SALADS & PICKLES - Vegetarian Sushi Secrets: 101 Healthy and Delicious Recipes - Marisa Baggett

Vegetarian Sushi Secrets: 101 Healthy and Delicious Recipes - Marisa Baggett (2016)


Tangy sushi rice is a fine companion for salads and pickles featuring pungent, sharp flavors. Salads can be prepared quickly. Select a salad as a fresh first course, or use it in smaller quantities as a delicious addition to sushi platters. Pairing a sushi roll with a hearty serving of salad makes for a fulfilling lunch or casual dinner.

Pickles require more patience than salads, but the end result completely justifies the wait. Preparation is often simple and fast, but pickles can take anywhere from several minutes to several days to mature. Select a few pickles to keep on hand or use for an upcoming sushi experience. They keep well for weeks in the refrigerator when stored in plastic, glass or ceramic containers.

Party Spinach Salad and Quick Cucumber Salad are low-key crowd pleasers, while Miso Asparagus Salad and Crispy Eggplant with Fragrant Wilted Greens Salad are more suitable for enjoying in small gatherings. Pickled Ginger is a sushi staple that deserves to be made at least once at home. You may never return to the store-bought variety. Pickled Lotus Root and its spicy alternative are a little more exotic. Try them when you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.

Crispy Eggplant with Fragrant Wilted Greens Salad

Serve this dish at room temperature, rather than piping hot. You’ll find the flavors more pronounced. Add a handful of your favorite chopped nuts to make a complete meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Makes 4 Servings

2 medium-sized eggplants

Generous pinch of salt, plus more for soaking eggplant

1 cup (150 g) potato starch

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Oil for frying

1 lb (500 g) arugula

1 cup (250 ml) Sweet Chili Sauce (page 25), warmed

1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped

1 bunch fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped

1 bunch mint, chopped

Cut the eggplants into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes and place in a large non-metal bowl. Cover with water, add salt and stir. Cover (or weigh down with a plate) and allow to stand for 10 minutes. (This draws the bitterness out of the eggplant.)

Drain the eggplant cubes and place on paper towels to dry. In a large bowl, stir together the potato starch, onion powder, garlic powder and an additional pinch of salt. Toss the eggplant with the potato starch mixture, covering as much surface area as possible. Shake off any excess.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil to a depth of about ½ inch (1.25 cm). Heat to 350°F (175°C). Add the eggplant cubes and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

In a skillet, heat an additional 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Add the arugula and sauté until the greens just begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Arrange the wilted arugula around the edge of a serving platter and top with the fried eggplant. Pour warmed Sweet Chili Sauce on top. Garnish with chopped green onions, coriander leaves, and mint. Serve immediately.


Vegan Kimchi

Kimchi is another one of those tasty dishes that often contains dried seafood. If that isn’t your thing, here’s a version you can make at home. The best part? It’s relatively instant gratification: it can be ready in less than an hour.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Makes about 1½ lbs (750 grams)

1 small napa cabbage, cut into large chunks

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

One 1-in (2.5-cm) length daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced

4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

3 oz (85 g) pea sprouts

½ cup (135 g) salt, plus a generous pinch

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

½ cup (125 ml) garlic chili paste

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the napa cabbage, carrot, onion, daikon, green onions and pea sprouts in a medium bowl. Cover with the two tablespoons of salt and toss several times. The vegetables should begin to release a small amount of water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and drain. Squeeze the vegetables to release excess water.

Combine the turbinado sugar, miso paste, fresh ginger, garlic chili paste, rice vinegar, cayenne pepper and pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Add to the vegetables and stir well to coat each piece.

Allow the kimchi to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Quick Cucumber Salad

If you like your cucumbers with a little kick, add a teaspoon of garlic chili paste to the bowl before tossing together the ingredients.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Marinating Time: 10 minutes

Makes 4 servings

6 Japanese cucumbers or 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced

¾ cup (185 ml) Sushi Rice Dressing (page 20)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a small non-metal mixing bowl and toss together. Allow flavors to develop for 10 minutes at room temperature. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, pour off any excess liquid and then divide the salad among 4 small bowls.

Miso-Pickled Eggplant

You can reuse this pickling medium several times. Simply add more salted eggplant and stir thoroughly. You’ll know it’s time to start fresh when the miso begins to get thin and watery.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Pickling Time: 4 hours or up to 2 days

Makes about 6 servings

1 cup (275 g) miso

2 teaspoons mirin

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 globe eggplant, cut into ¼ in (5 mm) rounds or half-moons

2 tablespoons salt

In a glass container, combine the miso, mirin, grated ginger and garlic. Stir well and then set aside.

Place eggplant in a bowl filled with water. Add the salt. Weight the eggplant with a plate or heavy lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Drain the eggplant. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Add the eggplant to the miso mixture and stir to coat each piece thoroughly with miso. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

For a light pickle, remove eggplant from miso. Rinse off excess miso before enjoying. For a more flavorful pickle, refrigerate the covered dish and allow to sit undisturbed for 2 days before removing eggplant. Be sure to rinse off excess miso before serving.


Pickled Ginger

If you don’t have a mandoline, use a vegetable peeler to slice the ginger root as thinly as possible.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Makes about 4 servings

One 2-in (5-cm) length fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons salt

1 cup (250 ml) Sushi Rice Dressing (page 20)

3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine) or sweet sherry

Place the ginger slices in a colander and cover with salt. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse away the salt.

In a clean glass or ceramic container, combine the Sushi Rice Dressing and mirin or sweet sherry. Add the sliced ginger and toss to coat.

Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before using. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Pink Ginger

Add a slice of fresh beetroot to the glass container with the ginger and dressing. Stir or shake well for 2 minutes. Discard the beet slice before using the ginger.



Cut ginger into paper-thin slices.


Salt the ginger.


Toss ginger with dressing and mirin.


For pink ginger, add beet and stir or shake.

Miso Asparagus Salad

Since the asparagus is raw, you’ll want to use the freshest spears possible. Avoid asparagus with overly thick stalks, as these tend to be tough. For best results, make this salad when asparagus is in season.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb (500 g) fresh asparagus

½ cup (125 ml) Miso Dressing (page 24)

Shaved Parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)

Wash the asparagus and trim off the rough ends.

Fill a medium-sized bowl with cold water and add some ice cubes. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus spears. Place the shavings in the cold water until they begin to get curly.

Drain the shaved asparagus. Place in a large bowl and toss with Miso Dressing.

Serve immediately with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Pickled Lotus Root

It is not uncommon to slice open a lotus root and find that it is dirty inside. To clean, place lotus root slices in a bowl of cool water. Swish them around for a few seconds, then allow them to sit undisturbed. The lotus root slices will float to the top and the dirt will settle at the bottom of the bowl.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1½ minutes

Makes 4 servings

One 2-in (5-cm) length of fresh lotus root, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup (250 ml) Sushi Rice Dressing (page 20)

1 teaspoon grated beetroot

Peel the lotus root and cut into very thin slices.

Bring approximately 4 cups (1 liter) of water to a boil. Add the lotus root slices and blanch for 90 seconds, then plunge in ice water to cool completely.

Drain the lotus root slices, pat dry, and place in a ceramic or glass container. Add the Sushi Rice Dressing and grated beetroot. Toss well. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes for flavors to develop.

Serve Pickled Lotus Root at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days.


Spicy Pickled Lotus Root

Omit the fresh beetroot. Toss the blanched lotus root and the Sushi Rice Dressing with 1 sliced serrano pepper, ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root, 1 smashed garlic clove and 1 thinly sliced green onion (scallion). Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


Kale with Sesame Dressing

Use your favorite variety of kale for this salad. Even chopped collards or mustard greens can be substituted. The key to the salad is massaging the greens with the dressing. This helps to break down the coarse veins in the leaves and takes away the bitter “raw” flavor.

Prep Time: about 10 minutes

Makes 4 servings

1 lb (500 g) kale, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

½ cup (125 ml) Sesame Dressing (page 28)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

4 tablespoons dried cherries

2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

½ cup (40 g) toasted slivered almonds

Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and add the Sesame Dressing. Gently massage the kale and dressing together for 2 minutes.

Add the sesame seeds, dried cherries, green onions and slivered almonds. Toss well.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Daikon Slaw

If you need a make-ahead side dish, look no further. Daikon holds up well when refrigerated; this slaw tastes fresh even after 4 or 5 days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Marinating Time: 1 hour

Makes 2 servings

One 4-in (10-cm) length daikon radish, peeled

2 large carrots

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

4 tablespoons Sushi Rice Dressing (page 20)

Shred the daikon radish and carrot. Toss together with the grated ginger. Add the Sushi Rice Dressing and stir well.

Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve cold.


Pomegranate Slaw

Add ½ cup (85 g) pomegranate seeds (arils) and ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño pepper to the shredded daikon and carrot. Toss with the fresh ginger and Sushi Rice Dressing. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve cold.



Party Spinach Salad

A classic potluck favorite gets a snazzy update! Mango takes the place of canned mandarin oranges, and wasabi-flavored peas offer a fun surprise.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Makes 6 servings

Two 3 oz (85 g) packages ramen noodles

1 cup (80 g) slivered almonds

½ lb (250 g) baby spinach, washed

½ lb (250 g) broccoli coleslaw

½ cup (40 g) wasabi-flavored peas

4 tablespoons roughly chopped candied ginger

1 mango, pitted, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips

4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

¾ cup (185 ml) Sesame Dressing (page 28)

Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C). Crumble the ramen noodles over a baking sheet (discard the seasoning packets). Add the slivered almonds and bake until the almonds just begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool a couple of minutes.

In a large serving bowl, toss the baby spinach, broccoli coleslaw, wasabi-flavored peas, candied ginger, mango, red bell pepper, and green onions with the Sesame Dressing.

Just before serving, add the toasted ramen noodles and almonds. Toss well and serve immediately.


Seaweed Salad

Did you know that the seaweed salad offered in sushi bars often contains dried fish? If you love seaweed salad but don’t eat fish, this salad will help satisfy your cravings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

3 oz (85 g) dried mixed seaweed

½ cup (125 ml) Amazu Sauce (page 24)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

2 green onions (scallions), finely sliced

½ teaspoon salt

Reconstitute the seaweed by placing it in a large bowl and covering with lukewarm water. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the seaweed and squeeze out any excess water.

Stir together the Amazu Sauce, soy sauce, sugar, grated ginger, dark sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions and salt.

Place the seaweed in a medium-sized bowl and pour the Amazu Sauce mixture over it. Toss well.

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



Reconstitute seaweed.


Combine dressing ingredients.


Place seaweed and dressing in bowl.


Toss well.