Quinoa Sushi

Making your own sushi at home is probably a lot easier than you might think! Try this version with black quinoa for an extra stunning dish.

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Serves 3: 25 • Prep Time: N/A • Cook Time: N/A

Straight from the Forq Kitchen!
by Becca Pusey


Quinoa Sushi

Sushi seems to divide people into two distinct groups: those passionate to the point of evangelism, and those who get the heebie jeebies. Raw fish can take some getting used to, that’s for sure – never mind the strong flavors and exotic ingredients that sushi rolls can exhibit.

If your culinary adventure into the world of sushi is just beginning, then bear with me. I swear my quinoa sushi is just as tasty as the real thing, but it’s also suitable for vegetarians, contains no raw fish, and can be consumed without needing to wiggle your shoulders in a show of horrified revulsion.

My vegetarian, quinoa-based sushi does not contain sushi rice. Nor does it contain raw fish. Purists will challenge my use of the word ‘sushi’ to describe this dish. I am evidently not a purist.

I replaced the sticky white rice that’s usually used in sushi with black quinoa; black quinoa has more protein, more potassium, more fibre, more iron, more calcium… it’s a long list. But as well as being healthier in many ways, quinoa also makes a really nice change. Changing it up is where the magic happens.

The different colours of quinoa can be really similar in taste; black quinoa is ever so slightly nuttier, but other than that, the differences may be incredibly subtle.

I chose to use black quinoa for my sushi rather than the more common white quinoa because I thought it would look striking accompanying the green vegetables in the middle. But as I’ve written before, the different colours of quinoa can be really similar in taste; black quinoa is ever so slightly nuttier, but other than that, the differences may be incredibly subtle, so feel free to use whatever variety of quinoa you have on hand.

As for the raw fish, I decided to make my quinoa sushi totally vegetarian, so there’s no fish here at all. But don’t worry; the nori (seaweed) that encases the sushi has a pretty fishy flavour, so you may not miss the fish component at all. Your sushi can still taste like it’s been plucked straight from the sea.

Assembling sushi rolls is an intensely creative affair, and so you can stuff your sushi with whatever vegetables you fancy; I went for avocado, cucumber, and spring onion. The avocado is creamy, the cucumber is crunchy, and the onion adds a wonderful pop of flavour. They are a brilliant combination! But you can use any vegetables, as long as you choose something that can easily be cut into strips – the veg need to be laid out in a line to allow for easy rolling. I also prefer to use vegetables that can be eaten raw, as it makes the sushi much quicker to prepare and has a satisfying crunch when eaten.

Most of my friends insist they find the idea of making sushi from scratch intimidating, but there’s no reason to be scared. Because there’s no fish to fillet here, this quinoa sushi is incredibly straightforward. Don’t get me wrong; the rolling takes a bit of practice, and even after a few attempts, my sushi rolls aren’t yet perfect. But as long as you’re not hoping that your quinoa sushi will look like it was prepared by a world-class sushi chef on your first attempt, you should be able to create something unique, creative, and without doubt tasty – maybe even quite impressive!

To help you out a bit, I do have a few top tips to help you to produce beautiful quinoa sushi rolls.

First, don’t overfill your rolls. Only use about a third of the quinoa on each sheet of nori. If you use too much, it will all spill out when you try to roll your sushi, and it won’t look too tidy – nor will it be a pleasing mouthful, which is the goal. You need to be able to roll your sushi nice and tight to make your sushi rolls look as neat as you can. Presentation is as important here as flavour.

Second, make sure you cut your vegetables into fairly thin sticks; again, this helps to ensure you can roll your sushi nice and tightly, and stops everything from spilling out of the ends.

Third, use a very sharp knife to cut your sushi. If you attempt to use any old blunt knife that you find in the back of your kitchen drawer, you’ll probably make a bit of a mess (a tasty mess, but a mess nonetheless). So get your knife sharpener out, and pick your best chef’s knife.

Once you’ve prepared beautiful quinoa sushi rolls, you can serve them however you like. I served mine sprinkled with a few sesame seeds, and I went for soy sauce for dipping. If you prefer, you could try a dip made with wasabi, ginger, and garlic (heaven, once you get used to the intense flavour).

Don’t forget the chopsticks! If you can pick your quinoa sushi rolls up with a pair of chopsticks without them falling apart, I’d call that a success!

Have you ever attempted to make your own sushi? Or have you ever had vegetarian sushi? Do you have a outstanding dipping sauce? I’m always looking for new inspiration – let me know how you’d adapt my quinoa sushi recipe, or if you have any of your own top tips for making beautiful sushi rolls, over on the Forq app!

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Directions

Here’s how to make this delicious recipe

Boil the quinoa in a pan of water for around 20 minutes, until the quinoa is soft and the spiral-shaped germ has detached. If you’re using black quinoa like I did, remember that it will have a slightly more al dente texture when cooked than white quinoa. When the quinoa is cooked, drain well.

Meanwhile, add the rice vinegar and honey to a small bowl, and mix well. If it doesn’t mix easily, place it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to begin to melt the honey, and it should mix much more easily.

When the quinoa is cooked, add the honey and rice vinegar mixture, and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on a sushi mat, if you have one, with one of the long sides towards you. When the quinoa mixture has cooled, spread one third of it over the seaweed, leaving a couple of inches clear at the top. Towards the bottom of the quinoa, lay a couple of thin slices of spring onion, and some sticks of cucumber and avocado (see image for clarification).

Quinoa Sushi

Quinoa Sushi

Arranging the ingredients on the sushi mat

Tightly roll the nori away from you, around the filling, using the sushi mat to help if you’re using one. When you near the end of the sheet, use a wet finger to dampen the nori, to help it to stick together.

Using a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the sushi into 1-2 inch chunks. Serve chilled, sprinkled with sesame seeds with soy sauce for dipping, if desired.

Quinoa Sushi

Quinoa Sushi

The finished masterpiece

Ingredients

  • 100g (~1/2 cup) quinoa
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 sheets nori seaweed

  • 1 small avocado, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 inches cucumber, cut into sticks
  • To serve: sesame seeds, soy sauce for dipping (optional)

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Who’s Cooking Today

Becca Pusey

Becca Pusey is a freelance recipe developer and food writer based in Hertfordshire, UK. She blogs over at Amuse Your Bouche, where she shares her favourite simple vegetarian recipes using everyday ingredients. She aims to show that vegetarian food can be just as easy to make, just as satisfying, and just as tasty as any meat dish. Oh, and she likes cheese, a lot.

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