Words and Photos by Jules Somers
Sitting at my kitchen table, I felt a pang of disappointment as I bit into my first piece of vegan sushi. This savory treat, which usually has me drooling over just the mere mention of its name, tasted bland and dry. As I was chewing, I began to think "Where had my love for sushi gone? Was I doomed to a life of flavorless sushi for giving up fish?" Then as quickly as the feeling of dissatisfaction had risen, a smile started to spread across my face while my head swirled with ideas. Surely there was a better alternative! A sense of glee washed over me, as my mind filled with the possibility of rekindling with my love of sushi. I instantly became inspired to search for easy, original, and animal-friendly sushi ingredients.
As a vegan (and as a life-long addict of all things sushi) I sympathize with my fellow herbivores in the battle to overcome sushi cravings. While the combinations of sushi made with raw fish seem to be endless, the selection of fish-free sushi can feel drab and overplayed to vegans and vegetarians alike. I often find myself bored with the age-old white rice and avocado combination. Hence my decision to shake things up and create a sushi roll that would reignite my tastebuds and quench those pesky cravings! So to you, curious reader, I offer my twist on classic vegetarian sushi. And for those of you omnivores, this recipe is still a winner among my meat-eating amigos (especially those who are a little wary of the whole uncooked fish movement).
To begin you will need:
A bamboo rolling mat
Plastic wrap or parchment paper
1 cup of quinoa
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp of sugar
1/4 - 1/2 of a cucumber (depending on its size)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 package of tofu (I prefer to use the pre-made "baked" variety from Whole Foods)
2 sheets of nori (seaweed)
2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp. Vegenaise (to be combined with Sriracha sauce)
1. Mix the quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, turn down the heat, cover, and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.
2. Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Remember to stir frequently so the salt and sugar dissolve. Then turn off heat.
3. Once the mixture has cooled off, pour and stir the mixture into the quinoa. Sprinkle in the sesame seeds and leave quinoa to cool until room temperature.
4. Slice the cucumber, avocado, red pepper, and tofu into long, thin strips.
5. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper over the bamboo rolling mat. Place 1 sheet of nori on top.
6. With a wooden or plastic spoon, cover the nori sheet with a thin layer of quinoa, leaving the top 1/2-inch of the sheet uncovered.
7. Place strips of cucumber, avocado, red pepper and tofu near the top end of the quinoa.
8. Gently wet the top (quinoa-free) section of the nori sheet.
9. Beginning at the bottom, tightly but carefully roll up the sushi mat.
10. Delicately remove the roll and cut into 1-inch slices.
11. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
12. Combine Sriracha and vegenaise (or real mayonnaise if you'd prefer) to drizzle over sushi.
13. Serve with soy sauce and enjoy!