Today I have a sushi recipe for you, which I have made rather large quantities of in the past couple of weeks. I am head over heels with the combination of creamy avocado, sweet winter squash, green onion slivers and some salty “bacon”….made from roasted shiitake mushrooms!
It all started when I came across this video via Natural Gourmet Institute’s Facebook page. When I first watched it, I have to admit I was skeptical, but I had to find out for myself if fungus could really become the perfect soy-free bacon substitute. I purchased a single carton of shiitakes, trimmed the woody ends, sliced them into thin strips, and roasted them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for forty-five minutes. After the first fifteen minutes, they looked like they would if they had been sautéed on the stovetop, but gradually they transformed into magical, salty, crispy bites of pure umami joy. I regretted that I had only purchased one carton! They cook down considerably, so don’t be afraid to buy a large quantity if you happen to find a good price on them. (Ha. Just go crazy one time and make some ridiculously expensive vegan bacon that actually tastes good, trust me).
For weeks I was doing the thing where I think about how I can use an ingredient in an awesome and unexpected way on the subway, in the bakery, while I should be meditating on finding balance, etc., and I came up with this!
You can really use any hard winter squash you desire. I’ve made it with kabocha, acorn, and delicatata, but I think the kabocha and delicatata were my favorites. Butternut or pumpkin would also work well. In my version, I also used forbidden rice, which is nutty and delicious, but I mostly just bought it because it contains molybdenum, an exciting trace mineral. Short grain brown rice is cool, too.
Finally, I made a dipping sauce that was the result of many, many failed attempts at using ume plum vinegar to make an Asian inspired salad dressing. The final verdict was that anything I made containing ume plum vinegar tasted like an abomination. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown out so many batches of a recipe before. If something doesn’t taste inedible, I will eat it anyway, but unfortunately ume plum vinegar tastes like MSG with salt concentrate in liquid form. Has anyone had success with it before? On the bright side, I threw that vinegar back in the pantry for another day of disaster and pulled out some ingredients I know I enjoy and whipped them into a tangy sweet sauce which accompanies the sushi recipe perfectly.
The best way to construct this recipe is to prepare the rice, winter squash, and shiitake bacon the day before you would like to eat the sushi, or at least the morning of, so that you can do other things during the passive portion of the cooking.
You won’t use a whole avocado, batch of “bacon,” or roasted squash for a single recipe, so I suggest doubling the rice so you can also use a whole avocado and a couple more green onions. You’ll still have squash leftover even with that, but I’m sure it won’t go to waste.
If you don’t have a bamboo sushi mat, fret not…I successfully made nori wraps using the same ingredients when I was in a hurry the other day. Enjoy!
Avocado “Bacon” Kabocha Sushi with Miso Mustard Sauce
About 60-90 minutes passive cooking time, depending on whether or not you cook rice and roast things simultaneously, 20 minutes active
For the shiitake bacon:
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, dirt wiped away, woody stems trimmed, and sliced
- extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, toss the shiitake mushrooms with the extra virgin olive oil, then spread them out evenly in a roasting pan. Roast for forty-five minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the squash:
- one hard winter squash of your choice- kabocha, delicatata (may need a couple of delicatata if they are super small), etc.-peeled, seeds scraped out and cut into strips that are approximately two to three inches long and half an inch wide
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil works, too)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the squash strips in the oil and roast for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the sushi rice:
- 2/3 c forbidden rice
- 1 1/3 c water
- 1-2 tsp tamari
- 2 tbsp unseasoned brown rice vinegar
- 2 tsp agave nectar
Bring the rice to a boil on the stove top, then cover and simmer for thirty to forty minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for ten minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, agave nectar, and tamari, then sprinkle it over the rice and stir. Taste and adjust tamari if necessary.
For the Miso Mustard Sauce:
- 2 tbsp walnut oil (sesame would be good, too)
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp miso
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp agave nectar
Whisk all ingredients violently in a small mixing bowl, until no miso lumps remain.
For the sushi:
- The ingredients listed above plus
- half an avocado, cut into strips
- two green onions, dark green parts removed, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- two raw nori sheets
Place a sushi mat on a cutting board and lay the nori with the shiny side facing down. Make sure the end nearest you is lined up directly over the mat. Take about 3/4 c of rice and using damp fingers, press it in an even layer, leaving the top part of the nori with about 1 3/4 inches of open space. An inch from the bottom, line up half the avocado strips, followed by a line of squash, half the green onion strips, and a couple of tbsp of shiitake bacon. Using your fingers, keep the filling in place as you lift the bottom of the mat to meet just above the top edge of the rice. Pull tightly on the top part of the mat to squeeze it all together, then roll the rest of the nori tightly. Placing the log seam side down, use a wet knife to slice into individual pieces. Repeat for the second nori sheet. Serve with your favorite sushi condiments, or just the miso mustard dressing if you like!
Have you known the wonders of shiitake mushroom bacon? Any favorite uses?
Have a happy Friday!