Friday, June 27

Low Carb, Paleo Sushi- and No, I'm not kidding.

When one makes the decision to embrace a grain free diet, one often fails to consider that one of the carby delights in life, sushi, will no longer be a regular staple of the diet. I like sushi, but I am not a purist, I'm a roll kind of gal. Which in some sets, is the trash of sushi. I like things with rice, tempura-ed shellfish, cream cheese, things with the word 'rainbow' in the name, avocado, things with the word 'California' in the name. I think you get the gist. So while I could have proper sushi, nigiri, on a paleo diet, I have ZERO interest in eating raw fish by itself. I love the soy sauce, the wasabi that makes my nose burn and eyes water, the pickled ginger. I do not like the seaweed. I have tried, but the smell, THE SMELL. So, when I went out and ordered sushi, I would order it made with soy paper, which is amazing. However, my weekly sushi habit went to carb heaven many moons ago, but man, there are times when I still intensely crave the stuff! I've thought a few times about how I could 'paleo-fy' it, but really, how do you do a sushi roll with no rice?? Stop being ridiculous! But, I've been craving sushi something fierce lately, so on my hour long commute to work, I've been putting this together in my head over the last week or so. I got the idea when I made a recipe for bacon, zucchini, feta rolls found here. When I made them, I took them to a weekend lake trip and made an appetizer plate and as I cut them I thought, huh, I wonder if I could do a sushi type roll using zucchini? It's been marinating ever since, so tonight I thought I would give it a try, and quite honestly, I wasn't convinced it would work, but the worst that could happen was that I would end up with a bowl full of ingredients and call it a 'sushi salad'. So here we go!!
First you have to resolve the rice issue. The only sensible solution is the low carb staple, cauli-rice:

magical cauli-rice
To make the rice, just grate the cauliflower with a box grater and microwave it for 2-3 minutes on high. I added a splash of rice vinegar, a splash of sesame oil and sea salt.

Next, I had to decide what to wrap it in since the seaweed wasn't an option and this is where the zucchini comes in. So, I took a vegetable peeler and made long, flat zucchini strips:

zucchini ribbons
I had decided to make a California roll for this experiment, so assemble the cast of characters:

King Crab- no fake stuff here!!!

cucumber cut in matchsticks
My first approach was to lay 4 zucchini ribbons slightly overlapping, to recreate the size of a sheet of seaweed:


Next, I spread a thin layer of the cauli rice on the zucchini like you would do with sushi rice:

Add the cucumber, a bit thickly, because you need some volume to make up for the lack of rice:

top with the matchstick cucumbers
Now, the king crab! Try and splurge on real crab. The imitation stuff is scary with the stuff they add! And the real thing tastes exponentially better!

King Crab

Finally I added the avocado and I was ready to roll!


The first few rotations turned out fine and I was feeling like maybe I was gonna pull this off!


However, by the end, so much filling had pushed out and it was not sturdy at all:

So, I scraped out all the filling and decided to use a single zucchini ribbon for each roll:

single ribbon technique
And to make them even more secure, I used a piece of spring onion to tie it and from there on it was smooth sailing!

finished Paleo sushi!!
Once they were all rolled and secured, it really was a great sushi experience! A big part of the sushi ritual for me is the taste of the soy sauce and wasabi, so for me, to dip it into that and have that burn and taste, it was amazing!

Ready to start eating!

They were sturdy enough to use chopsticks with and truly satisfied my sushi craving!

You can use chopsticks!

This was an amazing recipe and was a milestone for me in my low carb journey. To actually think outside of the box and recreate something that really is a tough one to recreate in a grain free way, but everything is possible! You just have to suspend your expectations! Did this taste like 'normal' sushi? Of course not, but did it taste like a California roll? YES, it did! Try it!

Beautiful sushi!

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