Can you call it sushi if it has neither rice nor fish in it?

Let me start with stating that I am not a sushi chef nor am I trying to be one. Anyhow, some of you have been wishing to see my sushi “recipe” so here we go. The history behind my homemade sushi experiments is simply that in Finland, you cannot get other than white rice sushi anywhere, and I don’t really eat white rice anymore because it makes me feel very very bloated. But I love sushi. See the dilemma? So as a resolution, I quite often like to make these no white rice “healthier” versions of nori rolls myself at home. My rolls areo filled with quinoa, amaranth, avocado and usually a rainbow of veggies. Because there’s no rice and most often no fish either (I tried smoked salmon once) in my rolls, I’m not really sure if it is correct to call the dish “sushi” but let me still do so.

My sushi might not taste like the sushi you get in a Japanese restaurant, but I promise you it will be super tasty, wholesome and way easier to make than real sushi because you won’t need any sushi rice cooking skills (but you do need to have some kind of understanding on how to roll the sushi though). Using a quinoa and amaranth mixture instead of rice facilitates sushi making because quinoa and amaranth do not only take less time to cook than rice but amaranth also naturally turns out rather sticky when cooked, which of course makes it easier to roll the sushi. I will give you also some extra tips on how to roll the sushi in the instructions part that may be of help. Usually, the nori sheet packages have also their own rolling instructions that might be useful if you’re not a very skilled sushi roller yet.



Quinoa and amaranth veggie sushi

Makes 2 big maki rolls (enough for one)

What you will need:

a sushi rolling bamboo mat

2 nori sheets (dried seaweed)

1/2dl amaranth

1/4dl quinoa

1tbsp brown rice vinegar

1/2 medium/small avocado

tamari or soy sauce for serving

Choose 2 of the following additional fillings:

1 small carrot

1/3 of a small cucumber

1 large purple cabbage leaf

a handful of alfalfa sprouts

choose your own favourites

How to do it:

  • Rinse your quinoa and amaranth and then cook them in separate casseroles according to package instructions. For quinoa, it normally takes 15-20 mins and  for amaranth 25 mins.
  • When cooked, mix your quinoa and amaranth together in a bowl and let the mixture cool down a bit. Then blend in 1-2tbsp of brown rice vinegar and set the sushi “rice” mixture in the fridge to cool down until cold.
  • In the meanwhile, slice your avocado and chop your vegetables into thin, long slices.
  • When your sushi “rice” is cold, using a sushi bamboo mat underneath, spread half of the “rice” on top of your first nori sheet and leave the other half for the second nori roll.
  • Place your fillings in lengthwise in the middle of the nori sheet on top of the rice (I normally don’t use more than three fillings so the roll won’t become too full). If you wish to make identical rolls, leave half of each filling for the second roll.
  • Using your bamboo mat as a help, roll your nori sheet into one big thick sushi roll. Putting a little water on the borders of the sheet may help you “glue” the edges together.
  • Repeat steps 4 to 6 with your other nori sheet.
  • Cut your rolls into 1cm wide pieces using a straight-bladed knife. Some water in the blade may help you cut the sushi easier.
  • Don’t worry if some of your sushi pieces fall apart – only practise and patience helps here! The broken pieces will taste as good as the beautiful ones. Enjoy your sushi with some tamari or soy sauce and have for example some seaweed salad or pickled ginger on the side.

xx a


2 thoughts on “Can you call it sushi if it has neither rice nor fish in it?

  1. Looks like you have another healthy version of sushi. There’s no harm in creating versions of your favorite dish, as long as you’ll enjoy the treat. It’s nice to know that despite the lack of rice of your own sushi, you were able to find ingredients that will suit your taste and maintain your diet. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I am looking forward to read more of your sushi dishes in the future. Happy cooking! 🙂

    Cecil Huff @ Mikuni Sushi


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