To be perfectly honest, this lunch happened because I had white sticky rice to use up. Nori rolls take A LOT of rice. At least 1 cup of cooked rice per roll. The good thing about that is that rice acts as a little vehicle for all the nutrients in your veggies, carrying them into your cells and making you grow strong like a Samurai!
But now that I am thinking of nori rolls, I kinda want them in a more regular lunch rotation. Yep! They are going in.
To make the Nori Rolls
If you have never rolled sushi before, no worries! It is easy. Here is how. My apologies for the poor image quality; when I did this one I was a blogger newbie.
- Place a sheet or nori on a bamboo sushi mat. (Rough side up) Evenly spread 1 – 1 1/2 cups rice over nori sheet, leaving about an inch or two uncovered at the top, and 1/4 at the bottom edge. Press rice down firmly. If you have a damp bamboo rice paddle, use it! If not, damp hands will work too.
- Add your vegetables in a line across the width of the nori sheet, about an inch or so from the bottom.
- Roll sushi mat into a cylindrical shape, pressing mat firmly against nori and rice. When nori sheet is completely rolled up, wet the top edge slightly with water and press to seal edges tightly.
- Before unrolling sushi mat, squeeze VERY gently. Slice nori roll in half with a sharp wet knife. Wet knife between each slice and slice each half into four equal sections (rounds), approximately 1 in thick. If you prefer 6 pieces, then cut each half into thirds instead. (I prefer smaller pieces, so I cut 8))
To make the Rice on the Outside rolls, place plastic wrap over the bamboo sushi mat and then simply reverse the order, placing the rice first, covering the entire mat, then layer the nori sheet on top of the rice. Steps 2-4 remain the same.
If it is a little messy at first, don’t worry! You will get the hang of it and it will still taste fabulous.
Veggies for our rolls today are:
Blanched carrot, blanched asparagus, and crispy cucumber. Our avocado was too green, otherwise there would have been delicious buttery slices of avocado in there too.
And roll #2 has blanched, peeled and seeded tomato slices, blanched asparagus, and crispy romaine lettuce. Cool and refreshing.
To blanch tomatoes, make two little cuts on the end first, This will help in easily peeling off the skin.
Drop them into the boiling water very briefly, just a few seconds.
When you pull them out, the skin should come right off. It is best to throw them in ice water to stop the cooking process. (I did not bother this time) Then slice them and remove the seeds.
The other veggies may be quickly blanched in the same boiling water. One at a time. Have your veggies cleaned and prepped. Blanching goes fast! Place them in ice water, or on a paper towel. You will want them cool and dry.
Making Lunch Easy
Having everything prepped in advance and waiting for you in the fridge makes life so much easier! Things to prep:
- cooked rice (sushi rice is best; but you can use any sticky rice you have)
- blanched veggies
To have nori rolls anytime you want, keep on hand:
- sushi mat
- nori sheets
Then when you are ready, you only need to roll them up!
Pack your nori rolls in a sealable container to keep them fresh. Here we have added white sauce, julienned carrots for some crunch, julienned beets for no other reason than that we had them, and tempura tofu – so good with rice! Other dipping sauces would be great, like liquid aminos, coconut aminos (if you are soy-free), or a vegan spicy mayo. A nice vegetable broth or miso soup would also be delicious.
Each roll makes 8 slices. For us two rolls get split up into 2 to 4 lunches. Everybody gets a break from the ole stand-by sammies.
‘Got a wee bit sloppy with my rice.
A little bit of fried something is so texturally nice with rice rolls. A better way to pack fried items, like the tempura tofu, is to put it in something less airtight with a paper towel underneath.
Japanese food in a chinese take-out box? Why not!
Vegan Nori Rolls
For a quick lunch, prep all of your ingredients in advance and roll them together in the morning. You can probably even assemble the rolls the day before, but the fresher the better.
- vegetables of your choice, cut into matchsticks
- nori sheets (purchase toasted, or toast gently over flame or on a sheet tray in the oven)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked sushi rice per roll (here I have used up leftover sticky rice, but actual sushi rice is better! – click here)
- optional: 1-2 T sesame seeds per roll, toasted (about 5 minutes in a saute pan, they will begin to pop)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Blanche matchstick vegetables in boiling water for just a few seconds. Their color will brighten and they will become just a little bit tender. Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon. Cool. Dry. (You can throw them immediately into ice water if you like, to set the color and quickly cool them.)
If your rice was made in advance and is cold, it will be much easier to manage if you reheat it.
Place a sheet or nori on a bamboo sushi mat. Evenly spread rice over nori, leaving about an inch or two uncovered at the top, and 1/4 at the bottom edge. Press rice down firmly. If you have a damp bamboo rice paddle, use it! If not, damp hands will work too.
Place vegetable strips across the width of the nori sheet, about an inch or so from the bottom. If desired, sprinkle vegetables with about 1 T sesame seeds. Also sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, if desired.
Roll sushi mat into a cylindrical shape, pressing mat firmly against nori and rice. When nori sheet is completely rolled up, wet the top edge slightly with water and press to seal edges tightly. Before unrolling sushi mat, squeeze gently to remove excess liquid. Slice nori roll in half with a sharp wet knife. Wet knife between each slice and slice each half into four equal sections (rounds), approximately 1 in thick.
If you are making a rice-on-the-outside rolls, it is pretty to garnish with black sesame seeds on the outside of the roll.
Serve with dipping sauces, such as liquid aminos, or coconut aminos, spicy mayo of Stephanie’s Japanese White Sauce. (recipe below)
Stephanie’s Vegan Japanese White Sauce
For best results, make this dish the night before you plan to use it. It is one of those wonderful better-the-next-day foods. All the flavors will meld into one delicious sauce!
- 1 cup Vegenaise or Just Mayo
- 6 T water
- 1/2 to 1 t paprika, to taste
- 1/4 t ginger powder
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 2 t chili garlic sauce (prepared, or make your own)
- 2 t sugar
- 1/4 t salt
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight.
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