Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deconstructed Vegetable Sushi Salad

Today has been a reasonably calm day. I love warmish spring days like today when I can putter around and do whatever I want. A little additional sun would have been nice, but no rain so I am not complaining. All is well with my parents, knock on wood. I was actually able to accomplish some of the things on my to-do list. I love crossing items off my to-do list, which I realize is a little crazy. Honestly I am one of those people that will put something on my to-do just to cross it off. If any mental health professionals are reading I can imagine they are cringing now. ;-)

With my extra time I was able to begin reading the second of the two RAVE books that arrived about a week ago. There was also time to get through the second DVD that came with the books. As soon as I finish the second of the two books I will tell you a little about them and give you my review.

For some reason I have not been inspired to cook much lately. Dinners recently have been really easy fare. Today is no exception. Tonight I wanted sushi but I wasn’t in the mood to fiddle with rolling it, which was just more effort than I was prepared to give dinner today. Enter the brown rice vegetable sushi salad, which is destined to become a favorite at our house. If you love sushi but do not love making it this is the salad for you. It hits all the flavors of sushi without the trouble. When Dan came home he said, “Oh deconstructed sushi salad, good idea”. As soon as he said that I knew we had the name. It is much better than the truth, which was “I didn’t feel like making sushi salad.” You can call it whichever name you prefer. ;-) But I am going to stick with Dan’s idea, it sounds more appealing.

Of course I used brown rice since it is healthier than white. Then I seasoned it as though I was making sushi. Next I thought about what goes into my favorite sushi (nori, cucumber, avocado and asparagus) and added those to the salad. Spinach, savoy cabbage, celery and green onion were added for their cancer fighting properties and overall good nutrition. I included red bell pepper for a little sweetness and color. Edamame were added for protein and because we always order them when we get sushi so it made sense to me. The dressing in made of things that say Asian food to me. A little wasabi would also be good in the dressing but my hubby is not a fan. Here is what I did.

Deconstructed Vegetable Sushi Salad
Serves 2


¾ cup brown rice (I used Brown Basmati)
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons mirin (or substitute rice wine vinegar and a little stevia)
6 cups baby spinach, julienned
1 cucumber, thinly sliced (quick pickled or plain)
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 savoy cabbage leaves, julienned
½ cup edamame, steamed and chilled
6 stalks asparagus, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ bell pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon miso, or to taste
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, or to taste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or mirin, or to taste
½ avocado, cut into small cubes
2 sheets nori, julienned into bite sized strips


Cook brown rice according to package directions. While the rice is still hot add the mirin and fluff the rice with a fork to distribute the flavors. Refrigerate the rice until needed.

Combine the vegetables (except the avocado and nori) .

Combine the dressing ingredients (miso, ginger and vinegar) in your blender and process until smooth.  Taste the dressing and adjust to your palate.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add the avocado at the end so it does not get smashed.

To serve, top the salad with rice and then the sushi strips. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 485.34
Calories From Fat (19%) - 92.22

Total Fat - 12.05g
Saturated Fat - 1.84g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 456.1mg
Potassium - 1812.48mg
Total Carbohydrates - 92.72g
Fiber - 14.04g
Sugar - 8.2g
Protein - 17.79g


Would I make this again? Absolutely! In fact I am wondering how often I will make sushi now that I know I can turn it into a salad in less time and get more nutrition. If you like vegetable sushi I think you will like this. It hits the flavor profile with less work. As I said earlier is destined to become a family favorite since we both really liked it. Expect to read about us eating this quite often. It is definitely a great one dish meal. I also think it will be perfect for the summer when I am not in the mood to eat hot food or cook. One of the best things about this salad is that it uses cold rice. I am quite happy I made extra sushi rice today. We will be enjoying this for a few days for lunch.

The nutrition stats are where this salad really shines. Each serving contains approximately 10, 275IU of vitamin A, 85mg of vitamin C, 215mg of calcium, 7.5mg of iron, 410mcg of folate, 512mcg of vitamin K, 455mg of phosphorus, 250mg of magnesium, and 19 mcg of selenium. When you also take into account the potassium, fiber and protein this is great salad nutritionally speaking. Move over taco salad there is a new player in town. ;-)

Unrelated note:

It was so nice to have a day with no unexpected events. I thoroughly enjoyed my low stress day. I was able to focus on things for myself like exercising, reading health books and watching health DVDs. Seriously this is my idea of nirvana.

As usual my hubby worked late. In this economy I realize that it is wonderful that he has a good job, but it would be nice to spend more time with him. There is nothing I like more than spending time with my husband. He is my best friend and we have fun no matter what we do even if it something mind numbing like grocery shopping. I hope some of you are lucky enough to be married to your best friend too.

Since I have received quite few emails asking what we eat on a daily basis I am going to summarize our food day here:

Breakfast: rolled oats cooked in water, topped with cinnamon, frozen wild blueberries, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a few walnuts with ½ serving of green drink powder

Lunch: Dinner leftovers from yesterday (the lentil and brown rice over spinach)

Dinner: Brown Rice Sushi Salad above

Snack: Fresh juice (spinach, wheat grass, carrot, apple, celery, lemon and ginger) and a ½ serving of green drink powder

As you can see nothing exciting just healthy food at our house. I try to make certain that we get enough calories and veggies each day while minimizing our fat intake. One thing that I continue to find as I read more about nutrition and health is that the closer your food intake gets to being 100% whole food plant based the better off you are going to be. We have also discovered that whole grains and beans are important in terms of getting adequate calories. When we aren’t consuming enough grains keeping weight on is difficult. If you are trying to lose weight I suggest cutting back on grains.

That is going to be it for me today. I am off to make some fresh juice and clean up the kitchen and enjoy a little time with my hubby. I hope you are having a good evening.


  1. Oh love this idea! Yum. And don't feel bad about thinking you're uninspired. I have totally been feeling that way lately, yet somehow, dinner gets made and some think it sounds great. :-)

  2. I just clipped a recipe out of a magazine, almost identical to this!!! I thought wow that looks tasty, and here it is!!!
    You rock my vegan socks Ali!!

  3. Heather,

    Thank you so much. This really was just me being lazy. But it turned out great and so much healthier than sushi because of all the extra veggies.

    I think it is the spring weather that is doing a number on my motivation. At least that is my story and I am sticking to it. LOL.

    Jason did a great job on your dinner tonight. It looked wonderful.


  4. Brandi,

    Really? Which magazine? I would love to hear how they are different. After the fact I thought a few black sesame seeds would be good on top too.

    thanks for the compliment btw,

  5. Deconstructed sushi sounds fancy ...I'm sure this will be making its way onto posh menus soon...what a clever idea.

    Glad you enjoyed a low-stress day...those are the best and I wish you many more of the same.

  6. Rose,

    A name can make all the difference can't it? Deconstructed Sushi Salad is far more appealing than I was too lazy to make sushi salad. LOL! All kidding aside, this is really good. I hope you give it a try.

    I am hoping tomorrow will also be a low stress day. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the good wishes on that. :-)

    talk to you later,

  7. not a fan of wasabi??lol i love the title of this post, kudos to Dan on thinking of that so quick. i love the same things you do in sushi except for the asparagus, which i have never tried. my latest craze has been butternut squash with stevia, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and my peanut butter powder sprikled on top. lately i have been noticing a diferences in quality of spices. uh... just thought you would want to know that?? lol g'night Alicia

    m + L

  8. Michelle,

    I know can you believe it? I love wasabi and he isn't wild about it. Oh well, we can't all be perfect. LOL! Plus it means more for me.....

    Dan is quick, and my brain is fried tonight. Too much reading about nutrition today has my brain cells on overload. LOL.

    I can taste a big diffence in spices too. When they are more than about 6 months old they taste flat to me. Peanut butter powder you say. How do they make that? Where did you find it?

    goodnight to you too,

  9. i skipped a paragraph on accident, about being maried to your best fried? we have talked about this before and i obviously aggree. walter works from home and I LOVE IT!!! i never watn to be away from him, but unfortunately very few people realize thats thats the way it should be. we dont ever get sick of each other. before i met him and id be dating somebody i would imagine being married to that person, and knowing that i would need brakes from that person, not so with my stomper:) there are drawbacks to his job, like being on call 24/7 but so worth it. people ask why i dont work, the answer? i dont have to work if i dont mind not buying everything i want, lol but walter spoils me whos conceited? and i love going grocery shopping etc when its with him!

  10. peanut butter powder = smile on my face

    i am going to do a post on it soon. its defatted peanuts
    "fitnutz" has some without sugar but uses erythi..(sp?) i have no idea how to spell it, its that alcohol sugar? then there is "PB2" but theirs has sugar (boo) and then i bought a monster tub at "" which is JUST peanuts:) and i love it!! it has 3.5 grams of fat for two tbs which is more than the fitnutz but you get like four times as much and without sugar. the fitnutz has 1 gram of fat in two tbs

    sorry about so many comments..

  11. Michelle,

    That is nice that Walter gets to work from home. I would love it if Dan did, but he is at his office downtown 99% of the time. I agree with you that most others aren't married to their best friends, but some are. It is always nice to see.

    talk to you later,

  12. Great idea. I actually just bought some nori and was wondering how I could use it without having to go to the effort of making sushi.
    Dinner was delicious last night- I doubled the spices, added lots of lemon, served it over baby spinach and topped it with a little of the tofu-tahini sauce..everyone who came into the kitchen commented on how amazing it smelt:] I didn't share!

  13. Emma,

    This was so good and healthy, sushi won't happen as often at our house. At the moment this is my new favorite salad.

    I am so glad you liked the rice and lentils last night. It does smell good cooking doesn't it? I like that aspect too! Thanks for letting me know the tofu tahini was good on it. :-)

    talk to you later,

  14. Michelle,

    I will be interested to read that post. You know of course you are making me wonder if I can figure out how to make it. However I don't know exactly how they defat the peanut butter. When you write about it please post all the nutrition stats so I can see how that compares to the reduced fat version of peanut butter I now make. ;-) It sounds really interesting.

    talk to you later,

  15. That looks like the perfect summer meal, I love one dish meals. I am looking forward to hearing your review of the Rave books:)

  16. Janet,

    This was one of those times my short cut really paid off. This is my new favorite salad of the moment. I hope you give it a try.

    My plan is to finish the second Rave book today. If I do I will have my review up before the weekend is over.

    hope you are having a good morning,

  17. I have never tried sushi. I don't have mirin, miso, or rice wine vinegar. So, this is out for now.
    I have never tasted nori either.
    It does look tasty! I have never wanted to make sushi, but this looks doable. :) Call me the lazy chef.

    I am wondering about the sodium in the above products, I have looked at miso before and it was loaded. Do you have a low sodium version?

    It is nice to hear you, and others are married to your best friend.
    Me too! In fact I am currently miserable because my husband is working more too. :( His company has cut back employees, and is expecting the same production?!
    It is too much. I am sad for him.
    Me too. However, we are blessed to have a good paying job.
    Glad you had a great day yesterday.
    It sounds like a perfect way to spend a day to me too. :)

    I did a take off of your rice and lentils dish last night. I didn't have red lentils, or cardamon. I used black beans. My husband was super happy with the meal! :)
    Thanks! It was delicious.

    I am curious, I have never tried cardamon before, to my knowledge. What does it add to the dish?
    I guess I am saying, should I purchase some cardamon? He..hee

  18. Naina,

    Yes miso is relatively high in sodium, but you don't need much in this dressing and it does add B12. This dish was fairly low in sodium and the stats included the miso. I hope you try the salad. It is my new favorite.

    Business is up where my hubby works but staff isn't. Similar to what is happening to your hubby. Frustraing isn't it? Congrats on being married to you best friend!

    I adore cardamom. It is used a lot in Indian cooking. If you have had a Mango lassie you have had it. It adds more aroma than taste. The aroma can be best described as floral similar to how vanilla is floral if that makes sense. I think you will like it.

    Glad your hubby liked the beans and rice dish.

    talk to you later,

  19. I am the same way with "To Do" lists, lol! I *LOVE* being able to cross/check things off on them...such a feeling of satisfaction :-)


  20. Courtney,

    Thank you so much for letting me know I am not alone on that one! It always feels crazy to write it down after I have done it just so I can cross it off. LOL. But I must do it. ;-)



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