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Posted on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 7:26 a.m.

Make a colorful and healthy sushi roll with quinoa, nuts and pickles

By Corinna Borden

Borden - Nut Quinoa Sushi

The color of the red quinoa and The Brinery pickles complement the dark green of the nori sheet.

Corinna Borden | Contributor

I recently took a raw food “cooking” class (or raw food construction class) at Raw Gourmets International in Chicago. We spent the whole day pureeing, chopping and dicing various vegetables and nuts to make ourselves lunch and dinner. In addition to changing the way I use my food processor, I have become emboldened to attempt previously out of reach culinary arts thanks to the class.

As such — sushi. Whether it be the dexterous challenge involved in using chopsticks, the otherworldliness of seaweed or the addictive salty dark depths of soysauce — sushi is my ultimate night out and one I thought beyond my skill at home.

Thanks to the class’s gentle nudge, sushimaki has been rolling off my counter.

In the raw food class we learned a version of “tuna salad” to go into the sushi roll. “Tuna salad” involved pureed soaked nuts as the “meat” to which we added minced celery, red onion, parsley, dill, sea salt and kelp. I have simplified the “tuna salad” into simply pureeing soaked nuts.

The rationale behind soaking nuts before you eat them is much the same as soaking seeds before you plant them in the earth. According to my class notes, “the water neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors allowing nuts and seeds to be more easily digested.” Making a raw nut puree is literally just that, soaking the nuts overnight, and then pureeing them into a white mash in the blender.

Here is the recipe for this very easy, relatively quick (the quinoa takes 10 minutes to cook), and delicious sushi roll (don’t be deterred if you do not have a bamboo mat; I have made almost 15 rolls without the use of one).

• 3 sheets nori seeweed
• 3 teaspoons miso paste (you can find soy, barley, and adzuki in stores — I prefer the adzuki bean)
• 1 ½ cup cooked quinoa (either red or white)
• 1 cup nut puree (You can add a garlic clove or ginger root for an extra kick as it blends. I like Brazil nuts and Macadamia nuts.)
• 2 cups sprouts (alfalfa, radish, or broccoli all work well)
• Thinly sliced turnip and beet pickles from The Brinery

Borden - flat sushi before rolling

Until you get the hang of rolling, I would recommend not piling the ingredients too high.

Corinna Borden | Contributor

1. Lay one sheet of nori shiny side down, using the back of a teaspoon spread the miso paste on a third of the nori sheet (closest to you).
2. Layer quinoa, nut puree, sprouts, and pickles onto the area with the miso paste.
3. Tucking the edge in as you press down with your fingers, roll the nori sheet away from you tightly. You can seal the edge of the nori roll with a little water.
4. Cut the roll into 8 pieces.
5. Repeat with remaining nori sheets.
6. Serve with tamari or other dipping sauce.

This is what I learned from my attempts these past months.

• A freshly honed knife is required so that the roll does not collapse under the pressure and spout out the ends.
• Make sure the quinoa has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, or it will soften the nori to the point of collapse.
• The nori, nuts, pickles and sprouts are all raw and thus full of digestive enzymes. Quinoa is a great source of protein. This is a great winter treat of color and vibrancy.
• Make a few rolls for your own consumption to gain proficiency with the technique before sharing this amazing treat with your friends.


Corinna wrote a book about many things, works with the Westside Farmers Market, and spoils her backyard chickens.


Corinna Borden

Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

Thank you @seldon, I did not realize that sushi referred to just the rice. I appreciate learning something new.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Technically, you shouldn't call this sushi. "Sushi" refers to the rice, and there isn't any of that in this dish.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

WOW! This is creative, beautiful, and healthy. Can't wait to try it! Thanks! :)