it into a triangle or oval shape.

  5. Wrap the onigiri tightly with plastic wrap to keep its shape and set it aside.

  6. Repeat steps 2-5 with the remaining rice and filling to make more onigiri.

  7. If desired, use a bamboo sushi mat to help shape the onigiri more easily.

  8. Once all the onigiri are formed, remove the plastic wrap and wrap each onigiri with a strip of nori seaweed.

  9. Wet your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking, and gently press the nori onto the rice.

  10. Serve the Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri immediately or pack them for later enjoyment.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 134.4kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6.06g10%
Saturated Fat 0.57g3%
Cholesterol 9.8mg4%
Sodium 200.08mg9%
Potassium 66.72mg2%
Total Carbohydrate 12.38g5%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g3%
Sugars 0.07g
Protein 6.96g14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • If using canned vegan tuna, drain the liquid before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Feel free to customize the seasoning by adding ingredients like diced pickles, chopped scallions, or a squeeze of lemon juice for added freshness.
  • Experiment with different shapes and sizes for your onigiri, such as balls or cylinders.
  • Add a strip of nori seaweed on the bottom of the onigiri for an extra burst of flavor.
  • For a gluten-free version, ensure the soy sauce or tamari used is gluten-free.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri is perfect for a quick snack, lunchbox addition, or picnic treat.
  • Serve them alongside a bowl of miso soup and a side of pickled vegetables for a complete Japanese-inspired meal.
Allergen Information:

Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri is typically free from common allergens, making it suitable for a wide range of dietary needs. However, it's important to check the ingredients used in the vegan tuna mayo and any additional seasonings or fillings for potential allergens. Here are some allergen considerations:

  • Gluten Allergies: Check that the soy sauce used in the recipe is gluten-free to accommodate those with gluten allergies.

  • Nut Allergies: Onigiri typically does not contain nuts, but it's essential to confirm that no nut-based ingredients are added to the vegan tuna mayo or other fillings.

  • Soy Allergies: While soy-based products are commonly used in vegan tuna mayo recipes, there are soy-free alternatives available, such as chickpea-based or almond-based options.

  • Sesame Allergies: Some onigiri recipes may be garnished with sesame seeds or include sesame oil. Ensure that the garnishes and ingredients are sesame-free if serving individuals with sesame allergies.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

Onigiri, including Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri, pairs well with a variety of beverages, especially those with clean and refreshing flavors. Here are some pairing options:

  • Green Tea: A classic choice, green tea complements the simplicity and umami flavors of onigiri. Try sencha or matcha tea for a more authentic experience.

  • Japanese Plum Wine (Umeshu): This sweet and fruity Japanese wine pairs wonderfully with the savory and slightly tangy taste of onigiri.

  • Sparkling Water: The effervescence of sparkling water cleanses the palate between bites of onigiri and highlights the flavors.

  • Light Beer: A crisp and refreshing lager or pilsner enhances the overall snacking experience, especially if you enjoy onigiri with a hint of heat or spice.

Storage and Leftovers:

Onigiri are best enjoyed fresh or within a few hours of making them to maintain their ideal texture. However, if you have leftovers or want to prepare them in advance, follow these guidelines:

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover onigiri in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can typically be stored for up to 24 hours, but the rice may become firm.

  • Reheating: Onigiri are traditionally enjoyed at room temperature, but if you prefer them warm, you can briefly microwave them for about 10-15 seconds. Be cautious not to overheat and make the rice too dry.

  • Freezing: Onigiri can be frozen for longer storage. Wrap each onigiri individually in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. To thaw, let them sit at room temperature or reheat them briefly in the microwave.

Keywords: Vegan Tuna Mayo Onigiri, Vegan Onigiri, Plant-Based Tuna, Vegan Sushi, Japanese Cuisine, Rice Balls, Handheld Snacks

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