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Vegan “Eel” Nigiri with Red Quinoa Sticky Rice

nigiri sushi on pink plate

Gluten-Free, Vegan

What do eggplant and eel both have in common apart from starting with the letter “E”? They can be used interchangeably in sushi!

Prep Time:  45 minutesCook Time: 1 hour 15 minutesServings: 5 (10 pieces)

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 toasted nori sheet
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Eel Sauce

  • ¼ cup tamari
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar 
  • ¼ cup organic sugar

Red Quinoa Sticky Rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice 
  • 1/2 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. To make Red Quinoa Sticky Rice: Rinse sushi rice until the water is clear. Soak the rice in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Bring the rice and water to boil. Cover with lid, and simmer for 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep covered for 10 minutes.
  2. Place rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Heat until ingredients are combined. Remove from heat, and let mixture come to room temperature.
  3. Mix rice vinegar mixture with sushi rice by gently tossing rice. 
  4. Cook red quinoa according to instructions on the package. Incorporate 1 cup of cooked red quinoa into the rice mixture. Toss until rice and quinoa are fully incorporated. 
  5. Once the quinoa rice mixture is cooled, form oblong shaped balls with damp hands. Each ball should be about 1 inch in length. This will be the base for the nigiri. 
  6. To make “Eel”: Preheat oven to 350˚F (177˚C)
  7. Pour tamari, rice vinegar, and organic sugar into a saucepan. Heat on medium heat for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened to a syrup consistency. Stir while heating to prevent burning. 
  8. Slice eggplant lengthwise into ½ inch slices. Brush eel sauce glaze on both sides of each eggplant slice. Place eggplant slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 
  9. Bake eggplant for 15 minutes. Remove slices from the oven, flip slices, brush on more glaze, and return the sheet back in the oven for 20 more minutes, or until the slices look caramelized.
  10.  Let eggplant slices cool at room temperature, until cool to the touch. Slice eggplant pieces into long trapezoids– similar to an unagi shape. 
  11. Place eggplant slices on red quinoa rice balls. Cut nori wrapper into long thin rectangles. Wrap toasted nori around the rice ball to hold the eggplant and rice together. Finish off by garnishing with sesame seeds. 
  12. Serve with tamari!

Nutrition Info: 

1 serving (2 pieces)

Calories: 175

Carbohydrates: 37 g

Protein: 4 g 

Fat: 2 g

Sat fat: 0 g

Sugar: 17 g

Added sugar: 11 g

Fiber: 4 g