Sushi is one of my favorite foods in the world. Sometimes, though, it can be a real pain to procure. If I’m not in the mood to hit up a restaurant, what am I supposed to do? Roll my own sushi at home? A fun activity, but pretty time-intensive for the average American. Who has a sushi mat, anyway? So I came up with the next best thing—or maybe even better: sushi salad!
That might sound a little weird, but let me explain. All you do is break down all of your favorite parts of a sushi roll—rice, seaweed, fish, and fun condiments like soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger—and serve them over spicy Japanese greens, and there you have it: a beautiful and fun-to-eat plate! Sugoi!
While sushi used to be super exotic, these days it’s pretty easy to find most of the more unique ingredients in mainstream grocery stores. Pickled ginger and wasabi paste are readily available in the Asian section, and even seaweed has become pretty accessible; for example these seaweed snacks by Annie Chun’s even come in non-intimidating packaging and cool flavors (like wasabi—perfect for this salad).
Deconstructed Hot & Cold Sushi Salad
A spicy Japanese green, mizuna that is not too obscure, but feel free to sub arugula if you can’t find it in your market. I like to serve my ahi on a bed of this peppery stuff.
Seared ahi tuna steak:
This is the piece de resistance of the salad, and it looks impressive, but it’s really easy. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on high heat until it’s very, very hot. Place a good quality ahi or big-eye tuna steak into the pan and sear for just about 30 seconds on each side. Set it out on a cutting board while prepping the rest of the plate, then cut into fat slices and nestle them in the mizuna.
I like to cook mine in coconut milk for more flavor. Prepare your rice as you normally would, but sub light coconut milk for water, or try equal parts coconut milk and broth or water. Add salt and chili flakes to taste.
Look for a package of surimi (crab sticks) at the store; usually you can find this in most big-name grocers’ refrigerated seafood section near the fresh seafood counter. Shred your surimi and add mayonnaise to taste. This will make a crab salad just like what you find in California rolls at a sushi restaurant. For spicy crab salad, add a generous squirt of Sriracha!
Whisk 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of wasabi paste (depending on how spicy you’re feeling) with equal parts rice vinegar and olive oil until you reach the desired amount of dressing and spice level. Whisk in 1/2c mayonnaise. Mix in soy sauce to taste.
Dried seaweed snacks
Arrange the components on your plate, drizzle the dressing over everything, and enjoy! This can be eaten as a straight-up salad (obviously, duh) or sometimes I like to use it as a basis to make my very own sushi handrolls – take a seaweed paper, add a bed of rice, some crab salad, seared tuna, and avocado. Dip in your wasabi dressing or more soy sauce. Next time a sushi craving strikes, you’ll have a homemade and delicious alternative to throwing down money at an overpriced sushi bar. You’re welcome.