10 Best Nori (Seaweed Laver) Substitutes

Table of Contents

What Is Nori (Seaweed Laver) ?
Good Substitute for Nori
 1. Paper-thin Omelet
 2. Dried Bonito Shavings
 3. Lettuce
 4. Tororo Kombu / Oboro Kombu (Tangle Flakes of Kelp)
 5. Shiso (Japanese Basil)
 6. Thinly Sliced Meat / Dry-cured Ham (Prosciutto)
 7. Smoked Salmon
 8. Pickled Leaves
 9. Rice Paper
 10. Thin Deep-fried Tofu


What Is Nori (Seaweed Laver)?


Nori is a general term for algae that grow on rocks in water, and it could be expressed as “seaweed” too.
It’s widely known as a essential ingredient for making sushi, right?
The unique flavor of nori is amazing and gives a great accent to the sushi!

Unlike other type of Japanese seaweed (such as kombu, wakame, and hijiki), nori is very thin sheet and its texture is crispy for a moment. Then it melts quickly when you put it in your mouth.

Interested in learning more about Nori (Seaweed Laver)?
What Is Nori (Seaweed Laver) and How Is It Used?


Good Substitute for Nori

Have you thought about making sushi rolls without this delicious seaweed laver?
I think some people might get trouble with buying this seaweed at stores, while others don’t like the taste of it.

Here, I would like to introduce 10 great substitutes for nori that you can use when making sushi!
Please check them out (*^^*)
And even for those who like seaweed, maybe they will like this different new style of sushi!


1. Paper-thin Omelet

Egg is often used as a ingredient in sushi rolls, and it matches so well with vinegar rice.
In fact, thinly baked egg can be not only ingredient of sushi, but also great substitute for nori.
In that case, you need to make paper-thin omelet with a pan, and let it cool down well in advance. It will be easier if you use a plastic wrap when rolling the vinegar rice and ingredients with the egg sheet.

If you have trouble with that the egg is easily collapsed, you should add just a little bit of corn starch or potato starch when baking egg.

You can also add sweetness or saltiness to the egg using sugar, salt, or soy sauce as you like. Even if you flavor the egg a little, it hardly ruin the taste of sushi.

Sushi rolls covered with egg has very soft texture and it’s totally different from the one with nori. It’s highly recommended for those who don’t like the taste of nori, this is much more easier to eat for them.


2. Dried Bonito Shavings

Dried bonito shavings are one of the most popular material when making dashi soup stock from scratch, and it also could be great toppings for various dishes, for example, rice, cold tofu, salad, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, and so on.

Some great parts about dried bonito shavings are that you can eat it without heating, and it has excellent storage stability. So, it could be extremely useful substitute for nori when making sushi rolls.

You don’t have to worry about how to shape the rolled sushi with this. Only you need to do is that sprinkling dried bonito shavings on the finished sushi as much as you want.

The flavor of dried bonito shavings is amazing, and great aroma of bonito improves the taste of sushi so much. It’s perfect match with soy sauce too.

You can probably get the small pack of bonito shavings (individually wrapped one) at Asian (Japanese) grocery stores. If you have a chance to get it, please try to make easy and delicious sushi with it.


3. Lettuce

This is more like for hand-rolled sushi instead of rolled sushi.

By the way, a lot of Asian people like to eat lettuce with barbecue pork or beef. Those people often wrap the grilled meat and some sauce in lettuce leaves.

Just like this style, you can wrap vinegar rice and ingredients in the lettuce leaves. It would be like “lettuce sushi rolls”. I bet grilled meat can be great ingredient for the sushi too.

Also, you might want to put your favorite dressing on the wrap instead of using soy sauce.
If you love vegetables, I believe this is the best sushi rolls ever for you!


4. Tororo Kombu / Oboro Kombu (Tangle Flakes of Kelp)


Both of them are processed product of kombu (kelp). They are made by soaking dried kombu into vinegar water and by scraping the surface of the kombu.
The texture is very soft and fluffy, and has a subtle smell of vinegar. Usually they are used as the topping for miso soup and noodle dishes. There are also rice balls (see the picture below) and sushi rolls covered with this kombu.

The normal dried kombu is too hard, and can’t be good substitute for nori. However, tororo kombu and oboro kombu can be used without heating, and will be great, easy substitute for it. It gives excellent umami to sushi rolls.

There is a sheet type of oboro kombu at some stores which is just like the shape of nori and exclusively for making sushi rolls.
If you really like the taste of Japanese seaweed, you should definitely try this flavor too!


5. Shiso (Japanese Basil)

Shiso has extremely refreshing aroma that matches all kinds of dishes. The minced or shredded shiso usually used as condiment for noodle dishes and ingredients for meat balls dishes.

Also, there are rice balls covered with shiso sheet instead of nori. Although shiso has very unique scent, it never ruin the taste of other ingredients.
It just add great refreshing smell to dishes, so it’s going to be good substitute for nori when making sushi rolls as well.

Especially when some seafood are inside the sushi, the flavor of shiso takes away the strong smell of fish.
In addition, the bright green color of shiso upgrade the appearance of the dish.


6. Thinly Sliced Meat / Dry-cured Ham (Prosciutto)

Sometimes thinly sliced meat can be substitute for nori in Japan when making sushi or rice balls.
The type of meat could be anything you like, you can probably use roast beef or even some kind of ham, for example, prosciutto.

In Japan, thinly sliced pork belly is often used for making rice balls too. The rice balls covered with meat will be grilled with sweet-salty sauce. The strong taste with juicy meat and rice are perfect combination indeed.

Although it doesn’t look like really sushi, you can absolutely enjoy this unique Japanese dish. Actually vinegar rice matches so well with meat.


7. Smoked Salmon


As everyone knows, salmon is one of the most popular sushi topping all over the world.

So, why don’t you use this great material instead of nori. You can cover the sushi rolls with thinly sliced salmon or smoked salmon just like you do that with nori.

Since smoked salmon has savory aroma and moderately salty taste, it becomes perfect match with sushi rice. Perhaps, you don’t even need other toppings or ingredients anymore.


8. Pickled Leaves


There are sushi rolls covered with pickled leaves in Japan, and the Japanese vegetables used for the dish is usually takana (mustard greens) or nozawana (turnip greens).

Normally those vegetable pickles are cut into bite sized and eaten as a side dish at the table. However, in some region, people use them for making sushi rolls instead of using nori.

A little salty vegetable leaf makes the taste of sushi even better and gives you refreshing smell of vegetable. This style would be much more suitable for those who don’t like seaweeds.


9. Rice Paper


Rice paper, as you already know, often used for Vietnamese cuisine and Thai cuisine.
You can make spring rolls by soaking the sheet in water, and wrapping your favorite ingredients such as vegetables, shrimp, and meat in the rice paper.

How about using the sheet instead of nori when making sushi rolls. Rice paper has excellent storage stability, and you can wrap anything in it very easy and quickly.

Unlike the nori, it has a little chewy texture, so you can enjoy new texture of sushi with it. The great part is that the rice paper has light and simple taste, so it doesn’t ruin the taste of sushi toppings.

If you choose various type of vegetables as sushi toppings and wrap them in this rice paper, it would be gorgeous sushi salad!


10. Thin Deep-fried Tofu


Have you known “inari-sushi” that is made by stuffing the vinegar rice in thin deep-fried tofu?
This is clearly a type of sushi in Japan, but how about using this deep-fried tofu as a substitute for nori when making sushi rolls.

The thin deep-fried tofu should be seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and sake in advance when making inari-sushi. But you can skip this step if you don’t want to. Even without seasoning it, the savory and juicy deep-fried tofu matches so well with vinegar rice.

When you use substitute it for nori, please cut the top of it and open it to make one sheet of fried tofu. You should probably bake it a little in a frying pan so that it improves the smell and the texture become crunchy.


How was the best 10 substitutes for nori seaweed?

Using the crispy delicious nori when making sushi rolls are genuine style. But when you want to substitute some other material for it, please use this lists as a reference.

Enjoy new style of sushi rolls!