Quinoa Sushi Recipe- and How to Roll Sushi With No Sushi Mat

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When I was a kid, if you ate sushi, you were either weird, or very worldly. Today, though, it seems everyone eats sushi- sushi is popping up in the strangest of places- in the grocery store, in pizza stores, in Italian restaurants, in steakhouses...
And since people want their sushi, but want to be healthy too, there are all sorts of varieties of sushi out there, each attempting to make sushi healthier than the next person.
My standard sushi recipe is made with white rice, which, by the way, I am not against, for the most part, as white rice is the most easily digested grain of all grains, so much so that even Mark Sisson of Paleo diet fame says that a little bit of white rice here and there is fine, and that it's the best grain to have. (Its free of the antinutrient phytic acid, which is why its more easily digested.)
But as much as white rice is pretty OK as far as grains go, some people avoid that, and all grains. Pseudograins like quinoa are preferable in terms of nutrition and digestion- quinoa is high in protein, and is a complete protein at that.
And it also makes a pretty great sushi!

Yes, I know some people avoid quinoa too... and there are recipes for cauliflower based quinoa... but not for me.
Quinoa sushi is as far as I'll go.
It rolls very nicely.
The texture is a drop different from regular sushi- the quinoa ends up being more mushy as opposed to sticky.
But the taste is pretty similar.

The way you make quinoa sushi is like this:

Quinoa Sushi Recipe

2 cups quinoa
3 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey or some other healthy sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Fillings like veggies, fish, etc...
Grain free teriyaki alternative or soy sauce
Spicy mayo made from regular mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise mixed with homemade sriracha

1. Wash your quinoa very, very well to remove all saponins, as shown in this post.

2. Mix your quinoa with your water, and let sit for 2-6 hours, depending on the weather (shorter in warmer weather). By this point, it will have already started to sprout, and become more digestible.

3. Cook the quinoa covered on the stovetop until all the water is absorbed.

4. Mix the honey, vinegar, and salt in a pot, heat up, and stir until all the ingredients are dissolved.

5. Pour the mixture into the quinoa and mix well.

6. Let come to room temperature.

7. Roll as you would regular sushi rolls, as shown in this post.

8. If you don't have a sushi mat, that's fine. You can make your sushi with just a piece of parchment paper. To do so:
a) Lay your parchent paper down on the table.
b) Place the nori down on the parchment paper.
c) Fill the bottom 2/3 of the nori with quinoa (or rice), making sure there is an even layer all the way until the edges, and that its pressed into the nori.
d) Make an indent 2 inches up from the bottom end of the nori as a channel for the fillings.
e) Put fillings into the indent.
f) Pick up the parchment paper and with it the nori and quinoa/rice, holding in the fillings with your fingers.
g) Pull the parchment paper away from you and downward towards the nori, so that filling gets trapped inside the nori and the quinoa/rice.
h) Pull the parchment paper tight.
i) Wet the bit of exposed nori.
j) With the aid of the parchment paper, roll the sushi roll onto the moistened nori, and then roll one more quarter of a turn.
k) Roll the sushi roll up inside the parchment paper tightly.
l) Cup your hands around the parchment paper that's in the middle of the sushi roll. square your fingers so the sushi is being pushed into a square shape with the table pushing up on the bottom, and the three sides being shaped by your fingers. Once you have this shape, keep the same tight shape and move your hands simultaneously outward towards the edge if the sushi roll.
m) Unroll the parchment paper to take out the roll.
n) With a serrated knife, cut the sushi roll into 8-10 pieces each.

9. Serve as you would serve any sushi, with dipping sauces like the homemade teriyaki, spicy mayo, and pickled ginger.

10. Note that quinoa sushi is wetter than rice sushi, and therefore should be eaten soon after being made- leaving it overnight, even in the fridge, will result in soggy nori that will cause your sushi to fall apart.


Have you ever made sushi before? With what inside it? Ever seen or heard of quinoa sushi before? Does it seem like something you'd make?
Ever rolled sushi without a mat before? Did you think it was possible? If you'd considered making sushi but didn't feel like spending money on a sushi mat, do you think you'll attempt it now with parchment paper?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. i have made sushi before, with sushi rice, avocado, prawns or seafood sticks (empting the freezer). I had a matt so it was all good, and they tasted pretty nice, they turned out much fatter than the ones in the shops. I have tried quinoa lots of times, i just don't like the taste of it.

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