Springtime Veggie Sushi with Almond Butter

These elegant, colorful sushi morsels serve as wonderful appetizers or as part of an Asian-themed meal. Nutty almond butter adds protein to the dish and complements the vibrant trio of asparagus, avocado and carrot, all swaddled in sticky sweet brown rice. A sushi mat is a must for rolling your own.

Ingredients:

2 cups sweet brown rice
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
Sushi
2 carrots, julienned
4 asparagus spears, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 cup almond butter
4 toasted nori sheets
1/2 cup shoyu
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Method:

Rinse and drain rice. Place rice, water and salt in a heavy pan with tight fitting lid, cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer (low) and cook for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 more minutes. Allow to cool. Mix cooled rice with brown rice vinegar.

In large pot with steamer basket, steam carrots and asparagus together for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Dampen sushi mat by running cool water over it. Place 1 nori sheet, shiny side down, on the mat. Spread 1 cup rice evenly over nori, leaving about 1 inch of the nori uncovered at the top and bottom. About 1 inch from the bottom of the rice closest to you, lay 1/4 of the sushi filling (carrot, asparagus, avocado and almond butter) lengthwise across the rice. Roll sushi tightly with firm pressure, tucking in filling as you roll into a cylinder. If your roll does not stick together, dip your fingers in water and wet nori seam. Moisten a knife blade and slice into eight pieces.

Bring shoyu to a boil in small pot and reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a small serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve alongside sushi for dipping.

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