IMG_3602 (500x333)

Thanks for the feedback to my sweet potato and kidney bean chili! Yes, I’m aware that I spelled “flour” as “flower.” Hope I get some redemptive points for making a typo that’s pretty cute? I never claimed to be a copyeditor 😉

At this point in my blogging career, there are very few favorite recipes I haven’t shared with you. If there’s a dish I make more than once in a while, chances are you’ve seen it. (I mean, how many raw kale salads have you all been subjected to?) I realized tonight, though, that there’s one raw favorite of mine that you guys haven’t seen: raw nori rolls. True, I’ve shown you one version of these (the carrot avocado rolls I posted on Cory’s blog), but they weren’t my standard recipe, and it was a while ago. My favorite raw nori rolls – the ones I eat most often – have never seen the light of publication, and it’s time to change that.

Now, I know that making raw nori rolls may sound complex, but believe me when I say they’re anything but. Compared to regular sushi rolling, in fact, they’re a breeze! No praying for perfectly sticky rice, no rolling mats, no hoping your grocery budget can withstand the $13 bottle of mirin (Pause: good lord, do I love mirin. Why must it be so expensive?!). Rolling raw sushi—at least if you use a nut pate as your main filling—is quick, easy, and pretty stable. To do it, you’ll simply need:

  1. Sheets of untoasted nori (not always easy to find, so if all you do find is toasted, that’s OK)
  2. Veggie fillings, sliced long and thin (I like cucumber, bell pepper, and carrot. Sprouts are also great!)
  3. A nut pate of your choosing. My favorite nut pate for sushi-making is a cashew-ginger pate that never fails, and which I’ll share in a moment.

When you’re ready to assemble, you’ll simply spread each nori sheet thick with the nut pate, gingerly pile on some toppings, and wrap it up. If you want to get fancy at the end and seal the edge with water, you can, but guess what? Life will go on if you don’t.

The secret to nori rolls as simple as this, of course, is a tasty nut pate. Naturally, you should use any one that you really like, but I do recommend thinking about a recipe that includes some spices that are vaguely Asian—ginger, nama shoyu, etc. If you like, give this nut pate a try. I think you’ll love it!

Cashew Ginger Pate (makes about 1 1/4 cups)

8 oz cashews
1/2 cup water
2-3 tbsp lemon juice (I like a ton of lemon, but 2 tbsp is probably wise for normal people)
1 inch knob ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp nama shoyu, Bragg’s, or tamari
1 tbsp mellow white miso

1) Place cashews in a food processor and process till they’re a meal. With motor of the machine running, add the water in a stream, and then add the lemon juice. Stop the machine and check the texture: you want it very spreadable, but not so loose as to resemble a sauce. If you need more water, go ahead and add.

2) Add the remaining ingredients and process till everything is well incorporated. Set aside.

To assemble the sushi, you simply will:

1) Place one sheet of nori horizontally on a clean surface. Spread the bottom half with 1/4 cup nut pate. In the center of that, line your chopped veggies horizontally, like so:

IMG_3600 (500x333)

2) Starting from the bottom edge, roll the nori sheet up. When it’s almost rolled, spread a little water on the free edge of nori at the top; this will help it stick.

3) Very carefully and with a clean, sharp knife, cut the roll into sushi pieces. Serve!

They ought to look a tiny bit messy (this means you put enough pate!) but at least quasi-professional grade:

IMG_3601 (500x333)

IMG_3603 (500x333)

And they ought to taste rich, creamy, and totally divine.

Since I couldn’t make this post all about new things, I served them with my usual mountain of kale:

IMG_3604 (500x333)

A perfect dinner.

If you’ve been looking for raw entrees and finding yourself thinking “what can I make for dinner that’s raw and not a salad?” I really encourage you to explore nori rolls. They, like my favorite raw entrees (soups, zucchini pastas) are flexible, forgiving, and easy to prepare. I’ve spent the last few nights cooking cooking, as opposed to uncooking, and while I’ve loved every moment of it, it felt incredible to make a meal tonight that didn’t involve so much as one degree of heat. These rolls reminded me of why I love raw foods as much as I do: conveniance, versatility, and clean flavors.

Any raw nori experts in the audience already? If so, what do you love to make?