Chicagoans love sushi. There are a plethora of restaurants to eat good, inexpensive sushi (Butterfly, anyone?). However, as “clean” as some sushi might seem, it’s always better when you know what goes into it. So, if the chef mood strikes, grab a sushi mat, some nori (seaweed paper), veggies, and your lover and make your own healthy concoctions. Be creative and experiment with different grains and ingredients. While sushi rice is normally used, I am giving a slightly different spin on sushi by using quinoa!
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained with a mesh strainer
1 3/4 cup water
2-3 tbs. low-sodium soy sauce (optional) or balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
4-5 sheets of nori
fillings, cut into matchstick pieces (choose from avocado, onion, pepper, carrot, cucumber, shitake mushroom, mung bean sprouts, cooked sweet potatoes, etc.)
After rinsing the quinoa, add to a pot or rice cooker. Add the soy sauce (or vinegar) to the water and pour the water over quinoa. Bring water to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. Cook until the water is gone. Toss into a big bowl and combine with rice vinegar. Let cook for a few minutes.
On a sushi mat that has been covered with plastic wrap, lay down a piece of nori. Gently spread the quinoa on the nori, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. (Warning: Quinoa is a bit “testier” to work with than sushi rice, so be prepared to have the little grains on your fingers!) Place the fillings on the lower part of the nori and roll carefully. You can cut each roll in the middle. Serve with fresh wasabi!