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Oh my. Would you look at all that vegan sushi?

We had a party a little while back. I have always wanted to learn to make sushi, and found a friend who was willing to teach me, and a few friends who were willing to eat my homework.

We started with a big pot of cooked brown rice (because it’s healthier than brown rice, of course, and gave it a really hearty flavor), as well as some tofu strips fried in a little bit of canola oil:

My teacher brought a fabulous selection of roasted veggies. Those eggplants were the best!

We also had radish sprouts and avocado, as well as some roasted broccoli and sauteed portabella mushrooms to roll with. I would have taken pictures of the rolling procedure so as to teach you too, but after making my first roll, I was absolutely smitten. I loved the challenge of making neat and tidy little concoctions. I love how well contained the sushi roll is. I felt I had a gift for it, and wouldn’t stop to give anybody else a turn. Luckily we had two little rolling stations set up, so others were able to make a few rolls beside me.

Here are a few of my favorites (basically anything with a radish sprout or avocado gets that title): Broccoli with red pepper, tofu, and radish sprouts. WIN!

One of our guests made miso soup! She thought she might have gone overboard with the nori, but I don’t think so. Seaweed is really good for you! And look at those little baby mushrooms.

This was one of the best nights of my life. Learning something new (that I felt I was actually pretty good at right off the bat), eating A TON of food made from scratch that’s really good for you, and making something beautiful; all things I really enjoy. And, with people that I love! It was a pretty small party, but there were no leftovers. That’s just how we roll. AH-HAHAHA!

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from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm

1 c brown rice, uncooked
3 tbsp olive oil
2 to 3 tsp Italian herbs of your choice (basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, etc)
1/2 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips
1/4 c pine nuts
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 large handfuls baby spinach (I used closer to 4)
zest from 1 lemon

Start cooking the rice… when rice is finished, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.

Add the herbs, tomatoes, and pine nuts. When the pine nuts start to turn golden brown, add the beans. Toss gently, trying your best to keep the beans whole.

Add the salt and vinegar and stir gently. Turn the heat down to low.

Place the spinach in one layer on top of the beans. Place the hot, steaming rice over the spinach and leave for 30 seconds or so, until you see the spinach start to wilt. Mix gently and taste. If it doesn’t have the “pop” that you want, add in a little bit more vinegar and salt to taste.

Grate the lemon zest on top of the rice and beans to serve. Serves 2 to 3.

WOW. I’ve made a few recipes out of this book, and they’ve all been relatively simple, and very tasty. Lauren Ulm mixes flavors I wouldn’t expect to taste all that good together, and I’m always wary of lemon in my entrée (I know I’m weird), but the lemon zest is what really made this dish SPECTACULAR. I’m not kidding- I made it on Sunday night, today’s Thursday and I’ve wanted it every day since. Since this was our meal, I doubled the spinach, and we ate all of it between the two of us. Good thing there wasn’t any more, because I could eat this until my stomach burst. Mike said it tasted kind of buttery, and I think that might have actually been the zest! The author recommends using a Microplane grater, and I will second that. I’m adding this to my regular meal rotation!