What a week it has been! I finished Level One at Matthew Kenney Culinary, a plant-based, totally raw culinary school in Los Angeles and presented my final presentation. The last week of the course was about designing and implementing our own raw vegan appetizer/ dinner/ dessert and presenting it to the class and chefs to be graded. We were not allowed to use recipes from books or repeat anything we learned in the class to illustrate our own creativity and had to utilize the skills we learned this month, such as knife skills, dehydration and flavor balancing.
I spent a long time deciding what I wanted to make that would represent me. I wanted to make something that was as visually appealing as it was healthy and delicious.
In my eyes, food is art, as well as medicine. As a nutritionist and healer, I find that the reason people eat unhealthy foods is not because they don’t know it’s unhealthy.. It’s because beautifully rolled stuffed sushi rolls and ooey gooey donuts are way more tempting than a plain old salad.. which is why I decided to recreate them, the Freshie way. Using only raw, plant-based ingredients (fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) I formulated the entire menu, recreating these classics but in a totally new way.
Instead of regular sushi rolls, I decided to make a cake so it’s much more celebratory. I love cakes, as well as sushi, so what better than merging the two?
In my sushi days, my favorite fish was always salmon so I recreated it using sunflower seeds, walnuts, carrots and other ingredients which I’ll share below.
Rather than carb-heavy rice which feeds candida and destabilizes our blood sugar levels, I created a plant-based rice out of jicama. Jicama is a Mexican root vegetable with almost no calories and tons of nutritional value. It has a very mild flavor, which makes it a great rice replacement that can easily be flavored with rice vinegar.
As a sauce, I created a plant-based teriyaki sauce, free of added sugar, soy and excess sodium. Instead of soy sauce, I used coconut aminos which is a low-sodium, coconut-based alternative with plenty of health benefits. I also utilized apple cider vinegar, onion powder, ginger, garlic and other ingredients which I’ll also share with you in the recipe below.
No sushi roll is complete without avocado, so I layered slices of avocado carpaccio within it.
The reason we all love eating sushi is because it is so delicate and refined. We feel good eating something that we know so much effort was put behind. We eat more mindfully when our portions are set out for us, which is why we really take our time with sushi.
I wanted to make sure I recreated the fineness of sushi in my recipe. To get this super clean circular shape, I plated the cake within a ring-mold to give it it’s shape. The rice vinegar in the jicama rice made it sticky, preventing the sushi cake from falling apart during presentations.
Less is more, so I cut a simple stripe of nori next to the cake and put a beautiful, Japanese style spoon filled with the teriyaki sauce right on the plate. Much of the Matthew Kenney style is about minimalism and since my galaxy donuts were really loud and proud, I decided to make a more subtle entrée.
Now that you’re curious, here is the recipe!
Raw Vegan Sushi Cake. Sunflower “Salmon.” Jicama “Rice.” Avocado Carpaccio. Plant-based Teriyaki.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked at least 30 minutes
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lemon, juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoon chopped dulse or kelp (this is optional but gives it a “fishy” taste)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- optional: 4-5 tbsp fresh dill or 1 tbsp dried dill
- optional: 3 chopped green onions or ¼ small red onion
- 1 jicama, peeled and chopped
- 1 asian pear, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sugar-free Lakanto maple syrup, made of monkfruit (use sahara for 20% off)
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- ? tsp cayenne
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 avocado
- Optional: ginger and coconut amino marinated beet, nori, wasabi greens
- To make the salmon, blend or process all the ingredients except the dill and green onions.
- Add in the dill and green onion and pulse.
- Scrape out with spatula and store in a container in the refrigerator.
- To make the rice, blend or process the jicama and pear, until it looks like rice.
- Remove from blender/processor and place in a nut-milk bag. Squeeze out the excess water.
- Place the remaining fiber within the nut-milk bag in a bowl. It will look like a giant clump. Add the 2 tsp rice vinegar and salt. With your hands, separate the clump so it looks like rice.
- To make the teriyaki sauce, combine the teriyaki ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Slice avocado into fine carpaccio pieces, about 1/8 inch thick.
- To assemble, place a 2-inch ring mold on a clean plate.
- Scoop out one spoon of the jicama rice and pat down.
- Add on a scoop of the salmon and press down again.
- Add in several pieces of the avocado carpaccio. Cut around the edges so it is round and fits the mold.
- Add another layer of the jicama rice and salmon, repeating the process.
- Top with ginger and coconut amino marinated beet and micro-wasabi or just more avocado.
- Remove ring mold from top and voila- you have your beautiful, layered sushi cake!