Lunch Maki – A Rolled Meal

Did you know that the word “sushi” refers to the vinegar rice mixture that usually accompanies raw fish and not the fish itself? And “maki” refers to the type of sushi that is rolled up inside of a black sheet of seaweed (nori) rather than just the fish sitting on top of the rice (nigiri)?

I guess we learn something new every day. Today, with no sushi-making experience whatsoever, I am going to share how to make awesome lunches and snacks using nori! These maki-inspired rolls don’t have to be Japanese in any way, and in fact, most of what I’ll show you today barely resembles sushi in the traditional sense at all (with the obvious exception that it’s wrapped in seaweed).

I make these tasty bites in 5 minutes or less on a snack or lunch break at work, and have actually been surprised at how easy they were to make. They’re filling, they’re delicious, they’re light, they’re versatile, and they’re portable. What more could you want in a workday lunch?

To start, you’ll need to get some nori sheets like these:

Emerald-Cove-Organic-Nori-Sheets-023547300419

click for an option to purchase

While technically the rest is up to you, I’m going to give you three options to try, and I think they’re going to make you very happy. The trick when rolling these guys up is to a) roll them tight and b) dampen the seaweed toward the end of the roll so that it will stick and stay rolled. And once you roll it up, take a little bit more water (either with your finger or with a spoon), and smooth out the spot where the end of the nori meets the rest of the roll. Once you get the hang of it (which will be very quickly), your roll won’t fall apart when you pick it up.

Tuna and Olive Makiolivetapenade

For this roll, I used an olive tapenade that I found in little country store along Highway 120 heading back from Yosemite. We’ve used just a pinch here and there in other dishes (sauces, veggies, marinades, salad dressings), and ended up loving it so much that we got two more jars the last time we passed through. If you ever see this, you should try it out! (A little goes a long way)

Directions:

2013-10-14 12.57.00

  • place a nori sheet on a large flat plate, rough side up
  • slice half of a medium to large avocado and place next to fish, long sides parallel to the direction you plan to roll
  • add in 1/2 a can of tuna (or salmon or a whole can sardines), lining it all up on the side of the nori closest to you
  • add in a row of spinach
  • spread about a tablespoon of olive tapenade over the ingredients
  • roll tightly, using the dampening method described above

Salmon Pesto Maki

This one is the most similar to traditional sushi, but we are going grain-free in this post, and I am adding in a pesto sauce — not exactly Japanese… You can either get store-bought pesto, or you can make your own ahead of time. I made my own, because it was time to harvest the rest of the basil in the backyard garden, and I had everything else I needed already in the kitchen. (In my opinion, this pesto recipe makes every single one of these rolls that much better!)

Nutty basil Pesto (makes enough for a few meals):
  • large bunch of fresh basil leaves (about the size of one of those plants you see in the produce section)
  • hand full of raw macadamia nuts
  • hand full of raw walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • sea salt to taste
  • BLEND in food processor until done
For the Roll:
avocado

avocado is definitely a staple in these rolls for me. It’s full of healthy fats and fiber, filling, and delicious!

  • place a nori sheet on a large flat plate, rough side up
  • spread a tablespoon of pesto over the nori, leaving about 1 inch on the far end (that will be the last part to roll up)
  • place strips of smoked salmon along the side of the nori closest to you (I like to get the scraps that come in a container usually right outside of the seafood counter at the grocery store. They’re much less expensive than getting the lox in the vacu-pak containers)
  • slice 1/4 to 1/2 of a medium to large avocado and place  next to salmon, long sides parallel to the direction you plan to roll
  • sprinkle with a dash of sea salt or REAL salt
  • place long leaves of romaine lettuce or a handful of baby spinach on top of that and roll tightly, using the dampening method described above

Chicken Salad Maki

This maki roll calls for chicken salad, which can be made in a variety of ways. I personally like to use chicken breast, lots and lots of dijon mustard, nuts, seeds, celery, and green onion, and a little bit of kefir and good quality mayonnaise. Here’s a recipe to try.

chickenmaki

  • place a nori sheet on a large flat plate, rough side up
  • place chicken salad along the side closest to you *play with the amount based on how hungry you are, but a few tablespoons should do it per roll.
  • slice an avocado and place longways across seaweed next to chicken salad
  • tear raw red chard leaves away from ribs and place in roll
  • roll it up with the dampening method

Hummus Avo-Maki

  • place a nori sheet on a large flat plate, rough side up
  • spread hummus evenly in a thin layer across entire nori sheet
  • (optional) mix in pesto here if you like it as much as I do
  • slice half of a medium to large avocado and place on end closest to you, long sides parallel to the direction you plan to roll
  • sprinkle with a dash of sea salt or REAL salt
  • slice 1/2 a red bell pepper thinly and line it up next to the avocado, long sides parallel to the direction you plan to roll
  • place long leaves of romaine lettuce or a handful of baby spinach on top of that and roll tightly, no real need to use the dampening method here, if you can make it stick with the hummus

2013-10-14 13.06.28You can eat these rolls like you would a burrito, so they’re great for a portable lunch. I’ve never tried making them in advance of when I want to eat them, but I would bet that if you made them the night before or in the morning before work, they’d be a perfect, ready-to-go food for the days you have no time to prepare lunch. I’ve found that two rolls is the perfect lunch for me, but if you have something else to go with your Lunch Maki (like soup or more veggies), one roll should do it.

Enjoy!

One thought on “Lunch Maki – A Rolled Meal

  1. BRILLIANT – this is a totally new idea to me, but one that I think I can implement right away, and my kids lunches might enjoy it too! I have made sushi rolls, but it never occurred to me to break the mold like you have here. My kids don’t do sushi, but they love seaweed. We might practice this weekend. This is GREAT!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s