Sushi salad - such a happy bowl of food!
This salad is the best. It's basically a cheats/easy version of sushi - you get all the classic sushi flavours (crispy nori sheets, crunchy veggies, salty soy sauce...), but none of the extra prep time. Making sushi the traditional way is fun, and once you get the hang of it, it doesn't have to take too long either. However, this is a far speedier version that can totally fit into busier schedules where you don't have too much time to spend in the kitchen.
Like making regular sushi, you need a few base ingredients to prepare this salad (rice and nori sheets), and then you can jazz it up with all of your sushi favourites! For this recipe I often use smoked salmon for my protein source, because it's both tasty and easy (usually you can buy it vacuum packed and ready-to-go at the supermarket), as well as edamame beans - they pack a hefty plant-based protein punch of around 17g protein/cup, which is almost the same as a protein shake. For an alternative, feel free to sub for Teriyaki chicken or tuna though - they would all be delicious.
For the base of the salad make sure to include a few handfuls of leafy greens or sliced cabbage - it's a salad after all! I also love adding colourful veggie match sticks, which is basically veggies sliced thinly into sticks, much the same as you'd enjoy in typical sushi. To help keep this dish uber speedy to prepare, use leftover rice from dinner the night.
Nutrient spotlight: iodine
Our typical New Zealand diet is often low in iodine, which is an essential mineral that helps our thyroid gland to function normally. The thyroid gland is often referred to as at the "master" gland of the body - it controls some key hormones, which help regulate our metabolism and controls many bodily functions. For good health we want to keep our thyroid happy and working like clockwork.
NZ soil is generally low in iodine - and if our soils are low, this means our locally grown produce will be too. While many companies will often add iodine back into processed foods and salt, known as fortifying, some of the richest sources are marine, e.g. seaweed, seafood and fish.
The seaweed used in this salad is called nori, an edible algae that wraps around sushi and helps hold everything together! It's also an excellent source of iodine. Regularly enjoying nori is a great way to increase your dietary intake of iodine.
*prepares 2 bowls - halve ingredients for a single serving
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup frozen edamame beans
2 nori sheets
2 cups leafy greens/cabbage of your choice
2 handful of veggie sticks e.g. cucumber, carrot, capsicum sticks...
2x 50g smoked salmon
Garnishes: chopped spring onion, sesame seeds, soy sauce
1. Prepare your brown rice as per rice packet instructions.
2. Add the frozen edamame beans into a bowl, and pour over enough boiling water to cover them. Let it sit while you prep the rest of your bowl.
3. Prepare your veggies - wash and finely slice your veggie sticks. Slice your cabbage/leafy greens. Slice avocado thinly into slices.
4. Drain edamame beans and keep aside.
5. Using kitchen scissors, cut nori sheet into thick strips.
4. Into a bowl arrange your rice, veggies, smoked salmon, edamame beans, rice and nori sheets. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced spring onion. Serve with a small drizzle/bowl of soy sauce on the side for your dressing.