Sushi Salad ♥ Recipe

Sushi Salad
Turning sushi inside out and upside down, all the familiar sushi ingredients, turned into a salad. A sushi salad, really? Who's ever heard of a sushi salad?!! But it's another concept recipe – have fun with this one!

Tried and true is good and all. But just for fun, isn't it a kick to turn our favorite foods upside down? That's the premise of Sushi Salad, just a few familiar sushi ingredients but in salad form, not small bites. And to my taste, it really does taste like sushi! (Please know, I'm no expert. I have "real sushi" every so often but mostly, it's the packages from the supermarket ..)

This Sushi Salad recipe calls for quinoa instead of rice and skips the nori (though there's no reason to not use some) – this was really fun, it's definitely a keeper, taste-wise, but also for ease of preparation and for flexibility.

TRADER JOE'S, ARE YOU CRAZY? I've come to count on the quality of certain Trader Joe's products. When I first made this salad, I thought I'd 'splurge' on a tin of crabmeat from Trader Joe's. IT WAS AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL. Imitation crab, which of course isn't crab but fish, has the perfect texture. If it's not good for us, I don't want to know. Okay I do. You can tell me.

"I just made this tonight and it's delicious!" ~ Molly


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes plus refrigeration time
Makes 3 cups
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 tablespoon fish sauce (don't skip this!)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the inspiring recipe uses this plus 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped pickled ginger (don't skip this!)
5 green onions, white and green parts both, chopped
1 cup chopped English cucumber
8 ounces imitation crabmeat, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

QUINOA Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat but leaver the covered saucepan on the burner for another 4 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

SAUCE Mix all the sauce ingredients. When the quinoa is cool, stir it into the sauce until well-combined.

GOOD STUFF Stir in all the good stuff.

REFRIGERATE This salad is best cold so cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

You really can't skip the pickled ginger and it can be hard to find -- except that there's always some included in those packages of sushi from the sushi counter. OH WAIT. Maybe that's where you might find pickled ginger too.
Since rice is more traditional with sushi, I thought about making this salad with my favorite Fool-proof Oven-Baked Brown Rice. But then again, I liked the idea of the extra protein from the quinoa too. Either one!

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from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Mmm, that sounds intriguing. I've never been a nori fan, so I'm happy to skip that! II know you can buy small jars of pickled ginger at the Asian section of Whole Foods stores - I think I've seen them at regular supermarkets, too.

  2. Looks terrific! I'm to add some pickled ginger to my Global Market shopping list today, and I have some multi-colored quinoa in the cupboard already. A yummy treat for this weekend - coming right up!
    As always, thanks Alanna.

  3. Alanna -- How does imitation crab come, and where do I find it? I've never bought it before...

  4. Heidi - Yes, Global Foods has pickled ginger though it comes in a HUGE container. The imitation crab is in the seafood department at Schnucks, etc. It's often in the salad bar too. Glad you like this one, the multi-colored quinoa will be very pretty!

  5. What a creative idea! I will have to give this a try.

  6. Why imitation crab rather than real crab?

  7. Anonymous ~ Sure, real crab. I just had such horrible luck with the Trader Joe's canned crab. And know that the crab from the local fish market is $20 a pound where the imitation crabmeat is $4 a pound.

    And because supermarket sushi (which I suspect this is closest to) uses imitation crab, as does the inspiring recipe.

    But this is good enough, it warrants good ingredients!

  8. I bought the pickled ginger at Global, the jar was big but not too big - and I know it lasts a long time once opened. They also had imitation crab (legs) there - in the freezer case. I also sent the recipe to Riffi - who happened to have some leftover quinoa in the fridge, and she's going to make it as an appetizer when her son comes over for dinner. She'll let me know how it is and I'll forward her note to you.

  9. I LOVE this idea! Can't wait to try sometime!

  10. This sounds great! Another thought - you could use cooked baby shrimp (or chopped regular size) instead of the imitation crab. In fact, I have some frozen shrimp on hand and just might try that this weekend!

  11. Terrific timing! I bought a jar of pickled ginger to make the Maui Wowee Salsa for ahi tuna burgers (if the title intrigues you, it's from the 2000 Sutter Home Build a Better Burger contest. One of Mark's 'I'm back from Iraq please make me this' meals). Now I've got part of a jar left and a terrific idea on what to do with it! Not to mention I've got fish sauce from making pad thai, so yet another way to help me pare down my pantry before we move. Thanks!

  12. I made the sushi salad, then to dress it up I served it, similar to the photo, by packing it into a small ramekin then inverted onto a plate.

    Two main reasons for using imitation crab (surimi): 1) surimi is much less expensive
    2) crab is not kosher, but many surimi products are.

  13. I just made this tonight and it's delicious! I added more pickled ginger because I couldn't taste just a teaspoon (and my husband and I both love it). I also added a diced avocado as part of the "Good Stuff."

    At the table, I added a squeeze of wasabi to just a bit of soy sauce and poured it over what was on my plate -- it made all the difference!! This recipe will definitely hit the spot when we're in the mood for sushi, but not in the mood to go out and/or pay the price.

    What a great idea, Alanna!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna