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  • Writer's pictureSarah Gearino

Healthy Quinoa Sushi Rolls

Sushi is extremely delicious, but it can also be very unhealthy if you are not careful with your choices. The healthiest option when eating at a sushi restaurant is ordering the Sashimi.  Sashimi is simply raw fish that is sliced n thin strips and meant to eat with soy sauce and wasabi paste. This option is entirely protein packed and contains zero carbs, therefore is the absolute lowest on the glycemic index….with a GI of zero. You can also order the raw fish over a bed of rice, and this is called Nigiri. Nigiri is medium to high in  regards to its glycemic index. If I order the Nigiri, I would only eat half the rice in order to lower the carb/glycemic index of the meal. The last option is a sushi roll or sushi hand roll. This is also about medium to high on the glycemic index due to the high content of rice within each roll. Each roll contains about 2 cups of white sticky rice…and most people order at least 2-3 rolls. That is a whole heck of a lot of white rice!!!

I love sushi, and typically order a few pieces of Sushimi as well as a roll or 2. I am aware that the rolls are higher on the glycemic index, so I use this as my “cheat meal” for the week. I was trying to think of a way to enjoy my sushi rolls with less carbs and fat…so I decided to head to the Japanese grocery store and see what I could come up with. I thought to myself, why not substitute the rice for quinoa and just use much less and add much more raw fish and veggies? So that’s what I did… and now I can enjoy HEALTHY LOW GLYCEMIC SUSHI ROLLS for HALF THE PRICE!!! You will end up paying an arm and a leg at most sushi restaurants, but half the price if you simply make it yourself! It is actually a very fun process, and you can get as creative with it as you would like. I highly suggest rolling sushi with a friend or significant other because it truly is an enjoyable experience.

I decided to buy 2 medium fillets of raw fish, smoked salmon and red tuna. I also bought an english cucumber, avocado, jalapenos, quinoa, seaweed paper, low fat mayo, chili paste, low sodium soy sauce, and wasabi paste.


  • First, cook about 3/4 cup of quinoa.

  • While the quinoa is cooking, I cut the fish, avacado, and cucumbers into long strips. I de-seed the jalapenos and cut these up into small slices. I then mix chili paste and low fat mayo together in a medium bowl. Mix well and add as little or as much chili paste as you would like. This is my version of the Japanese “spicy mayo” and you can put this inside and/or on top of the rolls.

  • If you do not own a sushi rolling mat, you will definitely need to buy one. Place the rolling mat on a cutting board and the place 1 sheet of seaweed paper on the mat, with the shiny side down. Spread 1/4-1/3 cup of warm cooked quinoa onto 3/4 of the seaweed paper. Use a spoon to pat the quinoa down and leave one side (far side away from you) without quinoa. The “normal” way of making sushi rolls is to cover most of the seaweed paper and leave a tiny edge without, but I use less quinoa to ensure it is low glycemic.

  • Add about 2-3 tbsp of spicy mayo to the quinoa in a long horizontal line. Add 1-2 strips of raw fish over the spicy mayo. Add your choice of veggies. In this roll, I used smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, jalapenos, and spicy mayo…and it was delicious!!!

  •  Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the sushi mat (away from you) and squeeze, continue rolling the mat until you have the entire sheet f seaweed paper folded. Make sure to squeeze tightly as you roll.

  • Unfold the mat and cut the sushi roll with a VERY sharp knife. The sushi roll is very fragile, therefore you need to use a good knife that requires minimal force.

  • Cut additional pieces of raw fish (sushimi) and garnish with spicy mayo and wasabi paste. I use a tiny bit of low sodium soy sauce as well. If you are a newbie to sushi, and you like spicy food, I suggest mixing wasabi into your soy sauce and dipping the edge of each bite of sushi into the sauce. Oh and don’t forget the chopsticks…it’s all part of the experience! Mmmmm Mmmmm good!!!

  • Feel free to serve with edamame as well.

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