I adore traditional sushi, but wanted to make a healthier low-carb vegan version for meat-free days, for better blood sugar regulation & for pregnant friends avoiding raw seafood. Here is a vegan sushi recipe which is made from blitzed up parsnip or cauliflower instead of the traditional white rice. It really quite delicious as well as being low-calorie. As nothing needs to be cooked, this recipe will appeal to raw food enthusiasts too!
I think the sushi looks so pretty & bright, they are great for parties as canapés. They are also great for packed lunch. Of course, you could use traditional smoked salmon as the filling along with the parsnip/ cauliflower ‘rice’.
As a time-saver, you could simply throw the ingredients into a bowl rather than roll the ingredients into rolls & have sushi bowls-maybe for a quick healthy supper. (The bowls also allow you to pack more filling in! See below).
The addition of black sesame seeds imparts a lovely fragrance, finely chopped root ginger adds spice & warmth, ground flaxseed adds extra nutritive value. By using lots of thinly sliced vegetable, this sushi is deliciously fresh & has great crunch; the crunchiness of the veg contrasting with the creamy avocado & soft ‘rice’.
The accompanying miso-based dip is a really delicious malty alternative to the traditional wasabi & soya sauce combo (this of course will go well with this veggie sushi too).
Serves: 4 -5 people (depending on how hungry!)
Preparation time: 1hr 15-30 mins approx. (if you make the sushi rolls), plus 4 hrs soaking time (or overnight)
10 nori seaweed sheets
For the sushi ‘rice’
440g parsnips (or cauliflower)
Small bunch or curly parsley
150g sunflower seeds
1.5tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp tahini (this makes the rice sticky)
Large pinch of sale (to taste)
For the filling:
1 tbsp root ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp black sesame seeds (toasted if possible)
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 red pepper, finely sliced into long strips
2 avocados, finely sliced into long strips
1/3 cucumber, finely sliced into long strips
Small handful of kale, tough stems removed
Small handful of bean-sprouts
Smoked tofu, sliced into thin strips
For the miso dip:
2 tbsp dark miso paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped root ginger
Make the sushi ‘rice’. Soak the sunflower seeds, a pinch of salt in 450ml of water in a bowl for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Then drain & rinse the seeds. Place in a food processor or blender & pulse for a few seconds to finely chop.
Tip into a large mixing bowl.
There is no need to wash the food processor/ blender (everything will be mixed up anyway).
Peel & roughly chop the parsnip into rough chunks (or rough florets if using cauliflower). Add the lemon juice, ground flaxseed, rice wine vinegar, tahini & parsley. You may have to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your blender/ processor. Pulse the mixture so that the parsnip forms ‘grains’ akin to rice.
Add chopped parsnip mixture to the bowl with the sunflower grains & mix together. Taste & season with more salt if required.
Prepare the vegetables for the filling, making strips of everything, & finely chopping the root ginger. If you have time, toast the black sesame seeds in a large pan with no oil for a few mins, taking care not to burn them. The toasting process helps release the natural oils from the seeds & so enhances the aroma & flavour of the seeds.
Sushi assembly. The fun bit!
Place a sushi mat on a chopping board with the slats running horizontally. Place a sheet of nori seaweed shiny side down onto the mat. Using wet hands (a bowl of water by your workstation is handy at this point), spread a thin layer of the sushi rice on top of the nori with damp fingers or a silicone spatula. Leave a border at the top furthest away from you.
Then choose your fillings! Take care not to overfill the sushi so it becomes to plump to roll (I learnt from experience!). Sprinkling a small amount of chopped root ginger along the strip of filling really adds flavour.
Pick up the mat closest to you & using your thumbs & forefingers, pick up the mat & sushi & roll. You want a firm roll so that everything sticks together when sliced up.
Repeat the process until all the rice & fillings are used up.
You can slice up immediately, but I quite like chilling my sushi rolls for 20-30mins before I slice them to ensure they keep their shape. Use a sharp knife & slice each roll into about 6-8 pieces.
If you are making sushi bowls, I like to cut the nori sheets into strips & use some as a topping along with black mustard seeds; it looks prettier & the nori strips on top of the bowl retain their crispness.
For the miso dip:
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. YUM!
Serve with pickled ginger if you wish.
Don’t forget you can find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.