We've been on a roll this summer creating fabulous warm weather inspired recipes, or at least we think so! While it is still nice and warm we have less of a craving for hot meals requiring a lot of cooking time, leading us to wonder, what's for dinner? This week we decided on a vegetarian sushi roll packed with fresh flavors and bright colors. But before we get rolling let's find out more about the benefits of a key sushi making ingredient.
Seaweed is a key ingredient in sushi making that is rich in nutrients, minerals, and trace minerals and particularly high in iron, calcium, and iodine. Iodine is a trace element essential to the human body for normal thyroid function. It is found naturally in some foods (including seafood and seaweed), taken as a supplement, or consumed through fortified foods. Table salt, or iodized salt, is well known for its iodine fortification which began in the United States in the 1920s. Fortification began due to a large incidence of enlarged thyroid glands in the population shown to improve with iodine supplementation. Iodine deficiency still remains a global health concern mostly in developing countries without standard dietary fortification, though decreased intake of iodized salt in developed countries can lead to decreased iodine intake. Unlike seafood and seaweed, sea salt is not a good source of dietary iodine and has replaced iodized salt in many households. A sushi roll sized portion of seaweed does contain more than the recommended daily intake of iodine and can supply this vital nutrient in the diet. Though we will note recent concerns surrounding some seaweed and its exposure to toxins and pollutants in the ocean. But don't worry! Like with most foods we recommend balance and moderation to reap the benefits and minimize any potential risk. So now, on to seaweed's role in sushi making! Sushi rolling is truly an art that can be mastered with some practice. A common mistake in sushi making is over stuffing your roll. Over stuffed rolls are very difficult to roll, will be messy and difficult to seal. When new to sushi making, it will be easier to roll sushi with the rice on the inside of the seaweed as we did. Though if you prefer to have the rice on the outside of your role there are two key points to keep in mind: the rice must be sticky enough to hold to the seaweed paper and your sushi mat should be lined on both sides with plastic wrap to avoid the rice from sticking in the wooden grooves. With all sushi making it is important to keep the roll tight as you go to keep the ingredients from falling out once sliced. Well we hope that by now you are not too intimidated by the process and ready to tackle your own homemade sushi. Because sushi rolling at home is easy, quick, inexpensive, fun, and most importantly delicious!
Summer Sushi Rolls with Mango Sweet and Sour Sauce
PREP TIME: 1 hour (includes cooking & cooling rice)
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 mins
Servings: 4 rolls
Sweet & Sour Rice
1 cup uncooked brown sushi rice
2 cups water
2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 dried nori seaweed sheets
4 oz sprouted firm tofu
1/4 tsp powdered turmeric
1/4 fresh mango, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
Black and white sesame seeds
Mango Sweet & Sour Sauce
1/2 cup fresh mango, cubed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar (we used lavender lemongrass vinegar, white vinegar will also work)
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 dried red chili pepper
2 tsp wasabi powder (if unable to find look at specialty or Asian markets)
Cook sushi rice according to package directions then remove from heat and add apple cider vinegar, cane sugar, and salt. Stir rice until well combined and place in the fridge to cool.
To make the sauce, combine mango, water, vinegar, cane sugar, dried chili pepper, and wasabi powder in a blender. Mix on high until smooth. Place sauce into a shallow pan and simmer on the stove top for 10-15 minutes until sauce begins to thicken and sticks to the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to cool.
Next prepare the roll ingredients. Drain tofu, carefully cut into matchstick pieces, then generously sprinkle with powdered turmeric. If your tofu is on the dry side you made need to place in a shallow dish with ~1 Tbsp water to help the turmeric disperse and evenly cover the tofu. Peel the outer cucumber skin and slice into thin matchstick strips. Peel and slice mango and avocado into thin strips.
To make your rolls place 1 sheet of nori on a sushi mat. Nori has a rough side and a smooth side - make sure the rough side is facing up. Place ~1/2 cup cooked sushi rice in the middle of the nori and carefully spread rice outward leaving ~1/2" space on the top and bottom of the nori. The sushi rice is sticky and we found it helpful to keep a small bowl of room temperature water on hand to dip your finger tips in to make spreading the rice easier. Starting at the end closet to you, place your filling ingredients in a horizontal line (pictured above). With the sushi mat underneath the nori sheet carefully roll nori over ingredients while pulling the mat tight as you roll to form a seal. Continue this process until you have a sealed sushi roll. Evenly cut roll into 8 slices. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used. If you do not plan to eat all the rolls at the time of making, uncut rolls will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days. Dip and enjoy!
This roll is so fresh, bright, and light but filling - basically a perfect summer meal. And this mango sweet and sour sauce with wasabi is the ideal place for your gorgeous little sushi rolls to take a dip! It's sweet and tangy with a strong spicy kick from the wasabi. Now finish those rolls and get back to whatever fun summer activities you've been enjoying today.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.