I aced the southern girl collard green sushi roll.

Posted on 3:46 pm 

Though I never really learned to play tennis other than during my college P.E. classes, the sport has always fascinated me.  The competitive nature of the game, the rock star athletes along with the fashion statements made on the court make it quite entertaining to watch.  I had the pleasure of attending a couple of sessions at the Sony Ericsson Open a few weeks back.  I had a blast but boy oh boy it was hotter than hell!  Not that I’ve been there or plan on going:) My time was limited since I had to rush to track practice and the blistering heat was the perfect excuse for me to spend 20% of my time wandering around checking out the vendors, 30% actually watching tennis with iphone on vibrate and “inside voice” on low low low, and the majority of  my time spent straight chillin’ in the cool champagne and sushi lounge of a fav brand I managed for many years.  The bubbly with the egg yolk colored label. Veuve Clicquot.

Yes I was and am still on the 40 day Daniel Fast and watching pour after pour of VC yellow and pink labels paired with Sushi Maki’s entrees was self-inflicted torture considering my strong affinity for champagne.  Champagne.  Sushi.  Together?  Aaahhh man. If you haven’t already, try pairing a Rose champagne with a spicy roll of your choice.  I promise this is a doubles you will enjoy.

app-letail recipe: iphone4, Toy SLR

As I enviously watched sushi  and champagne being consumed, I was motivated to create a Daniel Fast friendly sushi roll.  I’d never attempted to make sushi at home, but after analyzing the Sushi Chef for over an hour, I knew with a bit of practice, I could serve up a tight roll.

app-letail recipe: iphone4, PictureShow mirror filter

Two Sundays ago, I woke up with sushi on my mind and reflected on the informal sushi lesson I received at the Sony Ericsson Open.  I was determined to bring my “A” game to sushi rolling.  I just needed to determine, besides brown rice, what ingredients would go into the roll.  Sushi Samba’s El Topo roll immediately came to mind.  This is one of my all time favorites, despite the fact that it seems to get smaller and smaller and smaller every year.  Seriously.  The main ingredients in this roll are salmon, mozzarella cheese, jalapenos and OMG “those” fried onions that make it a Grand Slam for any discriminating palate. I also remembered a Soul Sushi roll recipe I had torn out of an In Style Magazine years ago.   It was rice and pickled veggies rolled up in a collard green leaf.  After flipping through my Nobu The Cookbook sushi section I finally made a decision.  I would make the El Topo roll with a southern twist.  It would be a collard green roll filled with brown rice, mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, avocado, sweet potato, gravy (yes, gravy!) and Daniel fast friendly “caramelized” sweet onions.


Courtside in my kitchen…..

My first serv…ing,  those collard leaves kicked my butt.  I overcooked them. The first leaf I attempted to roll tore but rest assured I didn’t let it go to waste.  It was pure unadulterated LOVE at first bite.

My second serv…ing was a SMASH until I started rolling and ran out of leaf.  I cut the rectangle too dang on small.  Another messed up roll equaled LOVE in my mouth again.

My third serv…ing was the charm. I SCORED big.  Collard green leaves were cooked just right. Filling was lined neatly on the perfectly placed rice.  The final touch was the gravy. Literally.

Game. Set. Match.  I ACED it!  That’s how I roll.


Size: Serves 6


Please forgive my Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik slang, but this sushi roll is “off da chain.”  I look forward to making it with soy sauce, salmon and mozarella after my Daniel Fast.




½ cup finely chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour

1 cup water

1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos

Salt & pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft

Whisk flour and 1 cup of water in a bowl or measuring cup to prevent clumps.

Stir flour mixture into onion & garlic

Add liquid aminos and cook until thickened about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour gravy into food processor or blender.  Puree until onions are finely minced and gravy is smooth consistency.

Pour gravy into a squeeze bottle or a bowl.


6 large washed collard green leaves

3 cups cooked  and cooled brown rice

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos

2 Jalapenos, seeded and finely diced

1 firm avocado cut into strips

½ sweet potato, cut into thick matchsticks

2 cups sweet onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped


Bamboo sushi mat

Small bowl of water to dip fingers in


Trim collard green leaves to 8”x6”.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, add greens, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 6-8 min or until tender enough to roll without tearing. Drain and pat dry.

Steam sweet potatoes for about 3-4 minutes.

Heat oil in medium skillet over moderately high heat..  Add onions and sauté, stirring often until they begin to brown for about 4 minutes.  Reduce heat and cook onions until golden brown about 9 minutes.  Add mushrooms & jalapenos and sauté for approximately 3 more minutes.

Place cooled rice into a large bowl and stir in liquid aminos and vinegar.

Place bamboo sushi mat on counter with slats running crosswise. Arrange 1 collard leaf down on mat with with undersides up, lining up long edge of collard leaf with edge of mat closest to you.  Wet fingers (occasionally dip in bowl of water) and gently press rice onto leaf in a thin layer, leaving a 1 ¾ inch border on side farthest from you.

Arrange ¼ of the onion, mushroom and jalapeno mixture in a even line down the center of the rice, 1” from the side nearest you.  Repeat with sweet potato sticks and avocado slices.

Using squeeze bottle or spoon, drizzle gravy on top of filling.

Beginning with the edge nearest you, lift mat up with your thumbs, holding filling in place with your fingers, and fold mat over filling so that upper and lower edges of rice meet then squeeze gently but firmly along length of roll, tugging edge of mat farthest from you to tighten.  Open mat and roll log forward to seal with leaf border.  Place roll, seam side down on a cutting board.  Cut each roll equally into six pieces with a sharp, wet knife.

Repeat process with remaining collard green leaves.

Serve with remaining brown gravy, wasabi paste and Bragg’s liquid aminos.

DESIGNER’S NOTES: Look for Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Brown Rice vinegar  in Publix, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or other natural food stores.  My sushi mat was purchased at Crate and Barrel but you can find sushi mats at any Asian Supermarket.  Here’s a Kikkoman sushi video I watched several times (5 times to be exact) before attempting the roll.  I suggest cooking extra collard leaves just in case you cook them too long like I did:) Don’t be shy with the onions and jalapenos.  You will thank me later.

DRINK PAIRING: Perrier Sparkling Water

TASTING NOTES: Maze Freaturing Frankie Beverly, Southern Girl


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6 responses to “I aced the southern girl collard green sushi roll.”

  1. Girlllll… Now that is my kind of sushi. I may live in Cali, but I just can’t stomach the raw fish. LOVE LOVE LOVE Your blog. So creative and your writing is the bomb. I especially enjoyed reading your behind the seams. You’ve got mad style. XOXO

  2. duodishes says:

    This is so fun and creative! Love how you found a way to get what you want without harboring the feeling of missing out. Really cool way to switch up sushi. 🙂

  3. Team Jones says:

    When you’ve got it..you’ve it! tantilizing taste, seductive style, and creativity that catches you off guard. Can’t wait to see what’s next. 😉

  4. I’m usually not too big on collard greens, but I’m so intrigued by this I think I’m going to have to give it a try!

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