Raw Nori Rolls with Cashew Ginger Filling
October 19, 2010

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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?

xo

Categories: Small Plates, Raw

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    58 Comments
  1. Wondered what omake tonight that would be meat-y and filing –but not meat.
    They were incredbile–yum! thanks

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve made the pate about 4 times now and I am amazed at how delicious it is EVERY TIME!

    Thanks!

  3. Hi Gena! I’ve been following your blog for a while, but have only just attempted a recipe of yours for myself…the raw nori rolls, obviously! I’m not a huge cashew fan, so I used mashed avocado and ginger instead, and then put thin slices of tofu in the middle. This all worked well, except that the raw nori was extremely chewy and hard to tear! I’m just wondering if there’s anything you can recommend to change this? Maybe it’s just the brand of nori sheets I bought? Pls let me know!
    Laura 🙂

  4. What a delicious recipe! I cant wait to make this, but mostly the ginger cashew pate! How convenient to use it in sushi instead of a sandwich or something miscombined!

    I’m also curious to go out and try marin, since I have never had it! Is it a vinegar?

  5. Gena, These look ridiculously amazing. If I was home, I would be making them right now. But I’m on a road trip, so they will have to wait until Monday!

    Are there any vegan/raw restaurants in Summit/Springrield/Short Hills New Jersey? Looking for a lunch spot!

  6. wow!! this is amazing! There is a hint of sweetness that is outta this world! I added avocado to the inside and its just, well, totally to die for. I just started trying new raw recipes. I bought some Nori sheets a few days ago and couldn’t think of doing anything like this. Thanks! I’m officially hooked!

  7. I started making delicious nori rolls spread with a thick hummus, with spinach, carrot and cucumber in the middle. I’d thought about branching out to different bean-spreads, but this looks wonderful, I’ll have to try it!

  8. This sounds great. I’ve been afraid to try making sushi on my own because it seemed too complicated to make, but his seems pretty simple. Also, garlic and ginger are two of my favorite flavors, not to mention, I LOVE cashews.

  9. Looks yummy! I usually do slight variations of the same theme (salad veggies and sprouts wrapped in nori, dipped in something like a spicy thai nut sauce) and yours looks like a fun variation to try.

    My local Whole Foods has a surprisingly affordable price for raw nori (about $7 less than online! for a pkg of 50) so if anyone has a Whole Foods nearby, it might be worth checking out…

  10. Ok now i want to make some nori rolls. If anyone needs to know where to get really raw ones, rawvegansource.com has them.

  11. These look wonderful, I’m a fan of just about anything ginger! But I still lack in the nori-rolling skills area. Not sure why it’s so challenging for me, but I’ve been tempted to take a sushi class just for that skill!

  12. My comments go back to Casey’s question about not including the cashew pate. I frequently bring sheets of nori, cut up veggies and some dipping sauce as a lunch. I’ll make a sauce of Nama Shoyu, rice vinegar, a hint of sesame oil plus some seasonings – pepper, ginger…. I just roll the veggies in a sheet of nori, dip in the sauce and enjoy as a long roll. No cutting necessary. If I have something that will work like the pate, then I’ll include that, but you don’t need it. On those days that I have nothing to make for lunch, I can almost always find a decent selection of veggies in my fridge for these rolls.

    The cashew ginger pate does sound great though and I’ll certainly give it a try. No dipping sauce necessary when the flavor is provided by the filling.

  13. Michelle make raw sushi at 105 degrees and ever since than we have always wanted to make some rolls, but have yet to actually do it. Some how other ideas keep popping in our minds to make, but I would really like to make it one day. Yours look amazing!!!!

  14. i do really love raw nori rolls – i made them often last winter (odd winter food, i know). this may inspire me to start experimenting again. i think my favorite included an avocado and coconut puree (kind of like your avo-coco soup, i’d imagine), along with bell pepper and sprouts. very un-asian, but very delicious!

  15. If I want to make raw sushi but don’t want nut schmeer all up in there, would the veggies still stay in the nori sheets?
    Maybe if I blanched collard greens and made wraps with those instead of nori but then it would be an entirely different dish..hmmm.
    What’s like, a less rich schmeer to use?

    • Well, taking away the cashew pate will certainly render these rolls far less delicious. But you can try adhering the veggies with a little mashed avocado, maybe?

  16. Hey Gena…

    I’m not sure where you are buying your rice wine (mirin) from but I have never seen a bottle for $13!!!!! OMG. Too much. Just go down to Chinatown or Koreatown pick up mirin from the brand Kikoman for like $3. Is WF making you pay $13? LLLLAMMME. Honestly. Rice vinegar is cheap. It’s vinegar. Unless you’re getting a special type of it (?)… sorry just had to comment cuz I was like ummm. $13.

    T

  17. YUM those sound delish! I am so eager to use nori, but I am also apprehensive. These just may get me to try it out!

    I just recently made a pilaf of sorts which included chopped cucumber, radishes, carrots, yellow tomatoes, and basil added to soaked wheat berries with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette. So yummy and satisfying.

  18. Yay, I’m always looking for new raw sushi ideas! They are perfect for me to transport to work as a quick lunch. I usually use the turnip-pine nut sushi “rice” from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials and pile in cucumber and avocado. Yesterday I actually rolled up some roasted kabocha in nori – it was like dessert sushi!

  19. I am all about the nori rolls. I love them with just about any sauce/dip and veggies. I like to call them sandwich sushi. 🙂

  20. very creative! And i love all of the filling variations in the comments. Does anybody have any idea where I can find un-toasted nori? I have been trying to find it forever, to no avail.

  21. I have a package of nori in my cupboard. It’s been there a year. Another fear of mine. And those kelp noodles? Yeah, they are still unopened in my fridge. Oops.

  22. I love the filling ideas that others have posted, and I’ve never tried to make my own rolls, but now I really want to!

    Now Gena, you have to tell us, if you’re not a copyeditor (conveniEnce! 😉 ), then what kind of editor ARE you? All this time I thought you were a copyeditor!

    • Molly,

      I’m an acquiring editor. This means that I buy books (from literary agents, usually, or from authors themselves) on behalf of the publishing house I work for, and then see them through the publication process. Some copyediting is of course involved, but the idea is for me to shape the books in a more macroscopic way — structure, themes, polemic, etc. After I take a crack at them, a copyeditor goes through the text several times.

      G

      • I have mega respect for editors of both varieties. English may be the easiest language to learn, but it’s the hardest to write (well). If you don’t have an “ear” for it, the Chicago Manual will get you nowhere. To shape a raw manuscript into something publication-worthy without superimposing one’s own “voice” ain’t easy. You have to walk a very fine line – on one hand, you need to be confident enough to “fix” things but humble enough to refrain from rewriting. Not a job I could do.

  23. “a typo that’s pretty cute?”–yes you defi get brownie points for that. Which I never noticed. Normally readers call me out on the most benign things. Like the missed the 99% of the post that I just spent over an hour (or more!) creating but 10 of them write in the first 3 mins the post is live that such and such is not truly raw or whatever. So yes, your type is a cute little flower of a typo 🙂

    Raw pate looks divine! Surprised to see you put garlic in it b/c I know you’re not normally a huge fan of raw garlic or onions but I can see where it works, and is very authentic tasting.

    It almost reminds me of the looks of like a salmon & cream cheese roll..just the white visual…and god, your rolls look fantastic!

    I dont make nori rolls as much as I make spring rolls w/ rice paper. I am not the hugest nori fan, but the rice paper ones are more my speed….But that’s not to say I don’t love me some sushi (nori) rolls. Can I buy you some saki with your homemade rolls? 🙂 They look like restaurant quality!!

    🙂

  24. Oh YUM! I always love raw nori and anything with ginger so these look divine to me! I make a similar filling but using avocado instead of cashews…delish!!

  25. I’ve made regular veggie sushi many times – it is an ordeal but totally worth it. I would love to give these a try. The very few times I’ve tried making raw sushi I’ve pretty much failed.

  26. I love love love nori rolls – whether a raw version or sushi with brown rice – either are wonderful.

    Gena, I have a question for you. Like you, I have my tried and true favorites and while I vary my diet, there are things I eat the majority of the days in a given week year-round (kale, avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, spinach, chia seeds, raw cacao, almond milk). My ND has been encouraging me to rotate my foods as much as possible (to try to help with various GI problems mainly, and as an insurance policy against developing more food intolerances) and I have to admit the thought of a 3 days without kale seems interminable. The rotation plan she recommends is 1 day on, then 3 days off, i.e. if I eat kale on Monday, then there’s no kale until Friday. It sounds like you do not need to rotate your foods, but do you have any suggestions on food rotation. It feels like some awful logic game, because there’s the food rotation system but also the fact I hit the farmer’s market on Sunday’s and stock up on all greens then and, let’s face it, kale lasts the longest. I also can only go to the grocery store on weekends. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Hey Valerie,

      We can add this one to the loooong list of ways in which I tend to disagree with NDs. I’m just not a big believer in the necessity of food rotation, unless you are quite literally eating the same thing every. single. day. Perhaps people who go NUTS with gluten and soy might start to encourage sensitivities, but I think you have to really work hard at it for it to happen (at least, for it to happen because of eating habits). It’s fine to eat healthful foods (grains, beans, vegetables) in similar ways quite often. This one day on, three days off business strikes me as pretty silly. Obviously, if someone’s eating the same thing all the time, and it’s junk food, he or she will have problems, but I really don’t think that kale and avocados on a regular basis are gonna do it.

      G

      • Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I did some reading and looked at my diet (now versus a year ago versus two years ago) and I am coming to a similar conclusion as you said – i.e. it’s one thing to eat the same healthful foods often, but a whole other thing to do the one day on, three days off thing strictly. That said, there are some things that I don’t just eat a majority of the time – btu more like every single day, so I taking this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons a bit. I did actually rotate my greens more this week and while I am skeptical of the whole food rotating thing, I do admit my tummy felt better and, most importantly, it infused a little more fun into my eating,which I sorely needed. Thank you again so much for replying 🙂

  27. These look amazing! I love Ani Phyo’s ginger almond nori rolls. I will definitely be trying these soon.

  28. I love making nori rolls! I often prepare a whole bunch of ingredients (different dips such as hummus, guacamole, carrot-parsnip pate, different chopped veggies such as cucumbers, sprouts, carrots, peppers, sundried tomatoes, greens) and let my guests make their own rolls! It makes for a fun meal.

    Another great tip is to lay a fresh collard leaf on the nori to make a double layer roll. The moist collard softens the nori…it’s awesome!

  29. Looks amazing, I would SO love to try some of your nori-cashew-ginger rolls!

    Now if I can just get me some Nori and efficient sushi making skills…. 🙂