This Valentine’s day I’m showing some love for sea life and bringing you the very first instalment of the promised new vegan recipe feature. This recipe for vegan sushi uses basmati/quinoa instead of the traditional white sushi rice, as it’s higher in fibre and nutrients. This recipe is also lower in sugar than ‘traditional’ sushi, and packs in some extra veggies to contribute to your 5 a day.
♥ Tilda wholegrain basmati & quinoa (dried) or similar
♥ Rice vinegar (own brand is perfectly fine – try Sainsbury’s)
♥ Sushi nori (dried seaweed sheets – brands can be pricey, but Tesco sometimes stock a cheaper version, with more sheets)
♥ A fresh lemon
♥ Seasoning (I used lemon pepper)
♥ Vegetables of your choice (I used aubergine, broccoli and mushrooms)
♥ Fresh root ginger
♥ Optional extras: sesame seeds, spirulina powder
Cook your rice/grains as instructed on the packet and drain off any excess water using a sieve. Put in a large bowl.
Now to add the flavour! Sprinkle in any seasoning you like – I opted for lemon, lemon pepper, and ginger (grate in as much or as little as you like). Add a generous tsp of rice vinegar (this will help add moisture to stick the rice together/to the seaweed later)
This step is optional, but I’d recommend including it! Lightly toast sesame seeds under the grill (no need to use extra oil) and add this to your bowl of seasoned rice. Sesame seeds are usually used on the outside of sushi, but I find they add a nice texture and flavour when mixed in. I also added spirulina for an extra protein hit (but be warned, you only need tiby amounts as it has a very distinct earthy taste!) Spirulina can be expensive in health food shops, so keep an eye out at food markets where you can sometimes be lucky to pick up unusual ingredients for a fraction of the price.
Now to prep the veg – grill sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced aubergine, and cook your broccoli (using frozen is fine, or steam fresh florets, but make sure it is thoroughly drained by dabbing with kitchen towel) You’ll need to turn your mushrooms/aubergine half way through to get both sides cooked evenly. NB: with such thinly sliced aubergine the ends can slightly burn – don’t panic! pull/cut these bits off. You can use any veg you like, including strips of courgette or even butternut squash.
Chop the heads of your broccoli so they almost resemble small grains. To save time you can use a mini food processor, I used a mezzaluna, but a sharp small knife will do just fine. Add to the rice mix and stir well.
You now need to apply a thin, even layer of your rice mixture on to a sheet of your dried seaweed. Press lightly with a spoon.
Arrange your vegetables – in this case the slices of aubergine and the mushrooms.
Take another sheet of dried seaweed and press it gently over the rice/vegetables. You’ll need to make sure it’s in contact with the rice mix otherwise it won’t soften. Once you’ve made sure it’s pressed down well, leave for 5 mins. This should be enough time to allow it to soften.
Time to roll! Start at the edge closest to you and aim for quite ‘tight’, pressing as you go along.
You’ll need a sharp knife to cut your sushi roll otherwise it’ll fall apart! I used a sharp breadknife (you’ll also notice I’ve ‘tucked in’ the ends – this is to stop any escaping rice!) Start by cutting your roll in half, then divide up into smaller sections.
All that’s left to do is make your sushi look extra appetising by arranging it nicely on your plate. You can add any extras, such as soy sauce and wasabi.