Vegan Spam Musubi

I suddenly found myself making vegan SPAM on Sunday. Trust me, I was as surprised as anyone. But then I had to figure out what to do with it. The only dish I have ever heard of that uses Spam is Spam musubi, that bizarre Japanese/Hawaiian hybrid of weirdness. So I did what any normal person would do: I visited the Spam website (Warning! Clicking on that link with your speakers on is…interesting.) There I found many, many Spam recipes, including one for, yes, Spam musubi. So, that, my friends, is exactly how I used up the first of what turned out to be more vegan Spam than I can handle. I was going to come up with my own recipe, but then I decided it would be funny to use the official SPAM recipe, which other than the SPAM itself, is vegan.

Vegan Spam Musubi

3 cups prepared sushi rice
1/3 – 1/2 recipe vegan Spam
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
olive oil for frying
1 -2 sheets sushi nori

Get the sushi rice cooking. (If you are not familiar with cooking sushi rice, see Maki’s tutorial on the excellent Just Hungry.)

Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger together in a small, shallow pan.

Cut four slices of vegan Spam (for a total of eight pieces of musubi). I found a serrated knife worked best.

Cut each slice in half, then cut off outermost part of the arc of each (save the small arc-shaped piece for another use):

Place the eight pieces of vegan Spam into the marinade and marinate for half an hour, turning over after 15 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the nori into 8 strips 1/2 to 1″ wide. My nori is perforated for 1″ strips.

When the rice is done, let it cool enough to handle.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add some olive oil and bring up to temperature. The Spam seemed to want to stick to my cast iron pot, which is well-seasoned and usually very stick-resistant, so I had to use a bit more oil than usual. (I still didn’t use the 2 tablespoons the SPAM website called for.) Brown the vegan Spam on both sides.

When the rice has cooled a bit, wet both of your hands and grab a handful, smooshing it into a log-ish shape about the length and width of your Spam pieces. (Don’t try to do this with dry hands.)

Place a piece of fried vegan Spam atop each rice log.

Wrap a strip of nori around each Spam/rice pile, moistening the nori slightly at the end to seal it.

Repeat for each piece of vegan Spam.

I steamed some broccoli and carrots, then tossed them in some of the leftover marinade. The SPAM site also suggests dipping the Spam musubi in the leftover marinade. I prepared some wasabi and soy sauce for dipping because Mark loves wasabi.

When the vegan Spam was frying, Mark announced it smelled like real SPAM. “I have no idea what SPAM smells like,” I responded, “but I’m guessing it does not smell good.” Then he picked a piece out of the frying pan and said it tasted like real Spam, to which I responded, “I have no idea what SPAM tastes like, but I’m guessing it’s not good either.”

Despite – or maybe due to – the fact that I doubt very much vegan Spam tastes (or smells) like real SPAM, this turned out well! Mark really liked it, and despite the fact that he’s a complete rice fiend, when I couldn’t eat my fourth musubi and asked him if he wanted it, he only wanted the Spam from it. He also said he may make a Spam sandwich for lunch tomorrow. This was definitely a fun experiment!

And I have so much more Spam left to work with! Prepare yourselves for a very spammy week.


  1. Tamara Said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    I like the idea of more Hawaiian variations, though I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I’m sure the SPAM website will give you lots of ideas, though.

    I think the first time I had SPAM was when I was in Korea. Like Hawaii, they appropriated it from the American military. Seems like all kimbap in Hawaii had spam in it (‘hem’ as they call it).

  2. Jes Said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 7:36 pm

    Cat approved! Who knew Spam could look appetizing?!

  3. Veronica Said,

    November 12, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

    I was so excited to see this! I loved SPAM musubi as a kid, so I can’t wait to try this (and oh, I will). It was probably the only “Hawaiian” thing I ever ate – my parents were always trying to get me to eat poi or something and I wasn’t having any of it.

  4. Peter Said,

    May 23, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Pour out some Furikake onto a plate and press one side of the rice ball into it before you put the spam and nori on. Its really good, I am from Hawaii and there are quite a few places that do that here.

  5. lenny Said,

    October 7, 2010 @ 1:56 am

    I live in Japan and though Japanese don’t eat that much spam, they’ve got cute commercials on TV for spam

  6. Tony Said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    We made this tonight along with regular SPAM musubi… and this version blew it out of the water. The vegan spam tasted a little weird out of the can, but after marinating it and letting it fry… it was amazing! I’d like to try it with a dab of Kewpie Mayo between the spam and rice next time.

    How did anyone ever figure out how to make this??

  7. renae Said,

    February 14, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    Hi Tony, I’m glad this worked out well for you. It is one of the more unusual recipes I’ve posted, and I also have no idea how the cookbook author came up with it!

  8. anon Said,

    May 13, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    youre “musubi” looks like sushi. musubi’s use up whole slices of spam. but vegan spam sounds interesting, good job.

  9. anon Said,

    May 13, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    btw, im hawaiian and from hawaii and i agree with peter

  10. Russ Said,

    August 7, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    Most furikake has fish in it. That would not be vegan. Nori Kome and Yasi Fumi Fruikake do not have any animal products in them.

  11. Vegan Spam « Forbidden Rice Blog Said,

    August 14, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    […] suddenly have cylinder-shaped vegan spam. Use as you wish! : ) Renae has an excellent recipe for vegan spam musubis if you choose to venture […]

  12. Vegetarian Spam and musubi | V 8 Mile Said,

    March 5, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

    […] instructions on how to assemble your veggie Spam into proper musubi, please see I Eat Food’s wonderful […]

  13. VRDRBR Said,

    July 22, 2013 @ 3:22 am

    Spam might be an acquired taste lol I’m from Hawaii so it’s a beloved taste to me even though it’s probably gross or at the very least, not a craved food for most. I miss Spam musubi so much! I’m definitely making this! I also miss Spam and egg sandwiches as well as Spam, eggs and rice (I would eat this at the Mcdonald’s in Hawaii in a breakfast platter!) so I’ll be adding this to my tofu eggs. I haven’t eaten Spam in about 8 years, so glad I’ll be able to eat my childhood favorites even though I’m now vegan 🙂

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