Outside-the-Box Sushi Ideas

Purists might want to look away. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sushi. I first came up with the idea of including, well, anything in sushi simply because I was broke. Blocks of sashimi-grade tuna and salmon are not exactly cheap or easy to come by.

So instead, I embarked to see exactly what I could include in sushi; what were winners and what didn’t work out so well.

Before we get into some roll ideas, I’ll give you some pointers on how to build your own:

  • Don’t use things that might have a significant amount of moisture
    • When I moved to Germany, I celebrated by trying to make a “German sushi roll”. It was some sort of sausage/wurst, another cured meat, stone-ground sweet mustard, sauerkraut, and something else. Welll, the sauerkraut was a little too wet and the roll didn’t stay together. Even if it did, the taste was meh.
  • Try to make a roll that has some sort of dipping sauce that would go well with it. Traditional sushi uses a soy sauce/wasabi or tamari/wasabi mix. Sushi lends itself to dipping.
    • For example, one of the rolls I’ve made was one of my favorite sandwiches converted into a roll. Smoked turkey, ham, tomato, spring mix, brie cheese, raspberry jam. For the dipping sauce, I took some raspberry jam and mixed it with yogurt to pour on top or for dipping.

So with that, I’ll go into a couple ideas. Several are in the above picture.

Thai-inspired Breakfast Sushi (First picture above)
  • Eggs, scrambled with minced onions and garlic.
    • Let the eggs cook in one layer and don’t break them up – kind of like an omellete. Flip and cook the other side. When making the sushi, cut the egg mixture into strips for rolling.
  • Ham
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Thai Basil

This roll goes well dipped in soy sauce. I’ve also tried it with a hot sauce such as Texas Pete and it goes well.

Sweet and Spicy Roast Beef, Goat Cheese, and Bacon Roll
  • London port roast beef
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • Hot pepper jelly
  • Herbed goat cheese
  • A bit of spring mix
  • Tomatoes, with the liquid center stripped out.

When assembling the roll, put down the roast beef, bacon, and goat cheese first. Spread about 1.5-2 tbsp hot pepper jelly across the top of the ingredients; if you put it directly on the rice it can make the rice a bit too slippery to hold together. Finish by putting a very small handful of spring mix.

Italian Beef Carpaccio Roll
  • Raw, extremely thinly sliced carpaccio grade beef
  • Finely diced red onion
  • Freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano
  • Fresh Italian basil
  • Nonpareil capers
  • Fresh parsley
  • Cucumber for crunch/texture
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Assemble the roll with all ingredients, except for the olive oil. After assembly, top with 1-2 capers per piece, a bit of extra parmesan on top, and drizzle with EVOO.

Balkan Cevapcici with Ajvar Roll

Cevapcici is a Balkan (Croatian I think?) casing-less, finger sausage with lots of garlic. You can look up a recipe online; they’re fairly easy to make. A simple recipe:

  • 1/2lb beef and 1/2lb pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix everything together, and form into finger sausages. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 6 minutes per side.

Ajvar is a Balkan red pepper spread, sometimes with eggplant as well. It can be purchased in any international market.

Now, for the roll:

  • A couple cevapcici
  • A small amount of vidalia onion (cut open and take the outside ring, break it, put it in the roll)
  • Roasted, salted eggplant slices
  • Fresh parsley
  • Ajvar spread on the ingredients.

For a dipping sauce, tzatziki works very well.

And there you have it! Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to making your own creative sushi rolls. Enjoy!

Other Recipes

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