No Ordinary Nori Rolls

Seen one nori roll, seen ‘em all? We’ve given this Japanese favorite a bit of jazz by adding hempseeds to the rice and filling the rolls with richly flavored tempeh and pickled vegetables. A bit of work? Worth it? Just ask your party guests.

Makes 32 pieces

Ingredient List: 

2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1/2 cup shelled hempseeds

4 ounces tempeh, sliced into thin spears
3 tablespoons organic soy sauce  
2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon mirin
spring or filtered water
extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cucumber, (halved lengthwise), peeled, sliced into thin spears
½ cup shredded red cabbage, blanched for 30 seconds, drained
2-3 fresh green onions, split lengthwise into thin ribbons
umeboshi or red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon

4 sheets toasted sushi nori

Step By Step Instructions: 

Mix the cooked rice and hempseeds together and set aside, cover with a sushi mat or a damp towel to maintain moisture.

Place the sliced tempeh in a shallow baking dish. Mix together soy sauce, ginger juice, brown rice vinegar and mirin. Pour over tempeh, adding water just to cover. Marinate for 15 minutes. Drain tempeh, reserving marinade to serve as the base for a dipping sauce for the nori rolls.

While the tempeh marinates, put up the vegetables to pickle. Place the cucumber spears in a shallow dish and sprinkle with vinegar. Toss the cabbage with a generous sprinkle of vinegar and lemon juice and set both aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.  

Pour oil in a skillet to generously cover the bottom. Turn heat to medium and when the oil is hot, fry the tempeh, turning once, until browned on each side, about 1 minute each side. Drain on paper and set aside.

To make the sushi, lay a bamboo sushi mat or kitchen towel on a flat dry work surface. Lay the nori, lengthwise, with the shiny side against the mat. With damp hands, press one quarter of the rice and hempseed mixture onto the nori, covering it end to end, lengthwise, but leaving approximately 1/2-inch nori exposed on the edges closest to and farthest from you. The rice should be about 1/4-inch thick on the nori.  

Lay green onion spears, pickled cabbage, cucumber spears and fried tempeh along the edge of rice closest to you, the width of the nori roll. Using the mat as a guide, wrap the nori around the rice and tempeh filling, pressing as you roll, to create a firm cylinder. Set the completed roll, seam side down on a dry surface and repeat with remaining ingredients to create 4 nori rolls.

To serve, using a wet knife, slice each nori roll into 8 equal pieces. Arrange cut-side up on a platter. Use the leftover tempeh marinade as a dipping sauce or add some wasabi for a spicier sauce.