Confession: In the 18 months I’ve been keto, the food I’ve missed the most is sushi. (Ok, ok…it’s a tie between sushi and pierogis.) I have the privilege of living across the street from a fantastic Japanese market, which gives me access to wonderful ingredients. But, without rice, what is sushi?
At first, I thought it would be sad. Why not just get some sashimi and call it a day? But I pressed on. There’s something to the tiny, circular rolls that makes the simplest ingredients feel elevated.
Thanks to some Best Buy gift cards from my aunt and grandmother and an awesome sale, I was able to get a new toy for my KitchenAid mixer that made my keto sushi dreams a reality.
Is Low-Carb Sushi a Real Thing?
Yes, it is! In fact, many places have low-carb sushi on the menu. It’s called “Naruto style” sushi. And it’s sushi that is cucumber-wrapped instead of rice-wrapped.
The cucumber is prepared in thin slices that allow the ingredients to be rolled like a traditional sushi roll.
You can use any variety of low-carb or keto ingredients to make a delicious Naruto roll. The best part about keto sushi is that aside from the rice, most sushi ingredients are keto-friendly.
Making Sushi at Home
While you can order sushi “Naruto style” at many Japanese restaurants, the fact is sushi can be really expensive. As we buckle down on our budget with a goal of buying a house this year, ordering sushi is just not something we’ll be doing.
Plus, I enjoy cooking. There’s something about being mindful and creative in the kitchen that brings me peace of mind.
And, it’s really not that hard. You don’t need to turn on an oven or prepare a bunch of ingredients. The only real “work” you’ll do in making keto sushi is getting the cucumber sheets made and assembling the roll.
Low-Carb Sushi Ingredients
Sushi ingredients are surprisingly simple. For my at home keto sushi experiment, I used:
- Cream cheese
- Smoked salmon
- Kewpie mayo
- Soy sauce
And a surprise ingredient: pork rinds.
Now, I know what you must be thinking.
“Pork rinds, in sushi?”
Yep. You read it right.
Why add pork rinds to keto sushi?
When going keto, most people miss the texture of carbs. And when you think about it, some of your favorite sushi rolls probably have “crunch” or tempura of some kind. It gives the rolls an extra layer of flavor.
Back to the basic ingredients.
With the exception of smoked salmon, none of these ingredients is particularly expensive. And if you catch a sale on smoked salmon, your total price per roll goes down significantly.
Also, these ingredients can be used for a variety of recipes. So you don’t need to worry about buying all of the above for sushi rolls only (though I wouldn’t blame you if you did).
For added convenience, we added links to Amazon and Amazon Fresh for all the ingredients below. This way, you can click the link, add it to your cart, and never step foot in a store.
FYI, Bottlesoup is an Amazon affiliate, so we may earn money if you make an Amazon purchase after clicking through the links below.
Keto Sushi Equipment
Now, to make any type of sushi roll, there are a few things you need:
- Bamboo rolling mat (Get two for just $5.50 here.)
- Plastic wrap
- Patience (not sold in stores)
To make a keto sushi roll, you need a mandolin or a KitchenAid with a Vegetable Sheet Cutter attachment. You can buy the attachment here on Amazon. What this attachment allows you to do is cut your cucumber in thin slices. The cucumber will replace the rice.
Pro-Tip: Choose a Thick Cucumber
If you’re going to use the KitchenAid Vegetable Sheet Cutter, you’ll want to pick a thicker cucumber. The wider the cucumber, the more cucumber sheets produced. Keep in mind that the sheet comes out in one piece, but you can cut the sheet to size.
If you use a thin cucumber, you’ll still have a delicious cucumber sheet, but it will take more effort as the sheet cutter will only go so deep into the cucumber core. This can result in shorter sheets and the need to use multiple cucumbers.
So pick your produce wisely!
Pork Rind Sushi Recipe
This low-carb, keto sushi uses simple and surprising ingredients that make a big impact. The only equipment you need: a vegetable sheet cutter, bamboo mat, and some plastic wrap.
- Lay the bamboo mat flat and cover with a single sheet of plastic wrap.
- Using your vegetable sheet cutter or mandolin, cut a thin sheet of cucumber.
- Pat cucumber dry with a paper towel.
- Place cucumber sheet on plastic wrap.
- Add an ounce of cream cheese and an ounce of smoked salmon to the end of one cucumber sheet. You'll need to keep the cream cheese and smoked salmon in a straight line.
- In a bowl, add one ounce of pork rinds with Kewpie mayo and sriracha to taste. Mix the pork rinds, mayo, and sriracha together with a fork, crushing the pork rinds as you go. The end result will be almost a paste, with a sandy, crunchy texture.
- Spoon pork rind mixture on top of the cream cheese and smoked salmon.
- Using the bamboo mat, begin to roll the sushi over until the cucumber sheet forms a cylinder, with the cream cheese, smoked salmon, and pork rind mixture inside. Squeeze lightly to make sure the roll is together.
- Pull the plastic wrap up and continue rolling. The plastic wrap will need to be pulled with each rollover to avoid having plastic wrap stuck in the sushi roll.
- Once you've rolled to the end of the cucumber sheet, remove plastic wrap entirely and slice into bite-sized rolls.
- Drizzle soy sauce on top and enjoy!
This recipe makes four snack-sized rolls, or four rolls that you can enjoy as a meal. We recommend pairing your keto sushi with a seaweed salad. You can also add other keto ingredients to your sushi roll, like nori (roasted seaweed) which could be added on top or underneath the cucumber sheets. Other ideas include shrimp, crab, avocado or daikon radish.
- KitchenAid KSMSCA Vegetable Sheet Cutter, 1, Metallic
- JapanBargain 1573x2 Sushi Roll Mat, 2pc, Yellow
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 167 Total Fat: 14.1g Saturated Fat: 6.5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 45.2mg Sodium: 747.6mg Carbohydrates: 2.8g Fiber: 9.2g Sugar: 1.7g Protein: 9.1g