Vegetarian Beet and Beet Green Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe

October 3rd, 2011 yum Posted in Japanese, Rice, Soy Free, beets 4 Comments »

The DH and I became addicted to Onigiri, or Japanese Rice Balls, when we lived in Japan. You could go into any convenience store at any time of night and pick up a delicious triangle of rice, usually wrapped in Nori Seaweed, with a wide variety of fillings. I liked umeboshi plum as a filling, and the DH’s favorite was tuna mayonnaise. Unfortunately I found that you did have to be careful with the ingredients, as many major chains brushed the nori with shoyu soy sauce, which contains wheat. I found out which companies had flavors without wheat and stuck to those, but I also started making them at home. The DH’s favorite is still probably tuna mayonnaise, but the other night I tried some fusion-type vegetable fillings from our garden and he loved it. We have been growing some gorgeous beets and multi-colored carrots in our garden. We aren’t swimming in them like we were drowning in pattypan squash, but there are enough to have beets and carrots for dinner whenever we want them. I was making Toddler Yum and the DH their favorite tuna-mayo onigiri and decided to make myself some fun veggie fillings with both parts of the beet- the beetroot and the beet greens! Somehow cheese seemed like just the right accompaniment for the beet root, and balsamic vinegar is a natural when talking beet-cheese salads. And I was reminded of one of my favorite vegan onigiri fillings, the spinach-tahini filling, that I made some time ago, so I decided to make an easy twist on the recipe and add some roasted carrot for texture. Both were smashing successes, and ever so tasty. If you have any leftover filling, they make great veggie side dishes too. Hope you enjoy!

Beet Cheese Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

2 medium sized beets or 3 small beets, cooked, peeled and diced small
Small amount of your favorite white, salty cheese (I used Laughing Cow), diced into the same size cubes as the beets
dash Balsamic Vinegar (I used a gourmet cherry balsamic but any you like is fine)

large grain salt like kosher or flaked
freshly grated black pepper

Directions
Combine your diced beets and diced cheese in a small bowl. Splash with balsamic vinegar and mix to evenly distribute. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches “tall”. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your beet-cheese filling in the center of the triangle. Try to drain off any excess liquid (vinegar) before adding the beets so you don’t get soggy rice balls. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

Beet Green Tahini Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

Tahini from middle-eastern market (in a glass jar)
water
1/2 tsp or more lime juice, or apple cider vinegar
drizzle of agave nectar or simple sugar syrup (I bet you could make this from coconut sugar if desired!)
salt

beet greens from 3 small beets or 2 medium beets, boiled, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tbsp. leftover diced roasted Carrot fries [They were cut into thin "french fries", placed on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and roasted at 450 until you have yummy caramelized "fries" (turning as needed)]

Large grain salt
sesame seeds, preferably toasted, brown variety (I was out so had to use black)

Directions
Squeeze out any additional moisture from your beet greens and chop them finely. Pour 1/4 cup (or more) tahini into a small bowl. Add water to thin slighly, and whisk together. Add your lime juice and agave nectar and combine. Taste, and adjust sweetness-sour ratio to your preference. Add salt to taste. Add your beet greens and diced roasted carrot mix together.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches tall. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your tahini-beet green filling in the center of the triangle. If your tahini dressing is very runny, drain some off before adding it to the rice. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with large grain salt and sesame seeds. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

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Gluten-free Soy-free Vegan Japanese Quinoa Salad Recipe

July 25th, 2010 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Japanese, Nut Free, Quinoa, Rice Free, Salad, Salad Dressing, Soy Free, Vegan 5 Comments »


The other day I was thumbing through one of my favorite cooking magazines and came across a recipe for a cold quinoa summer salad, with tomatoes and italian herbs. It sounded lovely, but somehow I just wasn’t in the mood for an Italian quinoa salad. Instead, I was in the mood for something distinctly more… Japanese. It may have been because earlier that day I’d gone with my Father to a Japanese restaurant and watched him eat a tasty bento while I sipped on a Jamba Juice (all fruit, no dairy, no soy, bless them). But whatever the reason, I wanted sesame in the saltiest, most umami way. Thank goodness Baby Yum seems to be doing well with the inclusion of sesame in my diet. I’d excluded it for many long months because sesame is a rising allergen, recognized as one of the top eleven allergens in Canada and other countries where it is a common ingredient. I thought about cold Japanese noodle dishes, popular in the summer, with their sesame infused soy and vinegar sauces. It was a day earmarked for quinoa, and so I thought perhaps I could make a sesame quinoa salad that broke from the Italian mold and ran straight for the island of Japan, fusion style. This lovely and light salad was the result. I think it could give any noodle salad a run for its money, with a good amount more protein and whole grain goodness. I added avocado in a nod to my favorite vegan fusion roll- the avocado roll. Ah, how I love you with rice, avocado. But it turns out, I also love you with quinoa.

For more creative “Japanese” takes on quinoa, try my Quinoa Sushi Roll Recipe

Still looking for the perfect, gluten and soy-free quinoa recipe? Try these.
Quinoa Tahini Mint Salad Recipe
Japanese Inspired Quinoa Recipe
Crockpot Quinoa Recipe
Black Bean and Quinoa Chili Recipe
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash Recipe
Lime Quinoa Salad with Mint Recipe
Quinoa with Summer Vegetables Recipe
Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipe
Quinoa Salad with Yellow Tomatoes Recipe
Quinoa Black Bean and Butternut Squash Recipe
Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe
Big Bowl of Quinoa Recipe
Italian Quinoa Salad Recipe
San Antonio Quinoa Recipe
Quinoa Parsley and Pepper Salad Recipe

*I use Coconut Secret for my soy-free gluten-free un-soy sauce.

Quinoa Avocado Sesame Chirashi Salad Recipe
Ingredients
Serving of Cooked Quinoa
1/2 fresh avocado, cubed
Black sesame seeds

Dressing:
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp. agave or simple syrup
2 tsp. coconut amino un-soy sauce (or, if soy is ok, a wheat free tamari like San-J Low sodium)
2 tbsp. vinegar (you can use rice, red or white wine)
3 tbsp. canola oil

Directions
Put your cooked quinoa in a bowl and top with avocado to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Drizzle dressing over quinoa. Enjoy!

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