vegan musubi

Vegan Musubi

Vegan Musubi 

This Vegan Musubi Recipe is the perfect on the go snack. Traditionally made with Spam, this vegan tofu version is the perfect filling snack. This recipe is also great for utilizing extra sushi rice.

What is Hawaiian Musubi

Tofu Musubi
Tofu Musubi

Spam Musubi is a Hawaiian snack. It is very common for shops and even gas stations to sell musubi. It is also common for kids to have spam musubi for lunch or snacks. It is spam paired with rice and wrapped in a piece of a nori sheet. It is also common for some to place an egg in between the spam and rice. Some spam is also cooked in teriyaki before making the musubi. A main reason it is so prevalently consumed in Hawaii is because of its affordability. Food is expensive on the islands, especially imported foods. 

Fun Fact

Hawaii has the largest consumption rate of Spam in the world.

After living in Hawaii this makes sense because most food needs to be transferred from the mainland to the islands. Since Spam is shelf stable it makes sense why it is consumed so heavily. 

Spam is a brand of lunch meat that is sold in a can. Spam was invented and first sold in 1937.  It was created by Hormel Foods in Minnesota. Spam found its place in all grocery stores during the Great Depression as it filled the need for shelf stable meat. It is sold in a can and can last a long time. 

Most people consider Spam mystery meat but according to their website, this “mystery meat” is made from ham mixed with pork, water, salt, sugar, potato starch, and sodium nitrite. 

Origins of Musubi

Musubi is a rice ball topped or filled with different ingredients while sometimes being wrapped in a nori sheet. It has its origins in Japanese cuisine. Interestingly, fossilized rice balls, musubi, have been found in Japan during the Iron Age which was from 3000 BC – 300 AD. 

In the 19th century Japanese immigrants brought musubi to Hawaii. 

Vegan Musubi Recipe Rundown

Firm Tofu: for this recipe the best vegan substitution for spam, in our opinion, is tofu. To best mimic the texture of Spam it is best to use firm tofu. If you don’t have firm tofu on hand, any tofu but silken tofu could work. The texture won’t be as firm, but it will still taste great. The nice thing about tofu is it really doesn’t have too much of a taste, but it has texture. 

Spam Marinade: To mimic the flavor of Spam we marinated the tofu. We used soy sauce, which can be substituted by liquid aminos, coconut aminos or tamari. We also used vegan Worcestershire, maple syrup, liquid smoke, powdered smoked paprika, and garlic powder. 

For very flavorful tofu it is recommended to add the marinade and sliced blocks of tofu into a container to sit in the fridge overnight. 

Even if the tofu doesn’t marinade over night, make the marinade then pour it over the slices of tofu. Let the tofu soak in the marinade for a couple of minutes. Then transfer the tofu to a lines sheet tray and pour any extra marinade on top of the tofu in the pan. 

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Peace,
Luna & Nate

Vegan Musubi

Recipe by Cooking Up Vegan Course: SnacksCuisine: HawaiianDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Resting Time

15

minutes
Assembly Time

15

minutes
Total time

2

hours 

Smokey tofu with sticky sushi rice wrapped in nori.

Ingredients

  • 2 Blocks Firm Tofu (Sliced)

  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce or Tamari

  • 1/4 Cup Vegan Worcestershire

  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke

  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder

  • 6 Nori Sheets

  • Sushi Rice
  • 1 Sushi Rice Recipe

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Make 1x batch of sushi rice,
  • While the rice is cooking,
  • Begin by slicing the tofu about 1 cm thick.
  • Next, mix all of the marinade ingredients.
  • Pour the marinade over the tofu.
  • Marinade overnight, or you can cook right away.
  • Place the tofu slices evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Pour any remaining marinade onto the tofu.
  • Bake in oven for 45 min-1hr or until marinade is absorbed.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Cut the nori into 1/3rd lengthwise and place shiny side down.
  • Asseble by adding the tofu, then, using water to wet your fingers, place equal amount of rice onto the tofu. Wetting your fingers will keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.
  • Roll the nori tightly over the rice and tofu, making it into a rectangular block.
  • Use a bit of water to seal the ends of the nori.

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Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories665
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 14.9g 23%
    • Saturated Fat 2.2g 12%
  • Sodium 1350mg 57%
  • Total Carbohydrate 100g 34%
    • Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
    • Sugars 9g
  • Protein 36g 72%

  • Vitamin A 23%
  • Vitamin C 4%
  • Calcium 115%
  • Iron 60%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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