I love California roll sushi. Not so crazy about raw fish, but put cooked crab or shrimp on it and I’m in. The only problem is that pesky rice exterior that holds the whole roll together! So as I was chomping down on a forbidden rice encrusted treat, I wondered if riced cauliflower would work with it. Just like that, this experiment blossomed in my mind.
I took fresh cauliflower, pulled apart the flowerets and tossed them in the food processor, pulsing until I had rice sized pieces. Then I cooked them in a pan with about 1/4 cup of water until the bits were tender and most of the water had evaporated. I put them in a bowl and placed it in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.
When I was ready to make the sushi, I took out an ounce of cream cheese and softened it, then mixed it into the cauli-rice. From this point, I followed the recipe to make the roll. It came out great! Okay, not as pretty as a restaurant-bought one, but this was my first try at making it at home. I did buy a sushi kit that provided the bamboo rolling mat, other tools like a paddle and an avocado slicer, and a sushi knife.
Curious about options, I also tried this using riced turnips. This works well also, although the turnip retains more moisture than the cauliflower, so it’s best to drain after cooking and squeeze the excess water out in a paper or clean kitchen towel. The turnip has a tiny bite to it that actually works with the oriental flavors.
So, if you’re adventurous, try this California Roll recipe with either cauliflower or rice and let me know what you think.
Low Carb California Roll
1 cup Cauliflower rice or riced turnips
1 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
4 half-sheets Nori roasted seaweed
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
4 pieces Crab Meat or 4 tablespoons of Cracked Crab.
4 thin slices Cucumber, cut in sticks
4 – 8 pieces of Avocado, cut into sticks
4-8 pieces Zucchini, cut into sticks
4 Carrot sticks, about 3-1/2 inches long, cooked and chilled
Sodium-reduced Soy Sauce
Cook cauliflower rice in a small pan or skillet with 1/4 cup water, bringing to a boil, then reducing to a simmer. Stir frequently and add additional water if it evaporates too quickly. Cook about 15 minutes until done. It sound be firm, but tender to chew. Drain any excess water off. Let rice chill for 1 to 2 hours. Mix cream cheese, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds into the rice. This will help to bind the riced vegetables together.
You will need a bamboo sushi mat for rolling. Place it on a counter or cutting board and cover with plastic wrap.
Cut the vegetables for the filling and ready the crab.
Place 1/2 sheet of nori, rough side up, on the plastic wrapped sushi mat. Spread 1/4 cup riced cauliflower over the nori evenly, leaving a 1/4 inch edge free at each end. Across the narrow side, lay down the vegetables and crab next to each other.
Begin to roll the nori across the length of it, using the mat to press it firmer in the roll as you go. Rolling the mat over the top keeps it clear of the actual roll as you work.
When complete, place the sushi roll on a plate and repeat with the remaining vegetable rice, vegetables, and crab.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and set. This also softens the nori. Cut each roll into five pieces with a sharp knife.
Place on small plates with about 1/4 teaspoon wasabi and several pieces of ginger to serve.
Makes 4 servings (1 roll each).