• Sunflower Seed Sushi

    by Ellen on May 16, 2009 · 14 comments

    Open-minded. You have to be open-minded when you adopt a gluten free diet. Really, the sky’s the limit.

    I’ve cooked and eaten food that I probably wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole before 3 1/2 years ago. But my horizons have definitely expanded.

    For example, take sushi rolls. When we ate at Japanese restaurants pre-Celiac, I used to routinely order California Rolls. No more. First of all, the fake crab has wheat in it. Second, I’ve adopted an almost complete plant-based diet.

    That’s where today’s post comes in. If there was such a thing, the picture above could pass for a tuna fish salad sushi roll, don’t you think?

    Nope, it’s not tuna. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed sunflower seeds, you’re right.

    The recipe sat in my “to try” file for months. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around a sushi roll with sunflower seeds in it. It sounded weird and didn’t appeal at all.

    But then I remembered the Chickpea Tastes-Like-Tuna salad I made a few months ago. That has since become a staple in our house. Who would have ever thought you could get chickpeas to sub for tuna? Ok, it’s not a perfect match, but it’s damn close. So I thought, sunflower seeds? Why not? I’ll try it.

    Yum. That’s all I can say. Yum. Yum.

    If you have a moment, pop over to The Raw Food Divas website. It is a treasure trove of information. Lots of ideas. Lots of recipes. I found inspiration for today’s sushi recipe on their Health In High Heels blog. I made some adjustments to it, decreasing the onions, using little grape tomatoes instead of a whole tomato, adding pickle relish to the mixture, and suggesting some additional optional ingredients.

    Note: I liked my Sunflower Seed Sushi with sauerkraut inside the roll. Peter opted to go without the sauerkraut. Both of us dipped our Sunflower Sushi Rolls into wheat-free tamari. Peter thought it would improve with the addition of cooked sushi rice, but then it wouldn’t be raw any longer.

    One more thing – the nutritional benefits of eating seaweed (yup, nori sheets are made from seaweed) are amazing. Sea vegetables are of full of essential minerals like iodine, vitamin K, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, and calcium. All good stuff.

    Sunflower Seed Sushi
    adapted by Ellen Allard

    1 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (soaked for several hours)
    1/2 c. chopped fresh dill
    1/4 sweet onion
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1 cup grape tomatoes
    ¼ c. pickle relish
    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1/2 – 1 jalapeno, seeded (depends on how spicy you want it)
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp olive oil
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into matchsticks
    1/2 peeled cucumber, chopped into matchsticks
    avocado (optional)
    alfalfa sprouts (optional)
    sauerkraut (optional)
    6 sheets nori (use raw nori if you want this recipe to be completely raw)
    wheat-free tamari (use Bragg’s Amino Acid if you want this recipe to be completely raw)

    Combine the sunflower seeds, dill, onion, celery, tomato, pickle relish, lemon juice, jalapeno, salt, olive oil, and black pepper in a food processor, and pulse chop until evenly chopped, but still slightly chunky.

    Carefully spread a 1 inch stripe of the sunflower seed mixture in a horizontal line about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom of the nori paper, making sure that the mixture covers the nori paper from one side across to the other. Place a couple of bell pepper and cucumber slices on top of the sunflower seed mixture. If desired, add one of the optional ingredients (avocado, sauerkraut, sprouts) being careful not to overload the nori paper. Using a sushi mat, roll the nori paper up and slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

    Dip a piece into wheat-free tamari, pop into your mouth, smile. Bet you can’t eat just one! Isn’t it fun to try new recipes, especially when the results are delicious?!!

    { 14 comments… read them below or add one }

    Ricki May 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I love raw sushi–have never tried it with sunflower seed spread before, so this is on my to-make list, for sure! Thanks. :)


    Alisa - Frugal Foodie May 17, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Now that is an interesting recipe!


    M-Elle May 17, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Wow! This sounds delicious, I’m adding it to my next sushi night line-up. Thanks for the tips for making rice wraps. I’ll have to try that out as this batch of wrappers are not as good as the previous ones. I’m going to be posting a RAW bread recipe that you might like. Also, everything that I post is gluten-free too.

    I can’t wait to try your sushi!!!


    Diane-The Whole Gang May 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Oh I’m going to have to try this. I can’t eat rice either so I’ve made sushi with quinoa but that was cooked. It was the first time I ever tried to make sushi. I could use a lesson in keeping it to stay rolled. Yours looks amazing!


    sandla May 19, 2009 at 1:05 am

    that is an interesting recipe!


    seamaiden May 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Ooh, yum Ellen- this sounds delightful and adventurous. I’ll be sure to try it!



    Ali May 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Ellen – Our friends used to make something like this and bring it over to us. I could not stop eating it! I am excited to try your version. Maybe this weekend. My kids eat nori for a snack nearly every day. My babies started with it around 9 months. Sometimes I find them hiding in t he pantry eating sheet after sheet of nori – not a bad thing!

    -Ali :)


    gfe--gluten free easily May 25, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    How true that is about eating foods now that we would never have eaten before. And, then like you said, we find new totally unexpected favorites. My current unexpected favorite is roasted chickpeas, but I’m sure there will be more in my future. I love sunflower seeds, so that’s a big plus with this recipe. Thanks, Ellen!



    Lisa May 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Wow, I just started my Raw Journey three days ago and this is a must try for me. Thanks for sharing!!!


    Rhonda Jean May 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    This is off topic, so forgive me. Ellen, I took on your idea about gardening mentors and I wondered if you wanted to be included. If so, please let me know so I can team you up.

    Rhonda Jean


    terri June 3, 2009 at 8:38 pm
    Dr. Davon Jacobson, MD June 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    This is really a well laid out website. I like how you have presented your information in excellent detail. You seem to really love your site. Keep up the great work here and please visit by my blog sometime. The url is http://healthy-nutrition-facts.blogspot.com


    Gina June 12, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I remember the tastes-like-tuna salad! This sushi actually sounds good. Thanks for the idea!


    Dazy July 16, 2009 at 3:13 am

    I'm trying this tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!


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