Lots of Veggies Sushi Rolls

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When I was in yoga teacher training, veggie sushi saved my life. I would come home late, tired and hungry after a long day of practicing yoga. Although I was super hungry, really the only thing I wanted was vegetable sushi rolls…a little seaweed salad was okay too. I’m not sure I can explain this, looking back. Maybe it was the salty taste from the nori and soy sauce. Maybe it was the fact that sushi rolls can be light and filling at the same time. For me, it was a craving that could not be denied.

On these evenings, I usually had rolls from my favorite asian restaurant or really I was not that picky, grocery store sushi was fine too. But now that I have a little more time, I really like making my own rolls. And what’s fun is that I get to come up with weird combinations that I wish I could find on a menu but I never can, like mango/cucumber.

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Cucumber rolls are a staple on most sushi roll menus, but add a little mango and it’s a whole new experience. An experience that I highly recommend. Oh my. So good. Also, I played with green beans, raw sweet potato, avocado and carrots. Really, any vegetables that you have in your refrigerator will probably work.

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The green beans were leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and I paired them with the sweet potato. You could steam the sweet potato too, but sliced very thinly, it was really good raw. Try it some time. The avocado and carrot went well together too. I think any combination can work here.

So it’s pretty much conventional wisdom that the secret to good sushi rolls is the rice. Don’t let this intimidate you. Follow a few easy steps and you’ll be fine.  First cook the sushi rice according to the package direction, then spread it out on a baking sheet. Next add a little rice wine vinegar (maybe 2-3 tablespoons) and gently toss it in. If you work the rice too much here, it can get too sticky. Then let it cool to room temperature. The hardest part is done.

The nori sheets that I bought had these handy directions on the back on how to make sushi rolls. So that’s what I followed. It’s pretty straight forward. Place the nori shiny side down on a sushi mat. Top with rice and add veggies to the center. Roll up tightly, using the mat as a guide. Moisten the top edge and seal. Use a sharp knife to slice this into rolls. That’s it. Okay, so the first roll could be a mess. No big deal, it still tastes good, no doubt about that. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Really.

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Lots of Veggies Sushi Rolls

Makes about 2 dozen rolls

1 1/2 cups sushi rice

2 cups water

2-3 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

2-3 cups vegetables and fruit, thinly sliced such as avocado, cucumber, carrots, raw or steamed sweet potato, mango and steamed or raw green beans.

4-6 roasted nori sheets

Bamboo sushi mat

Cook rice according to package directions. Spread cooked rice out on a baking sheet and toss gently to coat with rice wine vinegar. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place nori sheet on bamboo mat with the shiny side down. Place about 1-1 1/2 cups of rice on top of nori, spreading it to the edges using moistened hands. Leave about a half an inch uncovered at the top edge. Place a combination of veggies down the center of the rice.

Using the mat as a guide, roll up the nori to create a log. Moisten the top edge to create a seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Slice logs into 1 inch rolls. Serve with soy sauce, prepared wasabi and sliced pickled ginger.

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