Chef Steven Lee made sushi in restaurants in California and Chicago, but now that he’s moved to Denver, he’s putting a twist on the usually fish-based Japanese specialty. Lee and his wife, Phoebe, have launched Wellness Sushi, a catering and delivery company making completely plant-based sushi.
“The goal is to provide better options, nutritious options and options that are sustainable," says Amy Bolden, Wellness Sushi's brand and social coordinator.
The quality of ingredients is important, Bolden notes. That’s why they’ve turned to Ocean Hugger, a company that produces plant-based alternatives to seafood, for the tomato “tuna” and eggplant “eel” for various rolls.
Lee has also opted to use black rice instead of white rice for its health benefits. “It is nutritious, with anti-inflammatory properties,” Bolden adds. “All of the products are better for you, better for the planet and better for the oceans and the animals."
One of the most popular, and Bolden’s favorite, is the Krunchy Krab, made with tofu-based “crab” salad, English cucumber and avocado drizzled with a spicy sauce and finished with crunchy fried onions. “It’s very reminiscent of a traditional over-the-top sushi roll,” she explains.
Other unique offerings include the Better Cheddar, made with Peaceful Rebel White Cheddar (a non-GMO, soy-based product), shoyu, mango and avocado, and the Hot Flamingo roll, also made with the spicy crab salad and cucumber, but topped with Ocean Hugger's tuna and garnished with itokiri togarashi (chile threads). The Royal Potato roll has tempura-battered purple sweet potato, pickled daikon radish and avocado, while the Kakiage Supreme is a soy-wrapped roll with emperor rice, mixed vegetable tempura, spicy crab salad, scallions, spicy sauce, eel sauce and avocado.
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Along with the rolls, Wellness Sushi makes an avocado salad wrap and a wellness bowl with black rice, tomato-ahimi, avocado, edamame, blueberries, red radish, red beets, green lettuce, kale, crispy fried onions, spicy sauce, chili sauce, eel sauce, soy sauce and soy protein.
Wellness Sushi launched to a sold-out event at Alternation Brewing in November, and the company's products are now available in grab-and-go containers at the brewery as well as at Choice Market, Nooch Vegan Market and Littleton Market, with more places to come. The team also hopes to launch catering and delivery services in the future as well as a brick-and-mortar restaurant down the line.
“We’re taking it to the next level,” Bolden says.
Visit wellnesssushi.com for more information.