January 21st, 2011

…no, not usually, but today I did. Why? Because I can. The result? Mexican-style sushi. I was in a creative mood this week, so I combined what I believe to be the two most delicious gifts brought to this world: Mexican food and sushi.

What was probably the greatest challenge of putting this little creation together was making the brown rice into sushi rice material. Because brown rice is often harder and not as sticky as sushi rice, it is usually avoided at all costs. Luckily my idea to combine melted shredded Mexican cheese with the brown rice made it perfectly sticky for sushi. Brown rice really isn’t a gimmick; it truly surpasses white rice when it comes to nutrition. The oil in the brown rice helps lower cholesterol levels while its high level of manganese helps the body synthesize fatty acids and produce energy. Highly concentrated with fiber, brown rice also significantly reduces the risk of colon cancer. Even better, brown rice fills you up faster, so you won’t be tempted to eat too much of this sushi!

I originally planned to use chipotle peppers for the sauce to be drizzled over the sushi, but I was fortunately forced to use roasted piquillo peppers as a substitute because Trader Joe’s doesn’t seem to carry chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Piquillo peppers, like the brown rice, are rich in fiber. Not only that, they also are high in vitamins A, B, E, and particularly C. The vitamin C level in piquillo peppers is similar to the amount found in a citrus fruit! These hot little peppers may just be able to help you get through the cold season (and no, I’m not talking about the weather).

Orange bell peppers, which were used as one of the sushi fillings, are also high in vitamin C. Did I mention that vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants? Beta-cryptoxanthin-rich foods, which have orange-red carotenoids, like orange bell peppers are known for lowering the risk of cancer.

Just when you didn’t think this recipe could be packed with any more vitamins, Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw came along to prove otherwise. Broccoli stalk is also high in vitamins B and C, as well as K, which helps regulate normal blood clotting in the body.

If you’re looking for a vitamin-packed recipe that will satisfy your Mexican and sushi cravings, this recipe is a must. Don’t forget to eat it with chopsticks- it gets messy!

Mexican-Style Sushi
Makes 1 Roll (6 pieces)

1/3 packet of TJ’s frozen organic brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup TJ’s chunky salsa
1/8 cup TJ’s fancy shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/8 cup mayonnaise
2 TJ’s roasted piquillo peppers, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of half of a lime
1 tbsp cilantro, minced
1 whole wheat flour tortilla
2 pieces of TJ’s grilled chicken strips
Orange bell pepper, julienned into 4 slices
2 tbsp TJ’s organic broccoli slaw
2 slices avocado

Microwave one packet of brown rice according to directions on box (microwaves in 3 minutes). Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for one minute. Add 1/3 of the brown rice packet to the pan and combine with the salsa for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cheese. After stirring for another 2 minutes, transfer rice to a container and refrigerate until ready for use.

Puree the mayonnaise, piquillo peppers, garlic, lime, and cilantro in a blender until combined. Set aside until ready for use.

To soften the tortilla, place it between a dampened paper towel and microwave on high for 15 seconds. Cut the tortilla into a square (the larger the better).

Spread rice evenly over the tortilla, leaving a 1-inch border at the far edge (this step is necessary because the rice will spread out when you roll it). Smear a thin line of the mayonnaise sauce across the middle. Arrange the chicken strips, bell pepper, broccoli slaw, and avocado on top of the sauce. Roll up the sushi tightly (starting with the opposite end of the 1-inch tortilla border) to form a tightly packed cylinder. Squeeze firmly to ensure the roll is intact. Cut the roll into sixths with a sharp knife. Arrange sushi pieces on a plate and drizzle with remaining mayonnaise sauce.

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One Response to “You Eat Your Burrito with Chopsticks?”

  1. Leah says:

    These look tasty! You could consider using TJ’s Salsa Verde as a sauce for this. I just discovered pea shoots in their fresh produce section that would make a nutritious addition to your recipe. They’re crispy and slightly peppery in flavor. You’ve probably had them in sushi before as Japanese restaurants love to use them.