Friday, August 3, 2012

Vegan "Tuna" Sushi Rolls

Often picking up sushi rolls seems like the healthiest choice when you are getting take-out or prepared foods from the grocery store, unfortunately, there is often a lot of hidden salt, sugar and fat lurking in those rolls.  From the white rice, to the sugar and salt used to season it, or the mayo-based sauces, these rolls are not always so virtuous.

It's really easy to make your own and to customize them based on your diet and taste.

I've opted to make these without rice, but you can add brown rice, or even quinoa if you want to bulk them up a bit*.  I do recommend that you throw in rice or quinoa if you are not going to eat them right away as it will help keep the nori from getting soggy.  As is, they are best eaten immediately.  Aside from being yummy, these rolls are high in protein, and packed with nutrition and fibre.  I've seasoned the avocado spread with some soy and wasabi, so these don't really need to be dunked, which also keeps the sodium to a minimum.

This recipe was inspired by the JFC black yam cakes I started seeing in the local Korean grocery store that I frequent.
House Black Shirataki Yam Cake 10.5 oz

I buy shirataki noodles there all the time, but couldn't figure out what I'd do with the cakes.  While picking up all the other ingredients to make sushi, it suddenly dawned on me that I could add it in.  The black version (seaweed is added to give it the colour) actually looks and has a similar consistency to sushi-grade tuna.  But like shirataki noodles, it is completely flavourless.  You can omit this, of course, and stick with just the other ingredients, or add lightly steamed asparagus spears, or other veg, but I like the dimension that it adds to these rolls!

10 sheets toasted nori

1 ripe avocado
1 cup cooked, cooled edamame
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbls soy sauce/tamari/aminos
1/4 tsp wasabi powder, or to taste

Dark romaine lettuce leaves, membranes removed
1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out, cut lengthwise into spears
1  10.5oz package yam cake, cut lengthwise into thin strips

Place avocado, edamame and seasonings in a food processor, and puree until smooth.  Put sheet of nori on sushi rolling mat.  Place lettuce down on nori and spread with avocado mixture (if avocado mixture comes into contact with nori, it will make it soggy!).  Lay down strips of cucumber and yam cake.  Roll up, wetting edge of nori to seal roll.  Place finished rolls in fridge for about 10 minutes.  Remove and slice (about 5 pieces per roll) with a very sharp knife.  Makes 50 sushi rolls.  Keep refrigerated for 1 day.

Excuse the photo...these ones were the only ones left when I remembered to take a pic, and they were from the first roll I made where I put the avocado mixture directly onto the nori, so they got soggy.  I still ate them...all!

*For each cup of cooked short-grain brown rice or quinoa, dissolve about 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbls granulated sweetener (sugar, xylitol, Splenda, etc.) to 2 tbls unseasoned rice vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir into rice or quinoa and let cool before spreading onto nori.

This recipe has been entered into Diet, Dessert &Dogs' Wellness Weekend.