The first time my family tried sushi, my dad excused himself from the table. Fifteen minutes later, he sat back down and took out a hamburger. He looked at all of us and said, “Sushi is good.” It’s hard to believe that ten years later he looks forward to Sunday night sushi at our favorite restaurant every week.
Our “Sushi Sunday” has become a family tradition. As a nutritionist, I can’t complain. Sushi is comprised of fresh vegetables which provide vitamins and minerals, avocado which provides healthy fats, and sometimes fish which is a lean source of protein. The best part of sushi is that it’s very hard to feel grossly full, even if you eat a lot…which we do every week!
The only thing about traditional sushi that isn’t so healthy is that it can contain quite a bit of hidden sugar. Did you know that there is sugar in the rice? In order to make sushi rice, a mixture of sugar and vinegar is added. On top of that, it is traditional to eat sushi with a side of pickled ginger, which, you guessed it, adds additional sugar. Furthermore, white rice is traditionally used which is high on the glycemic index scale. So, in moderation, sushi is great and provides some wonderful nutrition, but it can contain more sugar than expected.
I make my sushi rice with honey instead of refined sugar and it turns out great. Instead of using all white rice, I use a 1:1 ratio of sushi rice to Heirloom forbidden rice. This adds some extra fiber which allows your body to break down the starch more slowly and thus not spike your blood sugar as suddenly. Since forbidden rice is not very sticky, combining it with the sushi rice is necessary for creating a successful sushi roll.
What is forbidden rice?
On the packaging for the forbidden rice, it says that this grain was reserved for the emperors of China and was referred to as “longevity rice”. It also says, “it’s treasured for it’s delicious roasted nutty taste, soft texture, and beautiful deep purple color. I agree, isn’t it absolutely beautiful?!
Where is forbidden rice grown?
Forbidden rice is grown on hundreds of family farms in Heilongjiang, the Black Dragon River region of China’s northeast provinces.
What unique health benefits does it provide?
Forbidden rice is a natural source of antioxidants called anthocyanins-purple pigments found in blueberries and acai-but without the sugar. It’s an excellent source of magnesium, molybdenum and phosphorous. It also contains 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup (dry), which is more than white rice.
Making sushi is easier than you think and it’s so much fun! You just have to practice a few times. Most recipes will tell you that you need a sushi mat. However, I made all the sushi in these pictures without using a sushi mat just to show you that you don’t really need one.
Hopefully this has inspired you to try making sushi. If it doesn’t turn out well, you will have something to laugh at and it will still taste delicious. Who knows, maybe “Sunday Sushi” will become your family tradition as well.
- 1 cup forbidden rice
- 1¾ cups water
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 1½ cups water
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 T sunflower oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Nori sheets
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1-2 carrots, julienned
- 2 avocados
- cilantro, for topping
- Sriracha, for topping
- Tamari for dipping, optional
- Rinse sushi rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Soak the rinsed rice in 1½ cups water for 30 minutes.
- Put sushi rice and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup forbidden rice, 1⅓ cups water, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring honey, vinegar, oil and salt to a simmer in a small sauce pan until the honey dissolves.
- Place forbidden rice and sushi rice into a glass casserole dish or other large container.
- Pour the honey-vinegar mixture over the rice and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. It will seem wet at first but it will absorb as it cools. Just keep stirring.
- Place one sheet of nori on a cutting board. Using slightly wet hands (to prevent sticking), spread a thin layer of rice onto the nori.
- Place a layer of sliced avocado on the edge of the nori closest to you. Next, add the julienned bell pepper, carrots, and cucumber.
- Roll the nori up, being careful to make sure all of the vegetables are included.
- Squeeze the nori as you go to insure that the roll is nice and tight. Alternatively, if you have a sushi mat, you can use it to roll and squeeze the sushi.
- Slice the sushi into 6-8 pieces using a SHARP knife.
- Top with avocado, a dash of sriracha and some fresh cilantro.
- Serve with a side of tamari for dipping, if desired.
If you have leftover veggies and rice or you just get tired of making sushi, you can make a delicious Forbidden Rice Bowl! Serve it with Ginger Dressing or Peanut Butter Tamari Dressing.
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- 3-4 Tbsp. tamari
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. olive or sunflower oil
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 Tbsp chicken or vegetable broth (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a magic bullet or other blending device. Blend until emulsified.
Also, don’t forget to join us for our “30 Day Refined Sugar-Free” Challenge starting January 15th, 2015!! More details coming soon!
As always, we send you LOVE & PEACE without grease!!
XO, The Glisten Girls