Last week at Stomp Out Obesity, the students learned how to make vegetable sushi filled with avocado, carrots, and cucumber. We talked about the importance of trying new foods, in order to get the full variety of nutrients that your body needs. Trying new things also offers the opportunity to learn about other culinary traditions and experience new tastes that you might love. Certain “brain foods” really fuel learning. We found out that brightly colored fruits and vegetables — like carrots — and healthy unsaturated fats — like avocado — are very good for your brain. Our sushi fed our bodies and our minds! Thanks to our unbelievable volunteers Ericka Martins, for writing and testing the recipe, and Jenna Hollenstein, for contributing the corresponding nutrition lesson.
1 1/2 cups short-grained white rice
1 1/2 cups water
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
4 sheets roasted nori*
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8” thick matchsticks
1 small carrot, cut into 1/8” thick matchsticks
1 small, ripe but slightly firm avocado
Rinse rice well and bring to a boil with water. Reduce to low, tightly covered until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered
Heat together the rice vinegar and salt to dissolve. Transfer the cooked rice to a large glass or plastic bowl (do not use metal). Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the top and toss the rice gently. Cool rice in bowl by tossing occasionally or spread in a single layer on a sheet pan.
Place sushi mat on a flat surface with the slats running horizontally and lay down 1 sheet of nori with the shiny side up, lining up the bottom of the nori with the edge of the mat closest to you. Using damp fingers gently press an even layer of rice (about ½ to ¾ cup) onto the nori, leaving a 1½ inch border on the side farthest from you. Arrange cucumber in a single even strip horizontally across the rice, starting 1” from the bottom edge. Repeat with the carrot above the cucumber. Peel avocado, remove seed and cut lengthwise into thin slices, arrange in a single layer just above the carrot.
To roll sushi, start with the edge nearest to you, lift mat up with your thumbs, hold filling in place with your fingers and fold mat over so that the upper and lower edges of rice meet. Squeeze gently along the length of the roll and tug mat away from you to tighten. Open mat, the nori border should still be along the top edge. Roll forward to seal. Dampen nori border very lightly with fingers if it does not stick. Repeat with remaining 4 pieces of nori, vegetables and rice.
Move rolls to a cutting board and slice into 6 equal pieces, wetting knife in between cuts. Serve with soy sauce for dipping, wasabi and pickled ginger (gari) if desired.
Yield: 6 sushi rolls, 36 pieces