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Cauliflower “Rice” Sushi {Low Carb, Primal, Grain-free, Gluten-free}

28 Aug
Cauliflower Sushi rolls with seared yellowfin, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese and sriracha

Cauliflower “Rice” Sushi rolls with seared yellowfin, avocado, cucumber, green onion, cream cheese and sriracha. Served with sriracha mayo, tamari and wasabi. This is our first attempt using cauliflower rice, and it was rather unplanned, the colors aren’t as vibrant as I usually prefer (so I added some black sesame to jazz it up), but the taste was wonderful!

Have I mentioned lately that I love seafood? Like almost ALL of it? I enjoy most fish and shellfish, and have consumed it grilled, sauteed, baked, broiled, steamed, poached, raw… you get the idea. In fact, one of my biggest culinary revelations was when my husband and I first tried sushi about 10 years ago in Ann Arbor. It was a sushi restaurant, but what we ordered turned out to be a LARGE sashimi platter just loaded with every type of raw sea delicacy I could imagine, and some I hadn’t!

Traditional sushi that we made at home using rice and a large variety of ingredients.

Traditional style homemade sushi that we created using rice and a large variety of ingredients.

If you aren’t familiar with sushi, the sushi rolls are a combination of rice, usually in a seaweed wrap, with seafood, vegetables and sauces. They are beautiful and (I think), quite delicious. (A basic California roll is an example of a sushi roll that doesn’t contain fish.) Sashimi are the artfully cut pieces of raw fish, sometimes laid over shaped portions of rice, or laid on shredded vegetables in a serving dish made of ice. Served with soy sauce and wasabi, it is an explosion of taste and texture that is visually stunning. At first it was intimidating, but it didn’t take long sampling the raw tuna, yellowfin, salmon, scallops, squid, and bbq eel before I knew that I had been missing out on an entire realm of flavors.

Well, now that I am no longer eating grains, I will admit to you that sushi rolls are the one exception that I have occasionally been making the past few months. White rice is still a carby food, but I do not have any adverse reactions from consuming it, so once in awhile I will. However, I began to get curious about whether the “cauliflower rice” technique that so many people use as a substitute for grains, would work for sushi! As it turns out, I am not the only one to wonder this, and I found a few examples on the net of people trying this technique. Now, I have been making rolls at home for several years now, so the process itself is not new to me (though I do not claim to have the talent or artistry of true sushi chefs!) If you have never made it before, it might be more challenging. The sticky rice in traditional rolls definitely helps to hold the shape better and glue the roll together, but with a little patience, I was able to come up with rolls that looked pretty good, and tasted great! If you would like a simple step by step for making rolls, take a look at this; I thought it was pretty straight-forward. The only real difference was that I chose to use sriracha mayonnaise (just mayo with a tsp or so of sriracha hot sauce mixed in) to help to glue the cauliflower to the nori (sheet of toasted seaweed.)

Cauliflower florets in the food processor.

Cauliflower florets in the food processor.

Cauliflower "rice" after processing for a few minutes.

Cauliflower “rice” after processing for a few minutes.

 

Cooling cauliflower "rice" on a plate after gently sauteing for a few minutes in coconut oil and adding rice vinegar

Cooling cauliflower “rice” on a plate after gently sauteing for a few minutes in coconut oil and adding rice vinegar

 

Yellowfin tuna briefly seared after being dipped in egg and sesame seeds

Yellowfin tuna briefly seared after being dipped in egg and sesame seeds. (Use caution when eating raw or under-cooked seafood. I have never had a problem consuming it rare or raw, but everyone is different.) We have also used salmon, scallops, shrimp, roast beef and anything else we have on hand! Not a bad way to make use of leftovers.

 

Plate of sliced veggies to fill the rolls

Plate of sliced veggies to fill the rolls; cucumber, avocado, green onions and cream cheese. You can use just about any ingredients that you enjoy! Our selection is usually more colorful than this, but I didn’t use carrots due to carbs and didn’t have sashimi salmon or roe on hand to brighten things up.

 

Sheet of nori (seaweed) laid out on a rolling mat.

Sheet of nori (seaweed) laid out on a rolling mat. Sometimes it is helpful to place a sheet of plastic wrap between the nori and the mat to prevent sticking when using rice, but it didn’t seem necessary with the cauliflower rice.

 

Cauliflower rice spread out on the nori with sriracha mayonnaise holding it in place.

Cauliflower rice spread out on the nori with sriracha mayonnaise holding it in place.

Sushi fillings laid out and ready to roll.

Sushi fillings laid out and ready to roll.

Cauliflower sushi with tamari, wasabi and sriracha mayonnaise.

Cauliflower sushi with tamari, wasabi and sriracha mayonnaise.

 

 

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13 responses to “Cauliflower “Rice” Sushi {Low Carb, Primal, Grain-free, Gluten-free}

  1. johnnysenough hepburn

    August 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Have to admit I’m not a huge fan of sushi. And nervous of eating raw fish/seafood. Love smoked salmon, which is one of my favourites. And intrigued by the cauliflower rice. Would those flavours mar or marry? Hmm, maybe smoked trout would be better.

     
  2. Gretchen without Grain

    August 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I think smoked salmon or trout would be great, and I will use it in the future as we love it as well. I adore raw seafood, but there’s no reason to use raw if you prefer having it cooked. I have had both at good sushi bars. The cauliflower was soooo neutral that I think you could pair it with just about anything (which surprised me.) The flavor of the nori and fillings were definitely center stage.

     
  3. WheatMelly

    October 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Love your blog! Also just read wheat belly (onto week 2) and having been vegan for 3 years, am finding a crossroad. I have begun to allow cheese, but can’t even fathom the idea of meat. Eugh or poultry. Fish is okay, but I’m verrrrry picky now. Everything is so fatty. I love veggies!

    I don’t usually leave comments but I though I’d tell you my method for cauliflower rice that doesn’t require a food processor. It’s a bit messy if you’re clumsy (ahem, like me) but works wonderfully. Simply take the whole head of cauliflower to the largest holes on your average cheese grater (slowly or your kitchen will be full of snow).

    Also, fill a spray bottle with coconut oil and try to coat each “grain of rice” as you sauté. Love making this for use with curries and sautéing with cumin/coriander seeds. Adding coconut flakes or sliced almonds is also awesome.

     
    • Gretchen without Grain

      October 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I hope that you are doing well with WB, I know it can be more challenging when you don’t eat meat. Eating more fat can even be challenging for those of us that do eat meat, as we’ve all been brainwashed for so long that fat is a bad thing… but I have fallen in love with coconut oil!

      Good suggestion for the cauli-rice! I use my food processor more now with this lifestyle than I ever have, but for those who don’t have one yet, your method is a great option. I am amazed at how versatile cauliflower is, it’s become one of my favorite veggies! Have a great day, and please stop by again!

      ~ Gretchen

       
      • Denise

        March 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        Gretchen that you so much for your recipe and techinique. I’m a diebtic and carb are more down fall have been really trying hard to find subsitutes for thos carbs that allow me some of the same type foods. I do cauliflower rice for pizza crust and most recipes that call for rice. I find my salad shooter is the best was to rice the cauliflower. I notice you and the others are using coconut oil is there another oil that can be used in its place my husband has an allergy to coconut.

         
      • Gretchen without Grain

        March 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

        Denise~ Glad that you are finding the recipe to be helpful! Cauliflower has ended up being a serious chameleon in my kitchen, that’s for sure… so many uses. Other than coconut oil, you can use olive oil and butter. Depending on the recipe, I will also use bacon fat. Working around food sensitivities can take some effort, but the result is being able to actually ENJOY real food without the health consequences. Very worth the effort! ~Gretchen

         
  4. Jacqui

    March 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I have just found your site, after reading ‘Wheat Belly’, and love this brilliant idea :) Our family take-away has always been Japanese, sushi, nori rolls & sashimi and I have played around with the kids making up nori rolls, lots of fun, and so healthy……. Until my dietary enlightenment ! Now I have a great alternative. Thank you

     
    • Gretchen without Grain

      March 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Hi Jacqui~ I’m glad that this idea will help you! I wish I could get my son to eat the nori, but the idea of seaweed is repulsive to him, ha. It really is a great activity, gathering and prepping the ingredients and making up the rolls. You are quite welcome! ~Gretchen

       
  5. thevial82

    March 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I’m so happy to have found you’re blog! I’m a type 1 diabetic and am trying to reduce carbs and gluten. One of the things I truly miss is sushi. With this recipe I can finally enjoy it again! Thank you ever so much for sharing this!

     
    • Gretchen without Grain

      March 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I’m happy that this was helpful to you! There are so many really good reasons to reduce carbs and gluten, but there are definitely some favorite foods that would be missed if not for being creative and adjusting the recipes! It’s not quite the same as rice, but it sure does have a similar spirit and the combination of flavors from the other ingredients make it worthwhile. I hope you enjoy this :) ~Gretchen

       

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