Raw Parsnip Sushi Rice

Raw Parsnip Sushi Rice

I’m here today to talk about an unexpected affinity.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a pretty picky eater. OK, I lie: I’m a very picky eater. Maybe it’s the fact that I love food too much to accept anything less than what I really enjoy; maybe it’s the fact that I write a food blog, and I’ve gotten used to being in the company of people who have really strong feelings about what they eat; maybe it’s the ED history, and maybe it’s just germane to who I am. I was a pretty picky eater as a kid, too (it’s not unheard of for children to refuse meat, but how many kids do you know who refuse to eat fruit?). Whatever the case, when it comes to me and food, I tend to know exactly what I like, and exactly what I don’t.

Except that, if you’d asked me about raw parsnip a few months ago, I’d probably have made a face. This is not to say I’ve never eaten raw parsnip: I sure have. I even made a root vegetable salad featuring it, which I quite enjoyed. But aside from that, I’ve always found the taste of raw parsnip to be…well, weird. Strong, and weird. A lot of raw foodies use parsnip as a raw rice substitute. To that I’ve always said, “I’ll take jicama. Or cauliflower. Thanks.”

Much to my surprise, this all changed when I went to Great Sage recently for dinner, and decided to try their raw nori roll. It used parsnip as a base, but everything I’ve tried at Great Sage has been outstanding so far, so I thought to myself, “why not.” And I’m so glad I did, because the sushi was fantastic. So fantastic, that I vowed I’d have to perfect the art of raw parsnip rice myself. “Perfect” is a big word, but let’s put it this way: this may be the best raw rice I’ve ever made. And parsnips are henceforth going to become grocery staple veggies for me, because I can’t wait to make this again, and again, and again.

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Raw Parsnip Sushi Rice (raw, vegan, gluten free)

Makes 4 nori rolls, or about 2 1/2 cups rice

4-5 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp almond butter (tahini would be lovely, too)
1 tbsp tamari or nama shoyu
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsps apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar would also be great)
Pepper to taste

1) Place parsnip in a food processor and process till it’s quite broken down, but not quite “rice” sized in texture yet.

2) Add remaining ingredients, and then pulse until the mixture does resemble rice.

3) Serve over salad, in lettuce cups, as a side dish to a raw entree, or stuffed into nori rolls. Like so:

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Raw Parsnip Sushi Rice

I followed instructions similar to my instructions for rolling my raw beet and veggie nori rolls from last week, and used filling of cucumber, red pepper, and fresh greens. I think green onion, carrot, and sprouts would be fantastic here, too!!

Raw sushi seems to be my obsession food of the moment. I’m thinking of a colorful new “rice” concoction for next week—can anyone guess what it’ll be?

With that, it’s time for some Orgo lab work and, if I can manage it, a little “me” time. In addition to school, I’m now volunteering at Georgetown University Teaching Hospital in the pediatric ward. It’s tremendously rewarding and wonderful work, which I hope to write more about, but the combination of that, school, and CR is catching up to me! Thank goodness for yoga.

Sending you all love from the ether…


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Categories: Vegan Basics
Ingredients: Rice
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Raw

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  1. Oh Gena, I tried a version of this today and I LOVED it! Never made it into the nori sheets–I had two parsnips and I whirred them in the food processor with about a teaspoon of tahini, AVC, a little powdered ginger and some fresh lime juice and zest. OMG. Plopped half of it on top of a broccoli slaw salad with black beans and went to town. I’m looking forward to the other half tomorrow. Thank you so much! (I first learned to love parsnips from a local farmer who grows them herself and was slicing them up for us all to taste raw. She still grows the best ones around.)

  2. Fantastic! I’m not sure it will make it to dinner because I keep eating large spoonfuls!

  3. I made this for the first time last night and I must say it was delicious and really easy. This is going to be a new staple for me I’m sure. I couldn’t stop eating it!
    Thanks for the awesome recipes Gena : )

  4. Just made the parsnip sushi rice… oh, wow! It is so delicious and quick to make. I’ll definitely be repeating this!

  5. Raw sushi is one of my favorite foods. In fact, I have already made my own recipe of sushi rolls but I’m still looking for more ideas. Nice photos! They look stunning and very yummy! Will try this too.

  6. I got the ingredients to make the sushi rice… so excited! Thanks for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. These look so amazing! I have yet to make raw rice, but this seems like a wonderful recipe! I just have a quick question. What supplements do you take? What brand are they? That would be great if you could get back to me! Thanks so much. Your blog is quite inspiring.

  8. I am so excited about this! I have just been put on a low FODMAPs diet, and parsnip is safe during the elimination phase (while cauliflower is not, and jicama is not available here), so I am most certainly going to implement this idea!

  9. What an interesting idea! I’ve been desperately trying to make parsnips to come out like this AMAZING roasted dish that I had at a dinner party awhile ago, but I just can’t seem to roast them right. I have a feeling there was probably about a gallon of butter in the ones I had, which may be the root of my problem. It never in a million years would have occurred to me to eat them raw, but I feel like I might actually like the flavor better that way.

    Also as a fellow pre-med career-changer, I would love a post about your volunteering experience! I just started volunteering in a pediatric psychiatry department and it’s super fun and interesting so far.

  10. i never thought to eat raw parsnip?! i love it roasted to death for sure with some fennel ๐Ÿ™‚ oh organic chem. i hated it I & II just absolutely the near end of my bio career. i did fine in I but really had to work hard in II. best of luck!

  11. Yay Gena, we have a huge garden full of parsnips and I’m so excited to try this!! I would bring you an armfull if I could!
    Question, in your 3rd paragraph, I think you use jicama a few times when you meant to use the word parsnip
    Good luck with orgo- that is one subject that I actually liked, because it wasn’t straight pointless weird memorization like biochem (and not math-y either).

  12. Those look so good! Vie heard some horror stories about using jicama as rice in sushi rolls. I will have to try this!

  13. How awesome that you’re volunteering! Starting next week I’ll be volunteering in an urban high school as an in-class tutor and I’m really excited.

    This “rice” sounds great. I made nori rolls last week with rice and smashed beans, but I have plenty of nori left over and I think I’m going to give this a try!

  14. I cannot wait to eat this! Oh, but that means I have to make it first–well, it will be worth it! I must say that I love raw sushi, too–I’d say on par with cooked (or maybe a teeny bit more). I’ve only had raw parsnip in salad (courtesy of your recipe, actually!) so can’t wait to try it this way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m actually not a big fan of jicama–there isn’t any in this recipe, is there (you mention it right above the recipe–?).

  15. Oh, Gena. Now I definitely have to get my veggie sushi hat on! These look delicious! I adore the idea of using almond butter in this. It’s totally genius!

  16. I love cooked parsnips–pureed, roasted, whatever–but I can just see how this would be a great ‘rice’–parsnips are drier than jicama or even cauliflower, so I bet the texture is wonderful.

    Excited to hear more about your pediatric volunteering–amazing how much you do with your time!

  17. I have struggled to keep cauliflower rice from falling all over the place. The addition of almond butter to bind it together is great! I have been a parsnip lover since I was a kid (but I can’t say the same for turnip – ick!). I will roast large batches and just have that for dinner. This is a great way to expand my parsnip eating.

  18. In the last paragraph, do you mean parsnip rice, not jicama rice? Because you write about jicama rice and then it’s a parsnip rice recipe? Either way, sounds amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Mmmm…I absolutely adore parsnip! Usually, I roast it to concentrate its sweet flavors, but I also like it shredded raw in salads. But I’ve certainly never seen it used this way! As soon as the parsnips come to market, I’m snatching some up and experimenting with this recipe. Thanks for a bit of root veggie enlightenment!

  20. If you say the parsnip rice is perfect – then I must try it! I think the addition of nut butter is the secret. I’ve played with cashews before to get that buttery rice flavour but never almond butter.

    Thank you Gena.


  21. I love this idea! Jicama is too time-consuming with the draining. Whenever I see your nori rolls I hit my hand to my head and think What am I not making more of these?! I’m going to whip up one of your nut pates this morning and take some rolls to work!

  22. Always use parsnip as my sushi rice base and it’s what I teach in my classes, however it was pointed out to ms by a student that they believed parsnips (raw) could be toxic. I’ve yet to find conclusive evidence of this but you can find some things to this effect online. Each to their own I day.

  23. Wow.. One of my favourite things about this blog is that I see recipes I would NEVER have considered making by hand (like sushi!) and suddenly realise that it’s possible. Can’t wait to give it a go- thanks Gena!

  24. Yum! I am surprised at the lack of avocado in the filling though! My favorite nori roll dipping sauce is some white miso, thinned out with some apple cider vinegar, with some chopped scallions and grated ginger in it! I bet that would taste nice with these too! I look forward to your post on your volunteer work.

  25. Sushi is the coolest. I’ve never made it with parsnip (or jicama, for that matter), usually using sprouts or brown rice, though I was recently introduced to using finely shredded and massaged kale – tasty x100.

    I wouldn’t have thought to add almond butter – I’m assuming that acts as a glue?

    And as far as being a picky eater goes, I’ve never been one, but blogging and being all intimate with food is definitely shifting that. I still love the entirety of the plant kingdom, but I’m starting to do that thing at some restaurants, you know that thing where you say, “this is good, but I bet I could do better at home…”, ha ha! Of course, great restaurant experiences are pretty much life-altering and inspire me to spend hours in the kitchen, playing! I have a years’ worth of cooking to do after visiting Portland. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. we are picky eaters too ๐Ÿ˜‰ we love raw rice though we usually make it from cauliflower, seeing your parsnip version with almond butter – that is a combo we just have to try! sounds and looks amazing. I swear i wil attempt a making sushi one of these days!

  27. Parsnip makes the best raw sushi rice! I never would’ve figured it out myself either, though, had it not been introduced to me by Russell James. Now I’m realizing it’s been way too long since I’ve made truly-raw sushi…

    • I just made Russell James’ Broccoli in Hoisin Sauce with Parsnip Rice recipe. The rice was probably my favorite part!! Adding sesame oil to it makes it taste amazing… like sesame oil! I love raw sushi, but it doesn’t even need rice to be good. I think the Nori does all the work. Mmmm…

  28. Parsnips or jicama?

    “It used jicama as a base, but everything Iโ€™ve tried … So fantastic, that I vowed Iโ€™d have to perfect the art of raw jicama rice myself.”

    Either way, it sounds great.

  29. Wow your rolls look awesome, Gena! You are a sushi rolling pro! When I make warps and rolls, there is some definite mess going on ๐Ÿ™‚

    Raw cauli rice and raw jicama rice, I’ve done both of those. But raw parsnips are new to me. I love roasted parsnips and would never have thought to just do them raw (b/c they remind me a bit of a potato when raw which raw taters = no thanks!) but I will take your word for it and give it a try.

    Glad you found a new staple you love!

  30. Raw “rice” is one thing I’ve wanted to make for a while now and never tried. I never would have guessed that almond butter would be a secret ingredient.