I am SO excited to share this recipe for Quinoa Futomaki Rolls with Marinated Mushrooms, Cucumber & Carrots today. These are a lot of fun to make and if you’re feeling creative in the kitchen the filling combinations for these rolls are virtually endless. Futomaki is cylindrical in shape, usually rolled with nori on the outside. Typically futomaki is five to six centimetres (2 to 2.5”) in diameter and made with two, three, or more fillings. You can really use just about any veggie, or even fruit as a filling. Ensure that you cut your filling items into even strips, about 1/4 inch thickness. Pictured in the photo are combinations of carrots, cucumber and marinated mushrooms.
Today I am sharing a recipe for mushrooms marinated in coconut sauce as a suggested filling option. Mushrooms are little powerhouses, packed with good-for-you nutrients. They have been used medicinally in Japan and China for millennia as they contain immune-boosting compounds and are a great source of zinc, iron and some B vitamins too.*
The coconut sauce I am referring to in the marinade is a savoury vegan, gluten-free sauce that is made from coconut sap. It is often called coconut sauce or coconut aminos and is an alternative to soy sauce that I highly recommend. Coconut sap is very low glycemic (GI of only 35), is an abundant source of minerals, vitamin C, amino acids, broad-spectrum B vitamins and has a nearly neutral pH level. It has a similar flavour to soy sauce and can be subbed in place of soy-sauce in marinades, stir-fry, dressings and can be served with sushi.**
Quinoa is another great plant-based powerhouse food in this recipe. Lately I have noticed that the health benefits of quinoa sometime gets overlooked due to some misconceptions. The two biggest concerns I often hear when people speak about quinoa is that it is a grain, and therefore not a grain-free option, and that it is loaded with carbs. Today is the day to debunk these two common myths about quinoa and dispel the fear and false rumours!
Number 1: Quinoa is not a grain.
Quinoa is often mistakenly referred to as a grain, but in actuality it is a seed or pseudo-grain (an ancient grain but still classified as a seed), and as such, it is inherently grain and gluten-free. What makes this little seed so powerful is that it is a high source of plant-based protein. In comparison to grain foods, it contains significantly more protein. To illustrate this point: 1 cup of quinoa contains 24 grams of protein, whereas, 1 cup of couscous, for instance, only contains 6 grams of protein. Quinoa also boasts the full range of essential amino acids and provides a spectrum of B vitamins, like B5, which is essential for the adrenal glands to produce a healthy response to stress.*
Number 2: Quinoa is not a “bad” carb.
You’ve probably heard that quinoa is a carbohydrate, but it is not just any carb and should not be discredited as such because it is a superfood, loaded with plant-powered nutrients and protein. Generally, carbohydrates get a bad rap because they are usually misunderstood. Often carbs are associated to processed junk food like doughnuts and white bread, which are sources of bad carbs (refined carbs) and should be avoided. The reason that these refined carbs are feared is that the fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in the original food form are removed during processing and accordingly, are not available to the consumer.***
On the flip side of the coin there are the good carbs, specifically those from plant-based sources that provide us with essential fibre and energy and also help maintain healthy body weight. This includes quinoa which is a complex carbohydrate, meaning that it contains three or more sugars (long chain). Quinoa falls into this category alongside brown rice, butternut squash, buckwheat, beans, lentils and sweet potatoes. The fibre and starch found in these complex carbs help us control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, keep you feeling full and reduce fat storage and are therefore a fantastic addition to a balanced diet.***
In this recipe I recommend soaking the quinoa before cooking. Soaking legumes, seeds, nuts and pseudo-grains before eating them is a practice of food preparation that has been around for thousands of years. Soaking aids with digestion by neutralizing enzyme inhibitors and by breaking down phytic acid, which in turn allows our bodies to absorb the beneficial nutrients and enzymes from the food source. Enzyme inhibitors and phytates (phytic acid) naturally occur in plants in order to protect themselves from predators but when consumed they can actually interfere with the absorption of proteins and nutrients and cause digestive discomfort.*** Please note that it is important to use filtered water when soaking and to add a little acid to the water in order to break down phytates. I prefer to use lemon juice as the acid as it does not impact the flavour of the food I am soaking.
Here’s how to make these crowd pleasing rolls:
Step 1 : Quinoa Prep
1 cup organic quinoa
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup organic rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp cane sugar
[this will yield 3 cups cooked quinoa]
- Rinse quinoa and place into medium size bowl. Add lemon juice and 4 cups of filtered water. Cover with towel and allow to soak for a minimum of 6 hours.
- After soaking, rinse quinoa thoroughly and place in small sauce pan. Add about 1 to 2 cups filtered water and cover with lid. Note: the amount of water you will add at this stage will depend on how long you’ve soaked the quinoa. You do not want to end up with mushy quinoa so I find that it is always best to start with a lesser amount and add more as required.
- Place on stove over medium heat. Once the water comes to a boil reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove pot from stove and allow quinoa to cool.
- Add vinegar and cane sugar, stirring well to ensure even distribution.
Step 2: Marinated Mushrooms
2 tbsp, or more to taste, Coconut Sauce (natural soy sauce alternative)
1/2 to 1 tsp (to taste) grated fresh ginger
1 cup organic mushrooms, sliced
- Combine mushrooms, ginger coconut sauce in a small bowl, cover and allow to marinade for a couple of hours. This can be done the night before (I left mine to marinade for about 12 hours).
- Heat a small frying pan and add mushrooms, stirring over medium-low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through. [You may need to add a small drop of unrefined virgin coconut oil if your pan is not non-stick.]
Step 3: Rolling Futomaki
7 - 8 sheets of Organic Toasted Sushi Nori (I like to use Emerald Cove)
Desired filling cut into even strips (1/4 inch thickness)
- Cover a bamboo sushi roller with plastic wrap. If you do not have a roller just use a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface.
- Place nori on top of plastic and spread a thin, even layer of quinoa leaving about 1/2 inch empty on the edge of the nori that is furthest from you.
- Place your filling ingredients along the edge of the nori that is closest to you. A 1/2 inch width of filling usually works best.
- Fold the edge that is closest to you inwards making sure to keep the filling tightly compacted and continue to tightly roll towards the edge that is furthest from you.
- Once you have formed a roll wrap the plastic wrap around the roll. If you’re using a bamboo sushi roller wrap it around the roll after you have wrapped the plastic layer. Firmly squeeze the roll using both hands, starting from the inside and working outwards and ensuring that the roll is an even thickness.
- Remove roll from plastic wrap and cut into 8 even pieces with a sharp knife.
- Serve with coconut sauce and wasabi and/or ginger.
Much love, #LoveWildLiveFree
(Use organic ingredients)
*Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.
**”Coconut Aminos." Coconut Aminos. Coconut Secret, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2015. <https://www.coconutsecret.com/aminos2.html>.
***Crosby, Heather. Yum Universe. Dallas: BenBella, 2014. Print.