I love sushi. I could happily eat it everyday. I run into problems, though, when eating sushi out. The combo of white rice, fish high in mercury, and high price tags turn sushi into a once in a while treat. It can also be hard to find a vegetarian roll high in protein. Luckily, I found a perfect solution to this problem one day when I was short on time and needed food fast.
I had some cooked quinoa in my refrigerator, as well as perfect sushi roll fillings on hand. I decided to try switching the usual white rice out for nutrient rich quinoa. I used quick marinated tofu (which ups the protein even more!), avocado and cucumber as the filling, but you could vary this as your personal taste dictates. This last minute dinner experiment turned into one of my new favorite sushi rolls.
About Quinoa: Quinoa is a seed that provides complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Complete proteins can be hard to come by in vegetarian food sources. Along with its high protein content (12-15%!), quinoa is a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It’s also gluten free, which makes it friendly for those with food allergies. While most people think of quinoa as a grain, it is actually the seed of a plan the is most closely related to beets, chard and spinach.
1 cup yellow quinoa, rinsed well
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 pound block of super firm tofu, slice into 1/4 thick pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari, for gluten free)
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon siracha
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
3-4 sheet nori seaweed
1 avocado, halved and sliced
1/3 of a large cucumber, chopped into matchstick pieces
soy sauce, pickled ginger & wasabi to serve
1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, siracha, ginger, sesame oil, maple syrup and sesame seeds in a container large enough to hold the tofu. Add the tofu and let it marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Combine quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil at high heat, cover and cook at low heat 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool 5 minutes. Toss cooked quinoa with seasoned rice vinegar.
3. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking oil. Pan fry the marinated tofu 2-4 minutes per side. Remove and slice into strips.
4. Lay out one piece of nori. Spread the cooked quinoa, pressing firmly and evenly, over half of the nori. Form a line of cucumber, avocado and tofu. Drizzle with a spoonful or two of the tofu marinade. Using a sushi roller or freestyle, roll the nori up tightly, dabbing some water on the side without quinoa so it sticks to itself.
6. Slice the roll into 8 pieces. I find the easiest way to do this is to use a good serrated knife and slice slowly. This way the sushi doesn’t get crushed and the pieces come out clean looking.
7. Continue with remaining ingredients. Serve rolls with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.
Makes 3-4 sushi rolls, with leftover marinated tofu. The tofu is great on rice bowls, sandwiches, or on its own!