Do you love sushi but the idea of making it at home is a little intimidating? Why not try our Deconstructed California Roll Salad? It's quick and easy to pull together while giving you all the flavours of a California Roll!

20 Minute Meal: California Roll Salad | Food Bloggers of Canada

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To say I love sushi would be an understatement. I love the freshness of it, the way it can be as simple as savouring a perfectly prepared small piece of fish or allowing the flavours of a complex, multi-ingredient roll to come together in that one bite.

I need my sushi fix at least once a week and, living on Canada's west coast, my options are plentiful - and it's not a case of quantity over quality. I would argue that Metro Vancouver, with its plentiful access to fresh fish, is home to the best sushi in the country. Sushi restaurants can be found in every neighbourhood, making for competitive prices, high quality meals and a lot of very happy citizens.

But sushi is the one meal that I always go out to eat or get takeout. Like many, the idea of making it at home intimidates me.  A friend and I attempted it once and while our results were delicious, it took us hours and our presentation was, to be kind, a mess! It gave me an even greater degree of respect for sushi chefs who manage to make it look soooooo easy.

And that is what gave me the idea of creating a "deconstructed" sushi roll salad.  All the same ingredients but with a more home kitchen friendly presentation!

I started with a California Roll Salad.  While not only being a Canadian creation (find out more about the history of Canada's Iconic California Roll), the California Roll is often the gateway for many into the world of sushi.  Its ingredients are familiar to most and there's no raw fish, which can be intimidating for some sushi beginners.

This Deconstructed California Roll salad is a quick and easy meal - you can have it on the table in just 20 minutes - and it all starts with making sushi rice!

California Roll Salad Ingredients

How To Make Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is made with a short grain rice. Your local grocery store may sell rice specifically labelled as Sushi Rice but if not, regular short grain white rice will work just fine. Rice labelled as sushi rice will usually have instructions on the package for how to prepare it but if not, we've got you covered. Canada doesn't produce its own rice so rice grown in the USA is as close to local as you can get. Most grocery stores will have lots of short grain rice options for you!

Rinse the Rice!

One of the keys to making sushi rice is the prep. You must rinse the uncooked rice before cooking until the water runs clear. This could mean rinsing it up to 5 times! Sushi rice is really sticky when it's cooked. By rinsing it you're removing excess starch which can make an already sticky finished product into an unworkable mess so don't try to skip this step!

For best results, make your sushi rice in a rice cooker just like you would any other type of rice. You'll need a ratio of one cup of rice to one and a half cups of water.

Sushi rice is not just cooked rice.  There's another key step in the process. While the rice is cooking, you'll need to create a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir this mixture until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Sometimes I'll do this over low heat on the stovetop just to make the dissolving process quicker (do not let the mixture boil!)

Once the rice cooker has hit the warm cycle at the end of cooking, you'll want to place the rice in a bowl (glass, stainless steel or wood) and let it cool for a few minutes. Then add in the sugar/vinegar mixture with a wooden spoon. The rice will be watery - that's ok.  Let it sit for a few minutes and then stir again.  Keep doing this until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

20 Minute Meal: California Roll Salad | Food Bloggers of Canada


Timesaving Tips For Making A 20 Minute California Roll Salad

This is a really quick dish to make and can be served as a side dish or a main meal. You can serve it warm or cold and it's a very summer-friendly dish with no oven required.

You can prep your veggies and the crab while the rice is cooking or you can even meal prep the cucumber and nori in advance and keep them in the fridge until you're ready. I don't recommend prepping the crab (or pollock) or the avocado in advance and the avocado should be the last item you add to the dish - especially if you're working with a very ripe avocado!

The dressing is strictly optional and can be made while the rice is cooking. It can also be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. It does have a strong flavour as it mimics the soy sauce mixture many people like to dip their sushi rolls into.  Less is definitely more and I would recommend serving it on the side.  The sushi rice is very flavourful on its own so you may prefer not to add the dressing.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Deconstructed California Roll Salad
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 servings
Sushi Rice
  • 1 cup of sushi rice (or other short grain rice) well rinsed
  • 1½ cups of water
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds plus additional for garnish
Remaining Salad Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of nori cut up into small pieces (use a pair of scissors)
  • 1 cup of julienned cucumber
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 cup of chopped crab leg meat or pollock (any kind of crab meat will work but leg meat or pollock makes it more visually interesting
  • Pickled ginger for garnish
Dressing (optional)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch of wasabi powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • juice from one small lime
Sushi Rice
  1. Add rice and water to your rice cooker and cook as usual. Once the cooker switches to the warming mode, remove the rice cooker pot and allow the rice to cool for a few minutes before placing it in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Once the rice has cooled a little bit add the mixture to the rice and stir. It may look very watery at first, but don't worry, this is temporary. Continue to go back to the bowl and stir it while you prep your other salad ingredients. Eventually the rice will absorb the liquid and have a sticky texture.
  3. Add the sesame seeds and stir them into the rice
California Roll Salad
  1. Add the cucumber and crab to your rice mixture and stir it into the rice until it's well distributed
  2. Add the nori piece and stir again
  3. Add the avocado just before serving and gently stir it into the mixture. If you are working with an especially ripe avocado you may wish to sprinkle it on top of the salad after serving
  4. Garnish with additional sesame seeds
  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside the salad with pickled ginger.

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20 Minute Meal: California Roll Salad | Food Bloggers of Canada

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