Healthy Recipes

Protein in the Raw: Easy Sushi Recipe

The perfect meal, one bite at a time.

Protein in the Raw: Sushi Made Easy

The fish in sushi is quintessential protein in its purest, most simple form, making this food a great substitute for chicken breasts and cans of tuna.

Protein in the Raw: Easy Sushi Recipe
You'll need
  • Nori sheets (toasted seaweed)
  • Cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Green onion, thinly sliced
  • Mango, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Assorted sashimi-grade seafood (ahi tuna, salmon, crab, prawns)
  • Wasabi paste
  • Sesame seeds
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups brown sushi rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet seasoning wine)
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar (brown or white) (for mirin mixture)
  • Pickled ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (for tezu mixture)

Think of the sushi roll as the perfectly balanced bodybuilder meal containing top-quality protein, complex carbs and vegetables all in one delicious bite. Even if you choose the fattiest varieties of fish - tuna and salmon - it still contains fewer than 200 calories per 4-ounce serving; that’s roughly half of what you’d get from a New York steak. Shrimp and octopus are even lower, at only 100 calories per serving.

Seafood also packs a nutritional punch with B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like selenium, potassium and zinc. Worried about the raw part of the equation? Using cooked seafood in your sushi roll works just as well, although some of the nutrients are lost in the cooking process.

The rice in sushi is an excellent source of complex carbs, and it contains niacin, protein, thiamine and iron. Substitute brown rice to increase nutrient levels.

Nori (the seaweed used to wrap sushi) is a good source of Vitamin C, B vitamins, iodine, calcium, iron and protein. The pickled ginger (gari) used to cleanse the palate also aids in digestion. For those of you not sure about that pungent Japanese horseradish, wasabi, it’s loaded with Vitamin C.

Most supermarkets sell special grades of seafood marked exclusively to be eaten raw, and you can find most of the other ingredients listed in the international foods aisle.

1. In a rice cooker or a large pot, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Do not stir. Cook covered until all water is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes.
2. While rice cooks, combine mirin and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, add cooked rice and lightly fold in mirin mixture. Let cool to room temperature.
4. TO ROLL SUSHI: Add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar to a small bowl of water. Dip your fingers in this water (tezu) during preparation to keep rice from sticking to your hands.
5. Place plastic wrap over a bamboo sushi mat (makisu).
6. On one nori sheet, evenly spread about one-quarter of the rice, leaving a half-inch bare along the two long sides.
7. About 1 inch from the edge of the rice nearest you, place your ingredients in a horizontal row.
8. Roll up nori away from you, pressing into shape.
9. Moisten the bare edge and press against the roll to seal.
10. Slice each roll into 1-inch pieces. Wipe knife clean with a damp towel between each cut.