“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nori-wrapped Quinoa and Veggies

I’ve posted several recipes here with quinoa because I eat it often. It’s a great plant-based protein source that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and it’s gluten-free which is great news for people who are gluten intolerant or sensitive. And because I eat it so often, I’m always looking for new ways to eat it. The other morning, while lying on my yoga mat, I wondered how quinoa would work in place of rice in a nori roll with lots of veggies. I thought it would be a nice idea as a light meal for summer, instead of a heavier wrap. Years ago in school, a fellow graduate student invited a few of us over and she taught us how to roll sushi. It was a lot of fun and I haven’t made them in a long time. So today, I played in the kitchen with my food. The rolls I made combined the quinoa, avocado, shredded vegetables and nori. The veggies don’t have to be shredded–they can also be sliced into thin, long strips–depending on your preference. Whatever combinations you can think up here, you can create…

Nori-wrapped Quinoa and Veggies

Nori sheets

Cooked and cooled quinoa, seasoned as desired

Avocado, mashed with a little lemon juice

Shredded veggies, such as carrots, zucchini or yellow squash, cucumbers, beets, daikon radish, etc.

Sesame oil

Sesame or hemp seeds

I cooked my quinoa in a dilute vegetable broth and added a little tamari. When it was finished cooking, I added a little bit of sushi vinegar and a few chia seeds. Because quinoa is less sticky than rice, I was thinking that chia seeds that have been soaked for a few minutes then added to the quinoa near the end of the cooking might make the quinoa a little gelatinous. It was a bit late when I added them this time, but I’ll be experimenting with this again. To deal with the possibility that the quinoa wouldn’t be sticky enough, I mashed my avocado and used that as the base for the quinoa to stick to. It worked really well.

If you have a bamboo mat for rolling nori, the assembly will be much easier; however, it is still doable without one. The directions for putting together a roll will be on the back of the nori package, but I’ll give it a try here: Place a piece of nori onto the mat with one of the shorter edges facing you. Onto this end, about one inch from the edge, spread a couple of tablespoons of mashed avocado into a one inch strip, horizontally, from one side to the other. Layer cooled quinoa onto the avocado, then shredded veggies. Press them down to keep in place. Using the mat, begin rolling by lifting the nori’s short overhang up and over the filling then bring it down and back, pressing into the filling to pack it together. Tuck the overhang under the filling and roll it snugly to keep the filling packed. Moisten the free end of the roll with a small amount of water then press it into the roll. This will help to seal it like an envelope. Brush the roll with sesame oil. Using an extremely sharp knife, cut the rolls crosswise into disks about ½ inch thick. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with sesame or hemp seeds.

Then enjoy! These are light and refreshing and perfect for summer! I know I’ll be making these lots more, especially while the weather is hot. And if you’re planning to take these for lunch, they can be transported whole, then cut when ready to eat or even eaten whole like a wrap. Peace…

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