Vegetable Maki (Sushi Rolls)
Makes 10 rolls
2 cups short-grain sweet brown rice
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
3 Tbsp gomasio or toasted sesame seeds
10 sheets or one package of nori seaweed sheets
2 medium avocados, sliced
1 cup broccoli sprouts (or your favorite sprouts)
1 large sweet potato, cut into long strips and baked with 1 Tbsp coconut oil and 1 tsp tamari
Tamari (fermented soy sauce)
To make sushi rice:
- Soak rice in a covered container overnight.
- Drain and rinse.
- Pour rice into a medium pot and add 3 cups of water and a dash of sea salt, cover.
- Bring to a boil.
- Once it boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
- Remove from heat and transfer into large mixing bowl.
- Add brown rice vinegar and gomasio and mix with a flat wooden spatula, making sure to not mix the rice too much.
- Cover and chill until rice is lukewarm or room temperature – can be overnight if desired. FYI: If the rice is too hot your rolls will fall apart.
- YOU’RE READY TO ROLL!
TO ROCK’N’ROLL YOUR MAKI:
Before you start:
- Prepare your ingredients and arrange them around you so that you can easily grab whatever you need.
- Make sure you have a flat, clean surface for rolling and another spot to store your rolls once they are done.
- Put some cold water in a bowl close by to clean your hands and sling a dishtowel over your shoulder to dry them.
The rolling process:
- Spread a thin layer of rice across the middle of a nori sheet, making sure to keep an even thickness. See the diagram to your right. Please note, the thinner the rice, the easier it is to roll.
- Place a few of each desired ingredient on the lower third portion of your rice. Again, the less you put in your roll, the easier it will be to roll and fit in your mouth. See the diagram again for clarification.
- Start rolling the bottom part over the fillings and continue to roll up.
- Once you hit the end of the rice, add some water to the end of the nori sheet and continue to roll.
- Roll back and forth until sealed.
To cut, make sure you are using a really sharp knife. If you use a dull knife, all of your hard work will go to waste! Cut each roll into 5 or 6 pieces, serve and enjoy!
Nori and other sea vegetables are a super food. They have been eaten by cultures in the Japanese area since at least 8000 BCE and are chock full of virtually all of the minerals in the ocean, which happen to be the same as the minerals in our blood. They are an excellent source of calcium, sodium and iodine. Sea vegetables are also a great source of folic acid and magnesium as well as a good source of iron, potassium, and the B vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
Brown rice has the most nutritional value out of all other rice forms. White rice, like white flour, is stripped of its most vital nutrients. Brown rice is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 as well as manganese, iron, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous and the trace minerals. While not high in protein, brown rice does have a broad spectrum of essential amino acids. First cultivated in China around 7000 BCE, rice is so ubiquitous in Asia that many cultures use the words “rice” and “food” interchangeably. Sweet rice is typically used for sushi for its very sticky and glutenous properties.
Avocados are native to Central and South America where they have been cultivated since 8000 BCE. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and fiber. One serving, or half an avocado serves up 485 mg of potassium! While avocados are high in fat (14.7g per serving), the fats include oleic and linoleic acid, which have been shown to help lower LDL while simultaneously raising the healthy HDL cholesterol levels.
Sweet Potatoes are also native to Central America where they have been consumed for over 10,000 years. They are an excellent source of carotenes as well as a good source of vitamin C and B6. They are also a good source of vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, biotin, manganese, copper, and fiber. While sweet potatoes are starchy and in fact, quite sweet, they have been shown to actually help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Broccoli sprouts have become popular recently due to their newly found high concentration of the anticancer phytochemical sulforphane. In fact, the sprouts contain thirty to fifty times the concentration that is found in mature broccoli. Broccoli is native to Europe, where it has been used for 2,000 years. While it was brought to the United States during colonial times, it did not become the popular vegetable that it is today until the 1920s.
Sushi’s origins lie in Southeast Asia, during the 4th century BCE, where it was created as a way to preserve food. Salted fish, fermented and preserved in rice, was a vital source of protein. After a couple of months of fermentation, only the fish would be consumed while the rice was discarded. Over time, it spread throughout China, and later, around the 8th century, it was introduced into Japan. It wasn’t until the Edo era, however, that the Japanese created a way to eat both rice and fish. Instead of being only used for fermentation, rice was mixed with vinegar and combined with fish as well as vegetables and other dried preserved foods. During the 1980s, in the wake of increased health consciousness, sushi, one of the healthiest meals around, gained popularity in the United States. While sushi is technically still a term used to describe raw fish, today we enjoy a cornucopia of vegetarian sushi dishes.
Murray, Michael, N.D. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books, 2005.