So many of our favorite food bloggers are finally publishing cookbooks. Sarah Britton’s debut cookbook, My New Roots, has finally hit our desks – and we can’t take our eyes off of it! Sarah has created a cookbook as inspiring and beautiful as her much adored blog; each page adorned with flawless photography and plant-based recipes that could quickly turn any carnivore into a leafy green enthusiast. It’s hard to know where to begin with recipes like blistered tomato and spinach scramble, crushed spring peas with mint, dandelion greens with ghee-poached radishes and smoked salt, and a to-die-for quinoa risotto with scallions and arugula. But because we are heading into spring (and so fond of Japanese food), we’re starting with her inventive take on sushi. With “rice” made from sunflower seeds and parsley root, this black kale roll is completely grain-free, but bursting with taste. Grab your chopsticks, break out the green tea, and get rolling…
As much as I love sushi, my favorite part is undoubtedly what’s inside the rolls – but the white rice I could live without. So I cut out the rice altogether and created an all-vegetable sushi roll that is just as satisfying but more nutritious. Minced parsley root and sunflower seeds take the place of the grain here; it holds together just like sticky rice, and even looks the part! Rolled around some of my favorite root veggies, this totally raw meal will have you feeling super-vibrant in any season. The white miso ginger sauce is completely divine and a beautiful complement to the sushi. It’s warming, bright and spicy – delicious on noodles, roasted vegetables and salads, too.
Nori is probably the most widely eaten and recognizable sea vegetable in North America because of our love affair with sushi. It has a very mild, nutty, salty-sweet thing going on, so it is a versatile ocean vegetable that doesn’t overpower the flavor of soups, salads, grains or even popcorn. Nori has the highest protein content of the sea vegetable family, a whopping 28% (that’s even more than sunflower seeds or lentils!). It contains very high amounts of calcium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper. Compared to other seaweeds, it also tops the list when it comes to vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, as well as A, C and E.
Tips and Tricks for Making Successful Sushi
Cut all the vegetables to a consistent width so you don’t create a bulge in the roll – this can encourage the nori to split.
Be careful not to overstuff the roll. It is not a burrito.
Select a maximum of four or five fillings per roll. You want to allow each ingredient to shine – with too many elements, the flavors of the individual fillings become muddled.
Moisten your hands as you assemble the rolls, especially when spreading rice over the nori. Keep a small bowl of lukewarm water next to where you are working so that you can continually dip your hands as needed. You can also use this water to moisten the bare far edge of the nori sheet to create a seal so the roll stays closed.
Use a very sharp knife. This is where ceramic knives really come in handy! Of course, a sharp metal knife is totally fine – just make sure it has a razor edge, or you’ll end up with a big, smashed-up mess.
It is important to wipe the blade of the knife clean with a damp cloth after every single slice of the roll.
Grain-Free Black Kale Sushi Rolls with White Miso Ginger Sauce
Makes 4 to 5 rolls, 25 to 30 pieces
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1⁄2 Tbsp plus 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt, more if desired
4 parsley roots (1 pound), parsnips or cauliflower could also work
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 or 5 sheets nori
5 to 10 leaves black kale or other dark leafy green, tough ribs removed, leaves cut into thin strips
1 small beet cut into long, thin sticks
2 medium carrots cut into long, thin sticks
3 scallions, white and green parts cut into long, thin sticks
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced into long, thin strips
black or white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
white miso ginger sauce (recipe follows)
1 . Make the “rice”: Combine the sunflower seeds, 1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt, and 2 cups of water in a small bowl, and soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well.
2 . Put the sunflower seeds in a food processor and pulse to finely chop – do not over-process or you’ll end up with sunflower butter! Transfer the sunflower seeds to a large bowl. Do not clean the food processor.
3 . Peel and roughly chop the parsley root. Put it in the food processor, along with the lemon juice and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Pulse to mince the root into “grains” about the size of rice. Add it to the bowl of sunflower seeds and fold to combine. Season with more salt if desired.
4 . Put a sushi mat (or a piece of plastic wrap) on a clean cutting board with the slats running horizontally. Put a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the mat, 3⁄4 inch from the edge closest to you. Using damp hands, spread a thin layer of the “rice” evenly over the nori sheet, leaving a 1 1⁄4–inch-wide border along the edge farthest from you. Arrange about one-fifth of the kale, beet, carrot, scallions, and avocado strips horizontally across the center of the rice, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5 . Use your thumbs and forefingers to pick up the edge of the mat closest to you. Use your other fingers to hold the filling while you roll the mat over to enclose it. Gently pull the mat as you go to create a firm roll.
6 . Continue rolling until all the “rice” is covered with the nori and you have a neat roll. Shape your hands around the mat to gently tighten the roll. Use a wet sharp knife to cut the roll into 5 or 6 pieces.
7. Repeat the process, using up all the ingredients. Arrange the sushi on a serving platter and serve with the white miso ginger sauce.
White Miso Ginger Sauce
makes about 1⁄2 cup
1⁄4 cup white miso
1⁄2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp cold-pressed sesame oil or olive oil
1 Tbps minced fresh ginger
1⁄2 tsp pure maple syrup
1. Combine the miso, vinegar, oil, ginger and maple syrup in a small bowl.
2. Whisk to blend.
3. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Reprinted from My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season. Copyright © 2015 by Sarah Britton. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC