Identifying whether or not a brand or company is vegan can be quite challenging.
Often, this difficulty arises because manufacturers hide the true nature and source of their ingredients.
However, this article is here to uncover the truth and support you, dear reader, in your commendable vegan lifestyle.
Is Furikake Vegan?
Yes, Furikake can be vegan. Also, no, Furikake is not always vegan.
Furikake, a traditional Japanese rice seasoning blend used primarily for rice, often contains ingredients like dried fish and dried egg, making it non-vegan.
However, there are some products that recreate traditional Furikake without animal ingredients, and they’re increasingly easy to find.
Is Furikake Cruelty-Free?
Again, it depends. If you can find organic, vegan furikake seasoning, it’ll be cruelty-free because it will be animal free and free of GMOs that are tested on animals.
Nonorganic versions of furikake will almost assuredly be made with GMO sesame seeds and other ingredients, meaning they’re not cruelty-free.
What Is Furikake Made Of?
Furikake is a versatile Japanese seasoning blend that can consist of a variety of ingredients. Here is a list of some of the ingredients in traditional furikake:
- White sesame seeds
- Black sesame seeds
- Nori seaweed
- Bonito flakes
- Soy sauce
White Sesame Seeds
White sesame seeds are plant derived and completely vegan. They are the main ingredient in Furikake, contributing a deliciously nutty flavor. However, they’re not cruelty-free unless they’re organic because they’re often GMO.
Black Sesame Seeds
Just like white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds are vegan. They add a deeper flavor and a contrasting color to the blend. Also probably GMO.
Nori seaweed is a type of seaweed commonly used in Japanese cuisine, especially in sushi. It is vegan and adds a distinctive umami flavor to furikake.
Bonito flakes, made from dried fish filets, are where Furikake loses its vegan status. They give Furikake a robust, savory taste. They are definitely not vegan.
Soy sauce is typically vegan and adds a salty and umami flavor to the mix. However, it’s always good to check the label for any hidden animal-derived ingredients. Soy sauce, unless organic, often comes from GMO soybeans, a common GMO crop.
Sugar comes from a plant, yes, but globally, a lot of sugar is GMO. It’s also sometimes processed with animal bone char. Vegans should look out for sugar that is organic, raw, or unrefined — and definitely non-GMO.
Vegan Alternatives to Traditional Furikake
While traditional Furikake is not vegan, there’s no need to fret! There are several vegan furikake products that retain the delicious flavor of Furikake without any of the animal products.
Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients for a homemade Furikake recipe:
- Seaweed (preferably unseasoned, untoasted nori sheets)
- Tamari (or gluten-free soy sauce)
- Toasted sesame oil (organic so no GMO)
- Coconut sugar
- Togarashi (a type of Japanese seasoning)
- Shiitake mushroom powder
- Black and white toasted sesame seeds (organic so no GMO)
- Chili flakes (if you like it spicy)
The process of making your own vegan Furikake involves mixing these ingredients, spreading them on a baking sheet, and toasting them in the oven. Once cooled, you then blend them into a fine powder using a food processor.
You can store your homemade vegan Furikake in an airtight container and use it to add a dash of salty, umami flavor to anything from rice to salads and sandwiches2. It’s delicious sprinkled over avocado toast or mixed into a bowl of plain rice for a simple, flavorful meal.
If you’re not keen to make your own, try some of these vegan brands:
- Muso From Japan Organic Sprinkling Furikake Seaweed
- Watson’s Seasoning Blends Vegan Sesame Wakame Blend
- Ocean Balance Shiitake Seaweed Seasoning
While traditional Furikake is not vegan or cruelty-free due to its use of dried fish and other animal-derived ingredients, there are still ways for those living a vegan lifestyle to enjoy this flavorful Japanese condiment.
Homemade vegan Furikake is an excellent alternative, allowing you to enjoy the same nutty flavor and delicious crunch of the traditional seasoning, but without any animal products. You can also try one of the many vegan furikake options out there.
With a bit of creativity, you can live a vegan lifestyle and still enjoy delicious food and a balanced diet. Keep fighting for healthy, ethical choices!