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Vegetarian Recipes

Shiitake Maki with Carrot Ginger Sauce

Shiitake Maki with Carrot Ginger Sauce

It’s sushi day!

You might be wondering – why the heck would you roll sushi at home when it’s so much easier to order it at a restaurant? Because it’s fun, it’s affordable, and it’s way more fresh than take-out sushi… but the best part is that you can get creative about what you choose to fill your rolls with. No more cucumber-only veggie sushi rolls!

These rolls are filled with savory roasted shiitake mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, and red cabbage for crunch & color. There’s also a fun dipping sauce – the carrot ginger dressing from the Rainbow Kale Salad that I posted on Monday. If you make that salad and reserve just a bit of the dressing it makes for a yummy, fresh, and unexpected sauce for these rolls.

Shiitake Maki with Carrot Ginger Sauce

So here’s how we roll. Step #1 is to not stress out. Your rolls don’t have to be perfect. The first one might even fall apart, but even if it does you’ll pick up the pieces, smush them together and (hopefully!) enjoy eating it anyway. The second one will be better, and the third will be a breeze.

The detailed instructions are down in the recipe below, but basically you want to fill, but not overstuff your roll. Spread the rice, assemble your filling, then use the bamboo mat to tuck and roll over the filling (pictured above). When you’re at the end, use the mat to gently press and shape the roll.

Place the roll cut side down and use a very sharp knife to slice it into pieces.

These are best enjoyed just after they’re rolled, but the dipping sauce and mushrooms can be made in advance to speed up the process. If you want to make this in advance (i.e. for lunch the next day) store whole, uncut rolls wrapped up in the fridge. This keeps the rice from drying out after the pieces are cut. Slice as you’re ready to eat.

If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, give this Avocado & Mango Brown Rice Sushi option a try.

Happy rolling!

Shiitake Maki with Carrot Ginger Sauce

  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • ½ cup chopped roasted carrots (about ¾ cup raw carrots)
  • ⅓ to ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed well
  • 2 cups water*
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 nori sheets
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3 long thin strips of cucumber
  • ½ avocado, sliced into strips
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Tamari, for serving
  • Pickled ginger, optional, for serving
  1. Prepare the roasted shiitakes: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large and small baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the shiitake mushrooms with the olive oil and tamari and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on the large baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned around the edges. On the second sheet, roast the carrots for the dipping sauce.
  2. Make the carrot ginger dipping sauce: In a blender, combine the roasted carrots, water, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt and blend until creamy. Chill until ready to use and set aside the shiitakes until you’re ready to roll.
  3. Make the sushi rice: In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, water, and olive oil and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and fold in the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Cover until ready to use.
  4. Assemble the maki sushi rolls. Place a small bowl of water and a kitchen towel near your work area as your hands will get sticky. Place one nori sheet, glossy side down, onto a bamboo mat and press a handful of rice onto the lower two-thirds of the sheet. At the bottom of the rice place your toppings (see picture). Don’t overfill or it will be more difficult to roll. Use the bamboo mat to tuck and roll the nori. Once rolled, use the bamboo mat to gently press and shape the roll. Place the roll to the side, cut side down. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  5. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the sushi. Wipe the knife clean with a damp towel between cuts.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the dipping sauce, tamari, and pickled ginger, if desired.
*If using a rice cooker, use 1½ cups water and omit the olive oil.To store your rolls overnight, store them uncut, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge. This helps keep the rice from drying out. Slice as you’re ready to eat.



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Vegetarian Recipes


“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.


Serves 6


2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
fresh, torn basil


In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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