As I mentioned last week, I’ve been trying to cook through the food stash in my pantry. I’m kind of amazed at just how much I have in there. I’ve been making stir-fries, pasta dishes, and veggie burgers, and I still have quite a lot of food. Grocery store trips have been reserved to produce and perishables like tofu and tempeh, so I spent a lot less on food in June.
As the weather heats up, I’m ready to move away from those rice and pasta based dishes. I like to eat cooling raw foods in the summer months, and I’ve been craving salads and wraps. Also, I recently read Bella Mahaya Carter’s memoir Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy, which has inspired me to get into the kitchen and experimenting with un-cooking again.
A few years ago, when my Vitamix and dehydrator were new, I spent an entire summer un-cooking. I made zucchini-based wraps, raw corn tortillas, sunflower seed breads, buckwheat crusted pizzas, “pastas” with nut cheese filling, and lots and lots of kale chips. Then, the cold weather hit and comfort food cravings hit. I lost interest in raw meals. I do eat raw foods in the summer, but not as much as I did back then.
As I was cooking my way through my pantry, I found a rouge package of nori hanging out at the back of a shelf. It’s not too old—I bought it a few months ago to make sushi bowls—but I didn’t want to leave it to linger back there for much longer. It got me thinking of my raw days, because I often made wraps using nori as the “bread.”
These vegan Sushi Wraps were one of my go-to lunches during my raw summer. The inspiration for them came from two different recipes from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden. There’s a delicious sunflower seed cheese in the book that I still make often, but over the years I’ve tweaked it to my liking, adding miso and nutritional yeast. I’ve added it to the book’s Asian Vegetable Nori Rolls, which make with some of my favorite sandwich fillings.
In these wraps, collard leaves are placed on top of the nori sheets, before the vegetables are added. The collards protect the nori from the moisture of the vegetables, as it would shrivel or tear if it got too wet. If you don’t like the taste of seaweed, just skip it and go straight to the collards, as they make excellent wraps.
I like to fill my wraps with avocado, cucumber, carrots, and red bell pepper, but this is a versatile recipe, so you can use pretty much any vegetable you prefer.
These wraps will hold up for a few hours in the fridge, so they can be made ahead of time. They’re great for a packed lunch for work and they’re terrific on weekend picnics, too.
Vegan Sushi Wraps
For the Sunflower Seed Cheese
- ¾ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for about 4 hours, drained, and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon miso
For the Wraps
- 4 sheets of nori
- 4 large collard leaves, tough stems removed (the leaves can be cut in half, if it’s easier)
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 medium-sized cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
Make the Cheese
Mix all of the ingredients together in a food processor until thoroughly combined. The cheese will be a little lumpy, which is okay.
Make the Wraps
Lay a sheet of nori out on a clean, dry surface. Place a collard leaf on top if it. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the sunflower seed cheese long one of the sides, about half an inch from the edge.
Layer on some of the avocado, carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper.
Take the edge with the filling and gently roll it, tucking the filling in with your fingers, if necessary. Wet the edge of the nori to seal the roll.
Repeat with the remaining three sheets of nori.
Serve cold or at room temperature.