Do you ever get on kicks where you could eat the same food every day? Given how many times I’ve blogged either curry or oatmeal, it should not be a surprise that this happens to me fairly frequently. Currently, my food addiction is sushi. Specifically, sushi rolls. I know there are plenty of other kinds, which I also like, but give me a couple of maki rolls and I am good to go. The complimentary flavors, the mix of textures, the vast assortment of possibilities. YUM. I’m into it.
The good news is that it could be a lot worse, nutritionally speaking. But as foods go, it’s so elusive. It’s the kind of thing that is really better at a restaurant. A lot of the ingredients can be hard to find and it is a bit of a production to prepare. But then the restaurants have problems too. White rice. Lots of fried ingredients. Lots of sugar. Insane amounts of sodium. In and of itself that wouldn’t be a deal breaker because there are plenty of things on the menu to sustain a fairly healthy meal. The biggest problem is that it is expensive. It’s hard to get enough to eat at a sushi place for less than $25.
So I decided maybe I could figure out a way to make something at home. At first I thought about learning how to make actual rolls, but I ran into a couple of problems before I even got started. First, a lot of the ingredients are not the easiest to find around here. Let alone supplies like a bamboo mat. I’m sure I could find things at Whole Foods or similar places, but the weather is bad this week and it’s a little bit of a drive. Plus, if I’m going for cost-effectiveness, buying all kinds of exotic supplies kind of defeats the purpose. The second problem was that even if I did spend the time and effort getting everything I needed, I’d have to actually do the dicing and shaping and rolling and all that stuff. In the ever eloquent words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m not great at dicing, and my touch is not particularly delicate, so I just envision crafting the rolls really poorly.
But then it occurred to me, I probably had nearly all of the necessary basics, or acceptable substitutes, and if it’s really the ingredients I like the best, why not just throw them all into a dish together, burrito bowl style?
The result was a very lovely “sushi salad”.
I figured the best way to start was to think about what usually goes into a standard maki roll: rice, fish, cucumber, avocado, a seaweed wrapper…maybe a sauce. I decided to add carrots for a little extra vegetable. I also intended to use all brown rice, but ended up using half brown & half white (long story). As for the fish, I knew we had some frozen shrimp in the freezer. I also was pretty skeptical about the local supermarket having any “sushi-grade” fish, so I decided on salmon and cooking it to medium-rare. (It turned out the store actually had sushi-grade ahi, but I stuck with the salmon anyway.) I took some inspiration from this great blog, especially the amazing eel sauce recipe.
Everything in this recipe is available at a local supermarket. Mirin is a sweet rice wine that is located in the “Asian” aisle. My supermarket doesn’t sell any kind of seaweed or sea plant, so I substituted collard greens, which have a sort of similar consistency and taste. Rice vinegar is with the other vinegars. Everything else is pretty standard.
Sushi Salad OR The Lazy Girl’s DIY Sushi Roll in a Bowl
There are a lot of components to this thing so bear with me.
Total Time: 1 1/2 Hours (sorry). Serves: 4.
- 1+1/2 Cups Brown Rice OR 3/4 Cup Brown, 3/4 Cup White (uncooked)
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsps truvia
Steam the rice. (If making both kinds, cook them separately because brown takes significantly longer.) Let rice cool to room temperature. Wet a medium mixing bowl, then dry it out with a paper towel. (The goal is to make the bowl slightly damp/retaining moisture but without standing water to actually wet the rice.) Mix the non-rice ingredients together to form a dressing. Add rice to the bowl, then pour dressing over it. Stir together until evenly coated with a rice paddle/flat spatula.
- 1+1/2 Cucumber, finely diced.
- 1/2 Cup Matchstick Carrots
- 1-2 teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger
You can either julienne the carrots or buy a bag of matchstick carrots like I do. Add cucumbers, carrots and ginger to a bowl, toss together. (I recommend you do this early and then set aside.)
- 1 Pound Salmon (wild is preferable but not necessary)
- 1 teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Mirin
- 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
- Dash of Salt
Place foil in a baking dish (I use 8×8). Add salmon to dish. Mix mirin, oil, salt and ginger together, and then baste over salmon steak. Bake at 375˚F for 15-17 minutes (depending on how well cooked you want your fish to be).
- 2 Cups Chopped Collards
- 2 teaspoons Canola Oil
In a baking dish, toss the greens in the oil. Roast 20 minutes, until crunchy.
Spicy Shrimp Mix:
- 1 Bag Frozen, Pre-Cooked Shrimp
- 3 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
- 1+1/2 Tablespoons Diced Green Onion
*I purchase bags of frozen, pre-cooked shrimp. If you want to buy fresh, I’d recommend a pound. Ultimately you need 2 cups of diced shrimp. These directions are going to reflect frozen bag shrimp.
Empty bag into large bowl (or pot). Cover with warm (not hot) water and let soak for 15 minutes to defrost. In a greased, medium-sized sautée pan, heat shrimp on medium-low heat, 5-10 minutes, until shrimp is warm. Then, dice shrimp into small pieces. In a mixing bowl, add shrimp, mayo, sriracha and green onions. (You could also add lime juice but I didn’t think it was necessary.) I thought about using non-fat Greek Yogurt for this instead, but I decided it would make it taste too tart. My preferred mayo is low-fat, made with olive oil.
- 6 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
- 4 Tablespoons Mirin
- 2 Heaping Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- Dash Rice Vinegar
Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and whisk together. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Approximately 7 minutes.
Avocado Slices. (1-1+1/2 Avocados or 2 small ones is plenty, depending on how much avocado you like.)
Once you’ve prepared all of the components, stack together. You can do this however you prefer. I loved it the way I did it:
- 3/4 Cup Rice on the bottom.
- 2 Ounces Salmon
- 1/2 Cup Collards
- 3/4 Cup Veggies
- 1/2 Cup Shrimp Mix
- Avocado Slices
- 2 Tablespoons Eel Sauce over top.
This is a pretty substantial bowl of food. Since all the ingredients are kept separate feel free to add more or less of one thing or another. I made this right after a really intense workout, so if you want to make smaller portions, go right ahead!
If you prepare it exactly the way I did, it is about 550 calories (slightly less), which sounds like a lot until you consider it is an entire dinner. Using a little less avocado or rice would help if you need a lower calorie total. The whole thing was very filling though, and has a lot of protein and fiber.
Overall I was thrilled by how this dish went. It was a little bit time consuming, but nothing is particularly challenging. And a lot of it is waiting around for the rice to cook. I was a little worried when I started it, honestly, because sometimes things like this seem like a great idea in my head, but they don’t execute as well in reality. But this sushi salad actually did taste like a big sushi roll, with the added benefit of being a little more practical. I’m definitely making this again.