Are you looking for a sushi option that would pump your protein intake? Whether your goal is to increase muscle mass or maintain weight loss, this list has it all. Here, we’ve collated 20 high-protein sushi options with recipes. Now, you don’t have to worry about what to make if you crave this well-loved Japanese dish.
Oh, and before we forget, we also have a selection for those on a vegan diet. So be sure to stick till the end so as not to miss the good stuff!
Salmon nigiri is no longer new to any sushi lovers. With its vibrant orange color, it’ll immediately fill your eyes with content. But aside from its appearance, salmon have complete protein. It means they have nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t normally produce.
If you feel like salmon nigiri is fit for you, try this recipe by Simply Home Cooked. We’re sure it’ll effortlessly become a staple.
2. Ebi Nigiri—Native Sushi
Ebi or shrimp is a typical ingredient found in a sushi recipe. Shrimps render a light taste, making it a suitable choice if you’re not a fan of raw fish. Aside from this, it is low in calories yet packed with protein. Usually, a serving of six pieces (186 grams) of ebi nigiri has 18 grams of protein.
Now, does it sound like it’s right down your alley? Try this quick snack recipe to fill your daily protein needs.
Are you looking for a meaty roll with at least 25% protein per serving? Well, the stars might have aligned, as we’ve got the perfect sushi recipe for you! Yellowtail or Hamachi is ideal for those who exercise often. It can help increase satiety levels, all while helping your muscles repair. Thanks to its protein and additional omega-3!
4. Tuna Rolls—Pickled Plum
Like the Ebi sushi, tuna is another fan-favorite homemade sushi. It is simple to make with added protein from each bite. Even canned ones can help decrease your cravings and aid with weight loss. So, if you’re one of the busy bees and want to keep your diet in check, this recipe can be your go-to.
Unagi or eel sushi may sound complicated to make. But trust us, it is easy to assemble and is beginner-friendly. Oh, and nutritious as well! Eel meat contains 18.7 grams of protein per 100 grams, along with other essential vitamins and minerals.
You can buy these pre-marinated and pre-cooked to save you the hassle of gutting and deboning. Once you secure one, you can prepare the unagi sauce and other fresh ingredients.
6. Scallop Nigiri Sushi—Riviera Seafood Club
If you want something similar to a shrimp nigiri, try a scallop sushi. It has a sweeter and more delicate flavor, perfect for a special day. But wait, there is another noteworthy attribute about this mollusk!
It is high in lean protein and contains taurine and glycine. These amino acids help prevent weight gain and obesity. So, if you think this could be part of the menu, try this recipe by Riviera Seafood Club.
A king crab rightfully deserves its crown because of its powerful attributes. In 3 ounces of crab, you can get 20g of lean protein. Plus, it is lower in saturated fats than other protein-rich meats. So, if you want to keep that heart healthy while staying fit, you might want to try to recreate this king crab roll from Food & Wine.
8. Tako (Octopus) Nigiri—Hiroyuki Terada
Takoyaki spread like wildfire in different countries because of its savory taste. But have you heard about the tako nigiri?
Instead of a ball-shaped snack, you get a taste of the octopus with lower calories in the form of sushi. Three ounces of cooked octopus can give you 25 grams of protein. Although, it is not as rich in unsaturated fat as salmon or yellowtail.
Suzuki, or sea bass, is a well-known summertime fish in Japan. It has a sweet taste and firm texture that goes well with a drop of lemon juice. Although it could be pricey, it’s low-calorie and high protein make up for the spent money. To be specific, 3 ounces of sea bass have 20.1g of protein, which is 40% of the daily value.
10. Green Dragon Roll—Yeung Man Cooking
Are you a vegan in need of a sushi fix? Well, today is the perfect day to make a green dragon roll in your kitchen. It has chickpeas, which is an excellent source of plant-based protein. You’ll also find slices of avocados that add good fat to your diet. Try it, and let us know if it hits the spot.
Would you believe a lobster may be equal or greater in protein than milk or red meat? On average, a 3-ounce cooked lobster meat contains at least 16 grams of protein. Also, it has selenium and iodine that can assist your thyroid to promote metabolism. But remember to take it in moderation, as lobster is still high in cholesterol.
12. Surf and Turf Sushi—New Sushi Style
If pizzas have a meat lover menu, sushi proudly has its surf and turf. It has a combination of shrimp tempura and meat. The latter could be raw or seared to remove the slimy feel.
With nutrition, there is no question that red meat has high-quality protein. It’s just a matter of how much you put on one sushi. Now, you might be wondering—isn’t it weird to combine the two? Yes, it does sound like a mismatch! But you have to try it yourself to find the answer.
Chicken is probably one of the most popular meats across the globe. It is easy to cook and has a taste that you won’t immediately get tired of. But have you tried putting it in sushi? If you haven’t, this teriyaki chicken roll recipe might convince you. It has 18 grams of protein and 1 gram of saturated fat.
Try making it for tonight’s light dinner. For sure, your kids will love it too!
14. Tofu Sushi Rolls—Simple Vegan Recipe
Who says you need to sacrifice your protein intake when going vegan? Tofu sushi is a high-protein solution if you want to replace raw fish. It is inexpensive and won’t take much of your time to prepare.
But here’s a tip to boost the nutrients a little higher: replace sushi rice with quinoa. Quinoa is a complete protein with a higher nutritional content than other grains.
Tobiko Gunkan means fish roe topped in a war boat-shaped rice. Tobiko are eggs harvested from flying fish, which are highly nutritious. It contains complete protein and omega-3 fatty acids that help protect your vital organs.
With its taste, you can expect a smoky and salty flavor. Although, it is a little sweeter than other types of roe.
16. Steak Tataki Sushi Roll—Make Sushi 1
Do you still feel weirded out by the shrimp and meat combo? If you do, you might want to start with a more straightforward dish.
The steak tataki sushi roll features a sirloin steak seasoned with smoked sea salt. It is cooked until medium rare before thinly sliced. Alongside it are sauteed asparagus and mushrooms to add protein to the roll.
Ikura is like a Tobiko, but this one comes from Salmon. It has an intense orange-reddish color that has different varieties. Now, since we’re talking about the highest protein, we’ll focus on keta salmon roe.
It is a popular variety that is an excellent source of lean protein and Vitamin D. Per 3 ounces, you can get 22 grams of high-quality protein, a little higher than most seafood in this list.
18. Mackerel Sushi—Sushi By Kunihiro
For those looking for a dish that would help promote muscle growth, mackerel sushi is the answer. This fish contains leucines, an amino acid that helps increase the release of growth hormone.
Each 85 grams of serving contains around 16 to 20 grams of protein, depending on the type. Now don’t worry if you don’t have access to fresh fish because a canned mackerel will also do.
Uni is the edible reproductive gland of a sea urchin. It is sweet and buttery that almost melts into your mouth like a cool saltwater. But aside from its captivating taste, it also contains 16 grams of protein per serving of uni nigiri.
20. Halibut Sushi—Chef’s Roll
Halibut is somewhat like tilapia, but the former has more protein content. A 3-ounce serving of it provides 16 grams of protein, which is 32% of the Daily Value.
But what we love about this is you can do it in nigiri or sushi roll style. In a nigiri, you can torch the halibut to bring out fuller flavor. Or you can keep it raw before rolling it in a bed of sushi rice.
When we hear high-protein sushi, we automatically think of raw fish, like salmon and tuna. But if you eagerly explore other styles, you’ll be surprised by how much sushi can transform into. From vegan options to red meat ingredients, you’ll never run out of things to try.
So, tell us! What is your favorite high-protein sushi option from the list?
Hiroshi Nakamura, a Tokyo-born sushi chef turned US-based writer and critic, is the voice behind ichisushi.com, blending traditional sushi wisdom with modern insights.