It’s sushi day!
You might be wondering – why the heck would you roll sushi at home when it’s so much easier to order it at a restaurant? Because it’s fun, it’s affordable, and it’s way more fresh than take-out sushi… but the best part is that you can get creative about what you choose to fill your rolls with. No more cucumber-only veggie sushi rolls!
These rolls are filled with savory roasted shiitake mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, and red cabbage for crunch & color. There’s also a fun dipping sauce – the carrot ginger dressing from the Rainbow Kale Salad that I posted on Monday. If you make that salad and reserve just a bit of the dressing it makes for a yummy, fresh, and unexpected sauce for these rolls.
So here’s how we roll. Step #1 is to not stress out. Your rolls don’t have to be perfect. The first one might even fall apart, but even if it does you’ll pick up the pieces, smush them together and (hopefully!) enjoy eating it anyway. The second one will be better, and the third will be a breeze.
The detailed instructions are down in the recipe below, but basically you want to fill, but not overstuff your roll. Spread the rice, assemble your filling, then use the bamboo mat to tuck and roll over the filling (pictured above). When you’re at the end, use the mat to gently press and shape the roll.
Place the roll cut side down and use a very sharp knife to slice it into pieces.
These are best enjoyed just after they’re rolled but the dipping sauce and mushrooms can be made in advance to speed up the process. If you want to make this in advance (i.e. for lunch the next day) store whole, uncut rolls wrapped up in the fridge. This keeps the rice from drying out after the pieces are cut. Slice as you’re ready to eat.
If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, give this Avocado & Mango Brown Rice Sushi option a try.
Shiitake Maki with Carrot Ginger Sauce
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ½ cup chopped roasted carrots (about ¾ cup raw carrots)
- ⅓ to ½ cup water
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed well
- 2 cups water*
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 nori sheets
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- 3 long thin strips of cucumber
- ½ avocado, sliced into strips
- Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Tamari, for serving
- Pickled ginger, optional, for serving
- Prepare the roasted shiitakes: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large and small baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the shiitake mushrooms with the olive oil and tamari and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on the large baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned around the edges. On the second sheet, roast the carrots for the dipping sauce.
- Make the carrot ginger dipping sauce: In a blender, combine the roasted carrots, water, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt and blend until creamy. Chill until ready to use and set aside the shiitakes until you’re ready to roll.
- Make the sushi rice: In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, water, and olive oil and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and fold in the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Cover until ready to use.
- Assemble the maki sushi rolls. Place a small bowl of water and a kitchen towel near your work area as your hands will get sticky. Place one nori sheet, glossy side down, onto a bamboo mat and press a handful of rice onto the lower two-thirds of the sheet. At the bottom of the rice place your toppings (see picture). Don’t overfill or it will be more difficult to roll. Use the bamboo mat to tuck and roll the nori. Once rolled, use the bamboo mat to gently press and shape the roll. Place the roll to the side, cut side down. Repeat with remaining rolls.
- Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the sushi. Wipe the knife clean with a damp towel between cuts.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the dipping sauce, tamari, and pickled ginger, if desired.
To store your rolls overnight, store them uncut, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge. This helps keep the rice from drying out. Slice as you’re ready to eat.