Sushi for Under 3 Carbs?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I must admit, of all the things one must give up for a low carb lifestyle, I miss the sushi the most. It's just the best thing in the world. However, being creative and hungry, I began to deconstruct sushi to its barest elements, and then reconstruct it using low carb ingredients.

The three elements of sushi:
1. Nori wrapper
2. Rice
3. Filling

The first was easy to rectify after a trip to the store, after I discovered that the small hand roll (4 pieces) wrappers are .5 carbs with .3 fiber. So, a grand total of .2 net carbs. On the grand scale of things, considering the amount of taste and beauty you get for that nori wrapper, it's a bargain! So, whatever I did, nori wrappers fit with a low carb product.

The second part is the rice. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know I love to talk about riced cauliflower or “cauli-rice.” I make a killer origini using my tried and true recipe with cream cheese. After trial and error, I have found a few other methods that work as well to make the rice “sticky.” A tablespoon of mayo works well, and with a few drops of vinegar and a pinch of splenda, it makes for a very close aproximation. If you want to mimic wasabi, but don't want to spend the calories, a dash of horseradish in the mayo will give it that kick, though not the color. (And since most US wasabi is nothing more than colored horseradish paste anyway, with a few additives, it will taste similar!)

There is a VERY important step you must take, however, before you turn your cauliflower into rice if you are using it for sushi. After you have steamed it, put the cauliflower in a large colander lined with paper towels and let it sit and let as much moisture as possible soak off while it cools. It will make the rice stick together more and also keep your rolls from being soggy.

The third was easy, because there are so many low carb options for a filling. You can always go traditional, and have salmon or tuna, but getting sushi grade fish isn't always easy, and I wanted something I could pack in a lunch with some confidence. However, any of the following would be great filling and have a low carb punch:

Crab meat
Sushi grade tuna or salmon
cooked shrimp
strips of scrambled egg
smoked salmon
You can even make a more “western” roll if you so desire and add a bit of chicken or tuna salad.

For contrast, I usually like to have some sort of crunchy veggie in my rolls. Juliened snow peas, cucumber, scallions, sprouts, asparagus, or really any Atkins friendly veggie cut into thin slices works well. While I sometimes make meat only regular rolls, I have found that with the cauli-rice, that extra crunch just brings something to the roll that I can't describe.

For my bento today (featured in my blog Low Carb Bento) I made four pieces of shrimp and snow pea sushi.

.5 cup cauliflower rice
.5 tsp Horseradish sauce
1 tbs mayo
2 drops vinegar
1 pinch of granulated splenda or stevia

combined all of the above ingredients together and use as you would traditional sushi rice

2 large shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined
1 snow pea, cut into long, thin strips.

If you don't know how to make sushi rolls, this video will explain it better than I could.


Carbs: 4.5
Fiber: 2.3
Net carbs 2.2
Calories 45


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