Marks Daily Apple
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13 Feb

Sushi with a Twist

SushiWhile most people eat sushi for a meal, we think it also makes a great snack. Bite-sized portions packed with protein and veggies, rolled up in one of the most nutrient-rich foods around, seaweed. What could be a better between-meal snack than that?

We know what you’re thinking…what about the rice? Well, what about it? Rice isn’t known for its bold flavor. When you taste sushi without rice you’re going to find that the sushi doesn’t taste much different. Rice, however, is great filler and glue, which is the main reason it’s used in sushi rolls. Sushi rolls without rice don’t always hold together quite as well, but there are a few solutions for this. One is to use a sushi mat and take care to roll the sushi slowly and tightly. Two, add something besides rice as filler, like egg. Whisk one egg, fry it into a thin circle, and use it as the first layer in your roll. Third, and probably most importantly, get over the idea that pieces of sushi must be perfectly round, perfectly secure little bundles. Even if the sushi roll is a little loose, it tastes just the same.

Reader Marissa Davidson makes rice-less sushi as a snack all the time, and then she puts yet another twist on the recipe by using thinly sliced roast beef instead of raw fish. The rich flavor of beef paired with the nori seaweed creates that elusive and thrilling flavor combination known as umami. For the same affect, you can also try thin slices of seared flank steak. Raw fish, of course, is always an option as long as your seafood is fresh.

As for other fillings, use any vegetables you like. Avocado, cucumber and carrot are most typical, but consider greens like watercress or spinach to add flavor and nutrients. Take Marissa’s lead and be creative – and let us know what you come up with!


Sushi Ingredients

  • Sheets of nori seaweed
  • 1/4 lb (or more) of favorite sliced meat or fish
  • Avocado
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Thinly sliced carrots
  • Any other veggies of choice


Lay the nori shiny side down on a sushi mat. Place sliced meat on top of the nori. (If you’re using an egg, lay it down first).

Sushi with Egg

Spread avocado over meat in a thin layer or lay slices lengthwise about an inch from the bottom of the nori. Add a small pile of thinly sliced veggies at the bottom of the nori, too.

Sushi Roll

Fold the front edge of the nori over the toppings. After each fold, squeeze the roll to secure it tightly. Slice the roll into bite-sized pieces.


You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Did them, also experimented by substituting rice with grated carrot, nnnice! 😛

    If you care to have a look:

    And cheers for the “sushi” term corrections as well as the ideas and tips! Just noticed them 😀

    Meri wrote on February 21st, 2010
  2. I wrap ALL of my food in Nori!!!! It’s wonderful! For instance this evening I had Eel wraps… with spaghetti squash, spinach, green beans & eel… and yesterday I had spinach & salmon belly!

    GiGi wrote on February 26th, 2010
    • Those eel wraps sound awesome. I may have to go to the korean grocer and get some unagi this week after reading that meal idea.

      RyanBs wrote on September 27th, 2010
  3. The authoritative answer, curiously…
    It not so.
    Leave me alone!
    Earlier I thought differently, many thanks for the information.
    Just that is necessary. Together we can come to a right answer. I am assured.

    Androidich wrote on May 3rd, 2010
  4. Believe me you do not want your food to be umami because that means it’s been doused in MSG and other chemical flavor enhancers. That’s the origins of the term. A Tokyo study named the flavor achieved by using these chemicals “umami” (fifth flavor) although many still argue that it’s just an enhanced version of the original 4 flavors.

    Chris wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • I believe he’s referring to umami as a concept of mouth and stomach indulgence, which is how most people I’ve dealt with in the past have treated it. Seeing as we’re not adding Aji-no-Moto or any specific flavor agents in the recipe, I’d say any umami that arises is the good kind!

      RyanBs wrote on September 27th, 2010
  5. That looks SOOO yummy!! I am going through some Carb withdrawals right now (just started the 30 day Challenge!) and I am CRAVING sushi (rice & fish) BIG TIME!! But… I will not give in!! Must eat like Grok!

    Marina wrote on September 9th, 2010
  6. Another good sticking-things-together layer (like Mark used the egg pancake above) is mashed up avocado.

    Robin Beers wrote on December 2nd, 2010
  7. I know this is an old post but what the hell. I just made these the other night, and OH MY GOD! They are amazing! I don’t own a sushi mat so I used a piece of wax papper, worked pretty well.

    Dharma_Punk wrote on April 7th, 2011
  8. I had this for dinner tonight! What a wonderful sushi recipe! I misread the instructions and messed up while filling my roll, but after I got it right, what a mouthgasm!

    This is my second day on the Primal Blueprint (although I’m giving myself time to “test the waters” before I go completely primal), and this definitely gives me incentive to keep going! Will definitely try more recipes in the future!

    Thanks Mark!

    Aly wrote on May 16th, 2011
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  10. I like the egg idea, but I am going to try chopping up cooked egg white to rice sized pieces and mixing it with paleo friendly mayo made with vinegar. The egg whites have very little flavor, and the vinegar in the mayo will mimick the vinegared rice flavor. A lot of sushi rolls include mayo anyway, though I’m not sure how traditional it is!

    Ashley wrote on February 28th, 2012
  11. Just tried this with egg, spring lettuce, julienne green peppers and some roe (the only ingredients I had in my fridge). It was excellent! For me, the flavor in sushi is from the wasabi, ginger, soy sauce, and nori. I loved it!

    Amber wrote on March 31st, 2012
  12. Oh, dear, I am realizing that this post to which I’m responding is 4 years old! I have for years asked various sushi bar people to make riceless nori rolls for me. Now I make my own, sooooo simple and I have dispensed with the rolling mat as well: Lay a roasted nori sheet on your plate. On one end smear some salted plum, little avocado chunks, a few slender slices of red pepper and cucumber, some gently cooked fatty salmon and a few pieces of good quality pickled ginger. Roll it up and eat it. It’s beautiful! It’s delicious! And simple! Enjoy!

    Suzanne wrote on March 28th, 2014
  13. Your writing continues to amaze me :)

    Queenie Burdi wrote on February 17th, 2015

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