“Sushi is just rice, avocado, nori, and fish, I can have it while on a gluten-free diet.” If you also think the same, you need to stop! Sushi can have some ingredients that contain hidden gluten, making it unfit for celiacs.
Is sushi gluten free? Yes or no, the gluten free status of sushi depends on its ingredients. Also, cross-contamination is a cause of gluten in sushi. However, some types of sushi are entirely safe for people on a gluten free diet.
In this article, you will find everything about gluten-free sushi and the types you can have to prevent gluten allergies. Also, I’ve covered if sushi is dairy free or not for people that don’t prefer eating dairy.
Table of Contents
Is Sushi Gluten Free?
It depends on the type of sushi. Some sushi types have ingredients that contain hidden gluten, and you cannot consume them. These types of sushi usually contain starch and other ingredients which contain wheat and which is the primary source of gluten.
On the other hand, the typical Japanese sushi made with sticky rice and vinegar does not contain gluten and is free from wheat.
In a nutshell, you need to know about the ingredients present in sushi to ensure it is free from gluten.
What are the Ingredients Present in Sushi? Are the Ingredients Gluten Free?
While the ingredients present in sushi vary from type to type, there are some common ingredients you’ll find in all types. Below, I’ve listed some ingredients present in gluten-free sushi.
Seaweed or nori is used to wrap around the sushi rice.
ii) Eggs and Cooked Meats
Plenty of regional sushi varieties contain chicken, pork, beef, or eggs. These are also free from gluten, and you can have sushi with these ingredients. However, make sure the sushi does not have gluten-containing sauces such as teriyaki.
Plain tofu does not contain gluten and adds a unique flavor to sushi. If you are making sushi at home, you should go through the product label to check there is no gluten in it.
Also known as Japanese horseradish, Wasabi is used in making sushi and is also served with it. Pure wasabi is not gluten free.
v) Gluten-free Soy Sauce
Only soy sauce or tamari with gluten-free mentioned on the label should be used with sushi.
All vegetables, including cucumber, avocado, carrots, and more, are naturally gluten-free. Therefore, you can have sushi that contains the following vegetables.
Apart from these ingredients, gluten-free sushi can contain mayonnaise, masago, imitation wasabi, and pickled ginger.
Types of Sushi that are Gluten Free?
If you want to order sushi from a restaurant, it would be great to know everything about it. Here are some types of sushi you can order from your favorite restaurant.
Not all restaurants serve gluten-free nigiri. The nigiri you are ordering should not contain vinegar. Or the nigiri sushi should contain gluten-free rice vinegar. Let the server know about your preferences, and ask them to avoid cross-contamination.
Out of all types of sushi, I am sure sashimi is gluten-free. This sushi is naturally gluten-free, and there are no ingredients present in it apart from fresh fish.
Temaki and Uramaki rolls
Temaki and Uramaki rolls may or may not be gluten free depending on the ingredients present in them. Make sure to know about the ingredients before ordering these types of sushi.
Types of Sushi that May Contain Gluten
Now you know about the sushi you can order on your next visit. However, it is essential to know about the types of sushi you should avoid ordering on a gluten free diet. Here are a few types of sushi that contain gluten, for sure.
Spicy rolls like spicy salmon or spicy tuna can have gluten hidden in wasabi. Imitation wasabi, available at most restaurants, sometimes contains gluten. Ask the server if the wasabi is pure or imitation before having it.
Steer clear from sushi that is made with imitation crab. This ingredient contains gluten and is not a good option for celiacs.
Sushi Rice contains vinegar, which may or may not be gluten free. Avoid eating sushi that contains vinegar with a wheat base.
California Rolls that use imitation crab as one of the ingredients contain gluten. Imitation crab or surimi uses a common gluten binder that keeps the sushi together.
Tips for Sushi Dining for People on a Gluten-Free Diet
To have a safe experience eating your favorite sushi, you need to keep a few things in mind. Follow these tips to have a safe dining experience eating sushi.
Visit a Restaurant that uses Gluten-free Soy Sauce and Tamari.
It would be great to carry your own sachets of gluten-free soy sauce and tamari. Also, visit a restaurant that serves these things.
Let the Servers Know about Your Preferences
Always tell the servers that you prefer a gluten-free diet, and therefore they will avoid cross-contamination. A lot of restaurants serve real crab, and it is definitely an amazing substitute for imitation crab.
Don’t Include Sauces on Top.
Most sauces served on top of sushi may contain gluten, these include nigiri and ponzu. If you are not sure about these sauces, it would be great to skip them.
Is Sushi Dairy-free?
Several types of sushi are dairy-free, and if you want to avoid dairy, you can have these types. However, sushi that contains imitation crab meat may contain dairy. Some sushi also contains cream cheese, which also contains dairy.
The only way to find out if sushi contains dairy or not is by going through the list of ingredients. Check the ingredients and ensure the sushi is free from imitation crab meat, cream cheese, and similar ingredients.
Is Sushi Vegan?
Finding vegan sushi can be daunting, as almost all restaurants use a small amount of fish along with rice and other ingredients. So, it would be great to make sushi at home or visit vegan sushi restaurants.
Asking the servers about the vegan status of the sushi also helps you find out if sushi is vegan or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is white rice in sushi gluten-free?
A: All types of sushi rice, including white rice mixed with vinegar, is gluten free.
Q: Does soy sauce have gluten?
A: Yes, soy sauce contains gluten, so it is better to avoid it when eating sushi. Or you can carry some pouches of gluten-free soy sauce for having sushi.
Q: Is a tuna roll gluten-free?
A: Tuna roll without spicy orange sauce is gluten free. When ordering tuna rolls, ask the servers to skip the orange spicy sauce if you are on a gluten-free diet.
Q: Does seaweed paper have gluten?
A: Seaweed paper or nori is used to wrap sushi, and it does not contain gluten.
Yes, most types of sushi are gluten free, and there are plenty of restaurants that only use gluten-free ingredients. Avoid ingredients such as imitation crab meat and more as they may contain gluten.
It is important to let the servers know about your gluten allergies so that they can prevent cross-contamination.
At Nothing Gluten, we make sure to keep you updated about the gluten status of several foods and dishes, including Ricotta Cheese and Jolly Ranchers.