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Our Favorite Sushi Toppings to Try

Enhance your sushi rolls with these toppings

Sushi is a popular Japanese dish. In recent years, its popularity has spread to other countries and it is now a meal that is enjoyed by many. Usually, sushi is made from raw fish and rice which is then wrapped in nori. It is usually flavored with soy sauce, wasabi, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. 

This is delicious food that is made using fresh ingredients. Moreover, it is also a convenient meal that can be eaten for lunch or dinner. Whilst it is readily available in the majority of grocery stores, it is easy enough to make from home too. 

sushi rolls with toppings

Nowadays, there are a lot of modern takes on the traditional recipe as a more diverse selection of toppings are being thought of.

If you enjoy making sushi why not experiment with different flavors. In doing so, you will find a topping or a filling that is going to satisfy your sushi cravings. 

There are lots of different ingredients that you can use to create mouthwatering sushi toppings and fillings. Below, we have created a list that consists of our top 10 picks of some of the best options available. 

Avocado

Vegetarian sushi rolls avocado topping

This is a classic and delicious sushi topping that is packed with flavor. The avocado contains Omega-3 which is usually found in plants.

By choosing avocado you are going to be accessing a healthy amount of fats. When combined with the fish, they have a similar texture and although they may not taste the same, the contrasting flavors are refreshing and they complement each other well.

Not only is sfish an excellent source of protein, but it also contains potassium and vitamins. Likewise, avocado is a great source of potassium. Moreover, it is also loaded with lots of crucial nutrients. 

Tempura Crunch

sushi with tempura crunch

Tempura fried panko breadcrumbs will add a little crunch when topped on your sushi roll. Panko breadcrumbs are my favorite on top of an inside out rolls with spicy tuna and veggies. The crunch adds a nice contrast to the soft fish and rice.

Cucumber

Sushi wrapped in cucumber with salmon toppings on a white plate.

Cucumber is a fresh vegetable that is often used as a filling for sushi. As cucumber has a high water content it is refreshing and has a mild and rather sweet taste that will complement the other ingredients well.

Thin-skinned cucumbers with very few seeds are the best ones to use. Japanese cucumber is a particularly popular variety that is used to fill sushi. Just like regular cucumber, it has a crunchy texture, however, the flavor is more melony.

Moreover, Japanese cucumbers are not heavily seeded. In general, cucumbers have a high nutritional value and also contain a lot of antioxidants. They are also thought to help reduce blood sugar levels. 

If a cucumber filling appeals to you, simply chop it up into small, edible chunks and then wrap it in nori sheets with some rice. 


Fish Roe

Sushi with crabstick, cucumber, egg and flying fish roe on a white plate.

As we have already mentioned, cucumber is a popular sushi filling. It tastes especially nice when paired with fish roe. Fish roe refers to fish eggs that are either smoked or salted and consumed as food.

Tobiko, also known as flying fish roe, is commonly used to make sushi. It is a vibrant red color and it has a crunchy texture.

Fish roe is believed to deliver several health benefits. It is a source of protein and it also contains Omega-3 fatty acids as well as minerals and nutrients. 

Fish roe is a versatile ingredient that can either be used as a filling or as a topping. If you are going to be using it as a filling you will need to wrap it with the sushi rice and a chunk of cucumber in the nori sheets.

Alternatively, you can wrap the cucumber and rice in the nori sheets before coating it with the fish roe. 


Sesame Seeds

A majority of sushi rolls are dipped in sesame seeds as a compliment to the fish and rice. It not only gives it a better looking display, the seeds add a little crunch to the dish.

Sushi roll with sesame seeds

Sesame seeds used can be black, white or both mixed and lightly sprinkled on top.


Jalapeno Peppers

Sushi with yellowtail, cilantro and Jalapeno peppers

If you want to kick your sushi up a notch or two in the spice department, I recommend you try adding sliced jalapeno peppers to each of your rolls. The flavor and spicy aftertaste pairs well with certain fish especially yellowtail hamachi.

Red Onion And Beef

Negimaki sushi is a Japanese dish that was traditionally made using beef, nowadays it can be made using chicken too. Strips of this meat are seared until they develop a crispy golden  brown exterior. They are then marinated in a teriyaki flavored sauce and mixed with scallions.

To enhance the flavor, we recommend that you wrap the cooked chunks of meat in red onion rather than scallions or green onions. The subtle sweetness of the red onions is going to pair well with the tanginess of the teriyaki sauce.

If you are not a seafood lover, meat based sushi could be the perfect alternative for you. 


Fried Egg

sweet egg Sushi Japanese food

Sushi toppings and fillings do not need to be made from an extensive list of ingredients, in fact, something as basic as a fried egg can taste great.

Tamagoyaki is the name given to a traditional Japanese sushi dish that is topped with a light but sweet folded omelet.

Although an omelet is the most common choice, a fried egg can work just as well. Simply cook the egg before wrapping it in sheets of nori. This is bound to be a favorite amongst the whole family. 


Pickled Seaweed

Pickled seaweed is a delicious sushi filling that can be enjoyed by vegans. As you might expect, it has a rather salty taste but it isn’t too intense. Wrap it in some nori sheets before topping it with sesame seeds.

sushi topped with seaweed

There are several health benefits associated with the consumption of sushi. It contains lots of antioxidants as well as minerals and iodine. This filling is super easy to prepare too. 


Pickled Cucumber And Egg

As we have mentioned Tamagoyaki is a type of sushi that uses egg as one of its core ingredients. The taste of both ingredients are going to complement each other well.

Using a thick cylinder is going to make it a lot easier to make. Line the nori sheets with the egg, chunks of pickled cucumber, and rice before wrapping them together.

Both ingredients share similar qualities as they have a rather sweet taste, however, the pickles can also taste a little sour. Not only is this a delicious topping but the vibrant colors make it look appealing too. 


Smoked Tofu

Sushi wrapped in seaweed with smoked tofu, cheese, smoked salmon and spicy sauce.

Last but not least we have another delicious vegan-friendly sushi topping. Again, it makes a great filling too. Tofu is a versatile, soy-based food that is an excellent source of protein.

Aside from this, tofu also contains the essential amino acids along with vitamin B1, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

To prepare the tofu, you will need to chop it into slices before marinating it with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and canola oil, and then cook them until the outer coating starts to turn slightly brown.

Make sure that you regularly turn the tofu as it cooks to prevent it from doing on one side more than the others.

If desired, you can also add some chunks of avocado or cucumber. Take your nori sheets and then add your tofu along with any additional seasonings. Wrap the sheets and you can then tuck in. 


Final Thoughts

So there you have it, 10 great tasting sushi toppings and fillings. As you can see, there are lots to choose from. Whether you are a meat-eater, a fish lover, or a vegan there is bound to be something that caters to your taste and will satisfy your appetite.

The majority of toppings and fillings that we have listed have many health benefits and this is due to their nutritional value.

Moreover, most are easy to prepare as the ingredients simply need to be chopped up before being wrapped in the nori sheets and sliced into small, easily digestible pieces.

As we have mentioned, certain options such as the pulled pork are going to take considerably longer to cook so you will need to plan your time accordingly.

Ideally, you should try to limit your toppings and fillings to two or three ingredients. If you use too many, there is a risk that the different flavors are going to overpower one another. 

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.