Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegetarian Sushi Rolls & why you should eat Nori

I admit, several months ago, the thought of sushi rolls made me scrunch my nose. Raw fish? Seaweed? Uh, no thanks. Then we went to this sushi place for our friend's birthday, and I tried a couple different kinds and found that it wasn't actually as repulsive as I had assumed, and not every sushi roll contains raw fish! I decided to try out vegetarian sushi rolls made fresh and sold at my local grocery stores (HEB and Kroger's), and found that it was fairly tasty.  Problem is, it's pretty expensive, so it sushi seemed like one of those once in a while treats.

When planning this week's menu, I decided to attempt to make my own sushi roll. I bought toasted nori (seaweed) and the special bamboo mat required. I didn't use the rice that most restaurants use for sushi rolls, but it worked out well, and I was able to cater it to flavors I like.  We have long grain rice on hand, so that's what I used.

Below is my recipe for a Mexican infused sushi roll. It's very tasty, and was a hit with our older two kiddos and my husband, plus it's easy and inexpensive!

2 cups of long grain rice cooked according to the package (cooked, it will make 4 cups)
1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
Minced garlic (as much or little as you like- I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge).
1-2 avocado, sliced into strips.
3 Nori sheets
Salsa verde
Seasonings (I used Cajun seasonings, but you could use taco seasonings or just salt)

Combine cooked rice, balsamic vinegar, a splash of salsa verde and minced garlic and sprinkle with seasonings. Mix well.
Lay a sheet of nori onto the bamboo sushi mat. Top with seasoned cooked rice- layer about 1 cm thick and covering about 3/4ths of the nori sheet. Make sure to spread it to the front and side edges.

I sprinkled a little more seasoning over the rice, and then placed a line of avocado strips across the rice. I really should have taken a picture of what this looked like.  When you roll it up, you want the avocado to be in the middle, so make a strip of avocado right down the middle of the rice, from left to right.  Sprinkle cilantro across it.

Now it's time to roll it up.  If you've never made sushi before, check out How To's on the web so you roll it properly. Once you've rolled it tightly, you might need to push some rice in each end to make sure it's really stuffed.

Slice gently with a very sharp knife.

Make two more just like that.

Now it's time to make the creamy topping.

Take 1/2 an avocado and mash it up. Add a splash of salsa verde and 2-3 TBSP of mayo.  Season it if you'd like. Mix together until smooth.  Taste to see if you want to add more mayo or more seasoning.

Spoon over the top of the sushi, or put in a baggy, cut the corner off of it, and pipe the creamy mixture over the sushi.  Depends on how fancy you want it to look.

Serve with soy sauce!

Makes 3 sushi rolls.  Each sushi roll can be sliced into 5-8 pieces, depending on how thick you like your slices. I like mine more on the thinner side.

I put cabbage and carrots in one of the other rolls I made and really liked that. Play around with things, see what you like!

This is a great appetizer to serve to friends or a treat to take for lunch. (I set aside some to put in my husband's bento box for tomorrow.)

Seaweed is a great ingredient to slip into your diet. It is packed with amino acids, vitamins and minerals.  It has high amounts of iron (which I need) and is said to help with alertness and mental clarity (hello, this mama needs that!)

It helps lower cholesterol levels and has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Those who suffer from Fibromyalgia or other chronic inflammatory conditions may find this ingredient helpful, as well as those who have memory issues or struggle with depression.

If you don't think you can handle sushi rolls, try it shredded over a salad or in a sandwich.

Here's another recipe for a more traditional vegetarian sushi- looks yummy! I think I'll try this one next!


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