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Vegan caviar made with amaranth grain and beet juice, served gunkan maki-style.

Vegan Caviar (Plus A Guide On Best Plant-Based Alternatives)

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Dive into making your own vegan caviar at home with this fun recipe! We use amaranth and beet juice to create a delicious plant-based caviar, perfect for topping gunkan maki—a style of sushi where nori wraps around a rice base to hold lavish toppings. It’s a creative and tasty way to enjoy plant-based caviar, bringing a splash of elegance to your homemade sushi night.


for the vegan caviar

  • 34 ounces prepared beet juice, unsweetened
  • 3/4 cup amaranth grain, rinsed

for the sushi rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice, soaked for 30 minutes then rinsed well
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

additional ingredients

  • 6 nori sheets
  • soy sauce, for serving


Prepare the Vegan Caviar:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the beet juice to a boil.
  2. Add the amaranth grains to the boiling beet juice, stirring continuously to prevent sticking.
  3. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the amaranth is al dente. The grains should be tender but still have a slight bite.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate for at least a few hours without draining to maintain moisture.

Cook the Sushi Rice:

  1. Rinse the sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop with 2 cups of water.
  3. While the rice is cooking, mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a glass bowl until dissolved.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to the vinegar mixture while still warm. Gently fold the rice to evenly coat with the vinegar mixture without mashing the grains.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Assemble the Gunkan Maki:

  1. Cut nori sheets into ribbons approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.
  2. Place a small strainer over a bowl and drain the chilled vegan caviar to remove excess juice.
  3. Wet your hands slightly to prevent sticking and scoop about a tablespoon of sushi rice. Shape the rice into small oval balls about the size of your thumb.
  4. Wrap a strip of nori around the perimeter of each rice ball, sealing the ends with a small dab of water to hold it together.
  5. Top each rice oval with a spoonful of drained vegan caviar.
  6. Serve at room temperature with soy sauce for dipping.


Storage Tips:

This can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Make sure it’s well covered to maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing other flavors from the fridge.

Prepping Ahead:

The vegan caviar can be prepared a day ahead, making assembly quick and easy when you’re ready to serve. This is especially useful if you’re planning to serve these at a gathering.

Serving Suggestions:

For the best taste and texture, serve the gunkan maki shortly after assembling. If you need to wait, cover them loosely with plastic wrap and keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

Adjusting the Size:

Feel free to adjust the size of the nori ribbons and the amount of rice to suit your preferences for bigger or smaller bites.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Vegan Seafood
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American, Japanese