I can’t lie to you. Dealing with a gluten-free and top 8 allergen free diet plus some can be really tough. Gluten-free doesn’t even make me blink, but you start talking soy-free, egg-free, and even rice-free (my latest effort for Baby Yum), and some key dishes start getting to be a real challenge. Take sushi. There is nothing I love more than an avocado sushi roll, dipped in gluten-free soy sauce. But now both the sushi rice and the soy sauce are (temporarily) off the menu, what is a Japanese-food-loving girl to do? Get serious about thinking outside the box! I’ve been playing with the idea of a quinoa based sushi “rice” for a while now, but the soy sauce had me stumped. Usually I would sprinkle the sushi with sesame seeds and salt for a good soy sauce substitute for my soy-free friends… but right now I’m avoiding sesame seeds! Luckily I was in my local Cupertino Whole Foods the other day and found a miracle staring me right in the face- a bottle of gluten-free and soy-free soy sauce! This miracle potion is called Coconut Secret Raw Amino Acids and is compatible with a gluten-free as well as a raw foods diet. The price tag, unfortunately, is steep. In fact, I think I bought it in a delirious haze of joy and didn’t notice the price until later, at which point I gulped and felt (some) buyers remorse. But this stuff is so awesome and works perfectly in Japanese and Chinese recipes as a straight substitute for soy sauce that I didn’t feel bad for long. And it was the perfect partner to my quinoa sushi rolls! The week I made this, my father was visiting, and it passed the glutenoid test with flying colors. It’s not quite vegetarian sushi without rice, but this quinoa sushi satisfied my sushi craving nicely, and is a fun and new way to use a very healthful “grain.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
*If you don’t have nori you can make a chirashi “zushi” by sprinkling the filling over a nice bowl of the seasoned quinoa. Quick and easy, especially for leftover quinoa!
Gluten free Rice Free Quinoa Vegetarian Sushi Recipe
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
2 green onions, quartered horizontally
Unseasoned nori sheets
*A large recipe- you will have enough leftover quinoa for several servings of quinoa “chirashi” with vegetables sprinkled on top, unless you are cooking for a large group very hungry for “sushi” rolls.
Toast quinoa in a skillet on medium low, stirring to prevent burning. When quinoa is nicely toasted, move to a fine wire strainer and rinse. Pour into pan with water and bring to boil. Cover and lower heat and leave for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan on low and let the sugar and salt dissolve into the liquid.
Put your quinoa in a large, glass bowl and drizzle your sushi vinegar mixture over the quinoa. Fold it in for even distribution. Once quinoa has cooled, you can begin to make your sushi.
To prepare your sushi, get your nori sheet and place on a bamboo rolling mat. Cover the entire sheet with quinoa “sushi-rice” except for a horizontal strip at the bottom. Choose a line about 1 or two inches above the bare strip of nori and create a strip on top of the quinoa of filling ingredients. Make sure a small strip or two of green onions,blanched, thin carrot and a slice of avocado will be in every bite. Gently roll your nori together to form a cylinder and moisten the bare nori strip with water. Seal together and let rest while you make your desired number of sushi rolls.
When ready to serve, gently slice cylinders into bite size rolls. You may want to cut a wider roll at the ends where the quinoa mixture is the loosest.
Serve on a plate. If allergies don’t prohibit it, you can sprinkle the rolls with sesame seeds, but it is not necessary.
Enjoy with your favorite wheat-free soy sauce or one of the new soy-free sauces on the market like Coconut Secret’s Raw Coconut Aminos. (Yummy!)