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Habit-Forming Raw Nori Rolls with “Salmon” Filling and Spicy Ginger-Miso Paste

Dogs really are creatures of habit, aren’t they?  I mean, every morning at precisely 7:02 AM (about 1-1/2 minutes after the HH slams off his alarm), Chaser bounds into our bedroom and lays a wet sloppy one on the HH’s ear (translation:  “Dad, it’s time to get up! Get up, Dad, we need to go for our walk!  C’mon, Dad! Let’s go!  Just hop outa bed and take us! C’mon, what are you waiting for?  C’mon—“ etc.). 

Then, at precisesly 1:15 PM every afternoon, Elsie saunters over to my desk and plants herself at my side, glaring (and if you’ve ever seen a Border Collie stare, you know the power of “the eye.”).  If I continue to focus on the computer screen and tap away at the keyboard, she will tentatively and ever-so-gently poke me on the thigh with her moist, cold nose (more startling in summer when I’m wearing shorts, to be sure).  Translation:  “Mum, I feel I must inform you that the hour has arrived for our afternoon walk.  Seriously, Mum, it appals me that you could forget this important hour of the day.  After all, do we not go for a stroll each and every day of the week at this time?  And are we not reliant upon you to take us?  Now, please, offer us the courtesy of rising up from your chair and coming downstairs so that we may embark–right now.” 

Yep, like I said, creatures of habit.  Later, at precisely 4:53 PM every day, both Girls heave themselves off their respective pillows to pad into the office and station themselves on either side of me as I work, staring intently in a silent summons like bookmarked lawn gnomes.  Translation:  “Mum, it’s almost dinner time.  Where the &%$!@ is our food?”  (Okay, perhaps they weren’t as profane as that.  But it’s always fun to imagine dogs cursing, isn’t it?).

Given that I was born in the Year of the Dog myself, it makes sense that I, too, am a creature of habit.  Or, at least, I used to be. Before I met the HH.

Like South Park’s stance with Canada, I tend to blame the HH for my current shortcomings.  Long before we met, in my twenties (also known as the Decade of Firsts, in which I first went to university, first lived on my own, and first met not one, but two true loves), I was incredibly organized and even followed an hour-by-hour schedule every day, permitting me to live through an entire university career without ever missing a deadline.  Subsequently, during the Decade of the Dinner Party, I still managed a schedule jam-packed with socializing, full-time work, sewing my own clothes (!), and regular trips to and from Montreal. 

Enter my 40s and the HH: not only did I meet my true love, but my lasting love.  It was around that time–when the HH and I first moved in together–that chaos erupted.  Okay, not chaos, exactly, but certainly the reorganizing of closets.    And–even while continuing to throw dinner parties–going to bed without washing all the dishes first (gasp!).  And being open to unplanned activities.  And (and here’s where I blame the HH) the eschewing rigid schedules.

Well, despite his disdain for pre-planning or scheduling, the HH is his own uniquely habitual creature.  Unlike me, he eats the same breakfast every day* (I prefer to rotate through 25 or so different options).  The HH takes the dogs to the same park every morning  (I switch it up between the park, the baseball field, the Mill Pond, and trail).   The HH can listen to the same symphony over and over, sometimes for hours (I rarely listen to the same CD twice in a row–unless it’s a new, incredibly talented singer that I adore, of course).

Which brings me to today’s recipe (finally!). As you may recall, the HH and I used to keep a weekly date every Tuesday, wherein I’d meet him for a sushi lunch.  But since the anti-candida regime I follow doesn’t permit sushi (no white rice, no vinegar, no sugar, blah blah blah), I’ve had to forgo our midday shared meal.  Do I miss that sushi?  You bet!  (Well, and yes, I do also miss meeting the HH for lunch every week. . . but really, we do see each other every evening for dinner, and when we walk the dogs, and when we watch 30 Rock, and when we have brunch on Sundays, and when we tidy the house together before friends come over, and when we run errands on Saturdays, and when we. . . geez, maybe we’re overdoing this togetherness thing a bit, anyway).   

I decided I’d whip up my favorite at-home sushi for lunch on my own. Since the original version wasn’t exactly ACD-friendly, I adapted; instead of the orignal sundried tomatoes (which are taboo on the ACD), I made my own semi-dried oven baked tomatoes.  (Who says I can’t be flexible? No rigid recipes for this doglike gal!).  Well, it worked beautifully.  The rolls are (mostly) raw, grain-free, and reminiscent of salmon (in my memory, anyway).  All I can say is, “domo arigato!”  And it sure did feel great to get back to that old sushi habit, even if I shared it with The Girls instead of the HH. 

We enjoyed it, too, Mum.  Thanks for sharing.  But, um, didn’t I hear you say something about salmon?” 

* A bowl of Raisin Bran with milk, if you’d like to know.

Raw Nori Rolls with “Salmon” Filling and Spicy Ginger-Miso Paste

adapted from a recipe from Enlightened Eating (spiralbound edition)

A great recipe for those avoiding grains or anyone seeking a delicious variation on sushi.  If you’re not following an anti-candida regime, go ahead and make the original.  The Miso paste can be enjoyed by anyone.

Nori Rolls:

3/4 cup (135 g) raw almonds with skin

1 pint (about 500 ml) ripe grape tomatoes

2 tsp (10 ml) light miso

1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp (10 ml) Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari or soy sauce

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

cut vegetables for filling:  zucchini, cucumber, carrots, avocado, daikon, green onion, etc.

2 sheets nori (sushi wrappers)

Spicy Ginger-Miso Paste:

1 Tbsp (15 ml) white miso

1/8-1/4 tsp (.5-1 ml) cayenne pepper, depending on desired heat

1 tsp (5 ml) toasted sesame oil

2 tsp (10 ml) finely grated fresh ginger

1 tsp (5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the nori rolls:

Prepare the “Salmon” filling: Soak almonds in room temperature water for 8-12 hours.  If you soak them longer, refresh the water after 12 hours and store in refrigerator for up to one more day.  Drain and rinse before using.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes:  preheat oven to 300F/150C (or, for a completely raw dish, heat to 115F/45C or use a dehydrator).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or grease with extra virgin olive oil. Cut each tomato in half and place cut side up on the baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven 1-2 hours, checking every 20 minutes after the one-hour mark, until tomatoes exude most of their juice and begin to shrivel and brown slightly.  (If using a dehydrator, dehydrate until shrivelled).

Place drained almonds, tomatoes, 2 tsp (10 ml) miso, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice, Bragg’s and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until almost smooth.  Set aside.

Prepare the Paste: in a small bowl, mix together all ingredients with a spoon until well combined and smooth. 

Assemble the rolls: Spread about half of the miso-ginger paste over the nori sheet, spreading to the edge on 3 sides, leaving about 1/2 inch (2.5 cm) empty on one edge.  Top with about half the salmon spread.  Place 3-4 rows of desired vegetables along the edge opposite the empty edge, like so:

Next, use a sushi mat or just your hands, roll tightly starting at the edge with the cut vegetables.  When you reach the empty stripe at the end of the nori sheet, moisten it with a bit of water and then roll up, leaving the seam down (against the table).  Cut into 5-8 pieces.  Repeat with second nori sheet.  Makes 2 servings.

Totally unrelated note:  One of today’s Google searches leading to my blog read,  “Die Dessert Dogs.”  Is that a typo, or just a really ticked off blog reader?

Last Year at this Time: The Biscuit and the Scramble (to Woo Your Rake)

Two Years Ago: Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Mini (or not) Muffins

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


29 comments to Habit-Forming Raw Nori Rolls with “Salmon” Filling and Spicy Ginger-Miso Paste

  • These look beautiful and sound great. I can’t wait to play around with this idea. Thanks so much for sharing!



  • you’re so creative with your recipe adaptations! your ACD doesn’t seem to hold you back at all! the rolls are gorgeous! i love 30 rock too, so funny


  • I am going to make this, maybe tonight! I love sushi, but I’m always looking for something to replace the basically nutrient void white rice. Quinoa works well, but this part of the world has been out of quinoa for months now. Your recipe looks FANTASTIC! Thank you!

    My dogs are JUST like this! At 6am they wake us up for breakfast, then they sleep all morning. Then at 9:30 I am the victim of an all out dingo assault because it is morning WALK TIME!!! Then at 12pm it is 3 tense and ready statues, staring at me, never letting me more than 2 feet away from them because it is lunch time. Then at 3pm it is afternoon WALK TIME, and then at 5pm it is dinner time.

    If I am ever a few minutes off on any of these things it is rough! They can’t talk but oh boy they are demanding and pushy in their own way!


  • Raw nori is the way to go! This must have tasted heavenly.


  • Oh your dogs sound like mine! They certainly have their schedules down pat (and so do we). Those rolls look really tasty by the way.


  • That spicy ginger-miso paste is a dream!


  • Very cool! This sounds wonderful =D.


  • This looks great! And I understand about dogs and schedules too – even cats. All of my animals start getting antsy around their usual dinner time, but the cat is the worst! She yells… loudly… starting about half an hour before she is fed. Crazy beasts…


  • I didn’t think the humor in your posts had wandered off, but if you were concerned about it, then this post should assure you that the funniness is still around! 😀

    YAY for still being able to eat sushi! And oh my, Elsie is so articulate and polite!


  • These sound really good! And I know all about dogs and their routines. Mine start at 4:30am and want their run!


  • Jes

    The almond base is such a great idea, so creative!


  • Courtney

    Hahaha–I was born in the year of the dog too, and I am SO set in my routine and habits it isn’t even funny. I guess this is one time I am okay with being like a dog…it is too hard to change, lol 🙂

    Yum! Good call on roasting the tomatoes–I bet that is delicious!



  • those are lovely, and I do love the girls.


  • yum – delicious – but how frustrating to have your diet mess with your routine – especially a lunch date! I think in our house we are more like our cat who sits in the same spot for weeks and then suddenly is found regularly in another place and we look at each other and say ‘new spot’. We too go through phases – if only e and I could coordinate our phases


  • I love your description of the girls’ day! SO adorable, and such a perfect depiction of puppy routine! 🙂

    Your nori rolls look incredible – I love the idea of using homemade baked tomatoes instead of salmon! Brilliant!!


  • Stef,
    Thanks! It does sometimes feel restrictive (not enough chocolate for my taste), but otherwise the food is okay. I’m a recent convert to 30 Rock, so still learning. 🙂

    Voracious Vegan,
    Quinoa is a great idea for sushi–I adore it and never even thought of it! And I think my Girls need to meet your dogs!

    Well, you’ve reaffirmed for me why I don’t own cats. . . !! 😉

    Aw, thanks. But as they say, looks aren’t everything 😉 And yes, Elsie is definitely the polite one of the two. . . Chaser is just a little impish menace!

    Given how most people feel about their dogs, I’m proud to be associated with them!

    Well, I suppose I could still meet him for something other than sushi, but it just wouldn’t be the same. I love the Zinc story, though!


  • Ohhh..this looks amazing as always!


  • It’s so cool that you created nori rolls you can enjoy! They wouldn’t be for me, no matter how yummy they seem to be (the nori kills it for me: I’ve never liked the taste of anything coming from the sea), but that spicy ginger-miso paste is a totally different matter! I can see myself using it in quite a few different ways… Yum!


  • Oh my god what a wonderful idea!!! I’ll try it as soon as possible!!! kisses!


  • This looks absolutely amazing.


  • This looks really good! Love the idea of the almond pate instead of rice!


  • hiya, Ricki! i have so many points to address….
    1. your raw nori rolls ROCK! dan and i haven’t made sushi in forever, and i’ve never had raw rolls before – i’ve gotta give them a try! slow roasted tomatoes = the best!
    2. that is just too cool that you used to sew your own clothes. my mom did that a lot when i was little and i loved those clothes the most.
    3. i love me some 30 Rock. it’s one of the few television shows i’ll watch.
    4. dan eats the same breakfast during the weekdays: peanut butter & jelly on homemade whole wheat bread. i’m with you – i like to switch it up.
    5. our dog julie is a creature of habit, indeed. i ended up having to stay super late at work last night and got home way past when i normally do. dan said julie was waiting by the window that overlooks our driveway for the longest time. too funny that she knew i was late coming home. dogs crack me up, and i too think julie curses at me sometimes. like today, when i made her walk in the rain. ah ah ha!
    6. happy almost friday!


  • Mm, what an interesting change of pace from the usual sushi options! We make a raw sushi at work with an almond pate, but very different from this… I never thought that tomatoes were really sushi material, but I’d sure love to try them like this!


  • ricki – the recipe for that risotto is linked in the post…it should appear bright orange right before the first picture of the garlic 🙂


  • Hmmm. So it’s my husband’s fault that the housekeeping has slipped to nearly nothing, and I no longer sew my own clothes. I thought so but now I’m sure it must be true!

    The “salmon” rolls looks wonderful. You are so resourceful.


  • Hey, it really looks like salmon! But it’s surely much more tasty. You truly are a genius at keeping your diet interesting.


  • K

    One word: yum! Just made these today and despite my greatest efforts, couldn’t save the second roll for supper. Super tasty! I did cheat a bit though, used premade sundried tomatoes (my excuse was that I figured the anemic tomatoes from the grocery store at this time of year wouldn’t be flavourful enough)
    There will definitely be more of these in my future, thanks for introducing us!


    Ricki Reply:


    I’d use the pre-made sundried tomatoes myself if I were allowed–they are really much more flavorful (unless you’ve got a spare day or so to slowly dry out your own tomatoes). But unfortunately, the ACD won’t let me have dried fruits or vegs! 🙁


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