Sushi is one of those funny dishes that are often deemed hard to make. I’ve recently come to realize that most of the ingredients can be purchased in better supermarkets, making it much easier and cost-effective for home cooks. Since July is Gluten Free Month on The Hot Plate, I wanted to create a sushi recipe that was not only delicious but also quick, cheap and, above all, healthy. Some of the biggest concerns my friends with gluten allergies have is that gluten-free ingredients can be costly, not readily available and focus on simple carbs like white rice rather than complex ones like brown rice or quinoa. Quinoa happens to be a favourite grain of mine and one that is rich in both fiber and protein. This means that a handful of pieces will help keep your sugar (glucose) levels balanced, which in turn will keep you satisfied longer.
As a dipping sauce, we’ve chosen a tamari one. Tamari is a wheat-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. It is available in most supermarkets and is about the same in price as original soy sauce. It may not be something that can be purchased at the corner store so make sure you don’t leave it off the shopping list. As an alternative, a sweet chili sauce is also delicious when drizzled over top of our quinoa sushi recipe.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 rolls
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
4 sheets toasted nori (seaweed sheets)
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 sushi rolling mats
Garnish: pickled ginger, wasabi and tamari
1/2 cup sliced avocado
6 steamed asparagus spears
2 pieces crab stick, halved lengthwise
4 inches cucumber, seeds removed and flesh cut into thin matchsticks
1. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, and simmer covered for 12-15 minutes until the water has absorbed. Pour quinoa into a fine mesh sieve to drain off any excess water. Transfer to a wide bowl and spread into a even layer.
2. Heat the rice wine vinegar and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the rice wine vinegar mixture over the quinoa, stir and refrigerate for 20 minutes until room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, assemble the ingredients. If you are vegan, omit the crab stick in favour of cooked squash or sweet potato.
4. Lay a rolling mat on a clean, dry surface. Arrange the nori sheet on top. Spread 1/4 of the quinoa in a horizontal line across the nori about 2 inches from the edge closest to you. Using your fingers make sure that the line quinoa is even and no more than 1-inch thick and that it reaches all the way to both edges of the nori. On top of the quinoa, arrange some avocado and asparagus or cucumber and crab stick. Make sure that the filling reaches all the way long the quinoa until it touches both edges of the nori.
5. Wet the tips of one of your fingers and gently wet the edge of the nori closest to you. Fold the edge of the nori closest to you and the rolling mat over the filling. Roll firmly to ensure that the filling is secured inside the nori. Continue to roll the mat away from you. When you reach the end, flip the mat over so that the roll is facing you. Once again, wet your fingers and gently wet the outer edge of the nori. Press the edge down onto the roll and hold for 20 seconds until sealed. Set the roll on a clean cutting board with the sealed edge pressed against the board.
6. Repeat this process with the remaining three sheets of nori.
7. Use a clean sharp knife to slice each roll into six pieces. Serve with tamari.
Amanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.