No rice sushi with smoked salmon is a keto-friendly alternative to carb-heavy sushi. Combining cream cheese with smoked salmon, crunchy cucumber, and smooth avocado, we love this low-carb take on the Philadelphia roll.
Want a new way to enjoy our favorite Japanese foods? Cut the carbs without losing the flavor with this recipe for no rice sushi with smoked salmon.
Ingredients For No Rice Sushi With Smoked Salmon
This no rice keto-friendly sushi has been inspired by the Philadelphia roll. It uses a combination of cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber.
- 1 roasted or toasted nori seaweed sheet. Nori is the thin sheets of dried seaweed used to make maki rolls. Nori sheets can be purchased at specialty stores and larger grocery stores. Alternatively, you can buy a pack of nori online. Make sure you’re using toasted or roasted nori. Untoasted nori is thicker and chewier, which isn’t good for sushi.
- 1 ½ tablespoons cream cheese. Cream cheese adds flavor, texture, and bulk to your sushi rolls. For keto dieters, cream cheese can add fat without carbs. Take the cream cheese out of the fridge before you make your sushi, so it has a chance to soften.
- 1.5 ounces smoked salmon. Sliced smoked salmon is widely available in grocery stores. Look for smoked salmon without added sugar.
- ½ cucumber. Fresh cucumber is sliced into thin batons to add crunch and bulk to your keto-friendly sushi rolls. Scoop out the seeds to prevent your rolls from getting soggy.
- 1 avocado. Thinly sliced avocado improves both the taste and the texture of the no rice sushi roll. Slice it thin so that it’s easier to roll, slice, and bite into.
- 1-2 tablespoons diced jalapeno (optional). Jalapeno is an optional ingredient, but we love how it adds spice and heat to the rolls.
- Sesame seeds (optional). A spoonful of toasted sesame seeds brings a nutty undertone to the sushi. Sprinkle them over your finished rolls.
- Soy sauce (optional). Dip your rolls in soy sauce for a salty finish and a hint of umami.
- Rice vinegar (optional). If you want to give your sushi rolls some tang, mix 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar with the cream cheese.
- Wasabi (optional). Ramp up the heat levels of your sushi rolls by serving them with wasabi.
These are the ingredients needed to make no rice sushi rolls inspired by Philadelphia rolls. Below, we’ll cover some alternative fillings you can use when you’re ready to experiment with your keto sushi!
How To Make No Rice Sushi
Quick and easy to make, these no rice sushi rolls are perfect for enjoying your favorite sushi flavors at home.
1. Begin by taking the cream cheese out of the fridge so it has time to soften.
2. Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Set the seeds to one side to eat as a snack or add to a salad. Slice the cucumber shell into thin batons, roughly 3 inches long.
3. Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. Slice the avocado into thin strips.
4. Place a sheet of roasted nori onto a chopping board or a bamboo rolling mat with the shiny side facing upwards.
5. Carefully spread the cream cheese along the bottom third of the nori. Seaweed sheets are delicate, so be careful when spreading. If you want to add some tang to your rolls, mix the cream cheese with some rice vinegar before spreading.
6. Starting an inch from the bottom of the nori sheet, layer your fillings. Begin with the smoked salmon, then the cucumber, and then the avocado. This should fill roughly the bottom two-thirds of the nori sheet.
7. If using, sprinkle the diced jalapeno over the top of the fillings.
8. Next, it’s time to roll your sushi. Wet the top inch of the nori sheet, to make it sticky. Starting with the bottom edge, roll the filled nori until you have a tight sushi roll. You can do this with your hands or with a bamboo sushi mat.
9. Once the sushi has been rolled, place it seam-side down. Take a sharp knife and slice the roll in half. Slice each half into 4 pieces, so you have 8 overall.
10. As an optional step, toast a spoonful of sesame seeds in a dry pan. Sprinkle over the top of the sliced rolls.
11. You can keep the sushi in the fridge until you’re ready or eat it right away. Serve these no rice rolls with soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative) and wasabi.
Tips And Tricks For No Rice Sushi
For the most part, no rice sushi is super easy to make. However, here are a few tips to help you out:
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge before you start slicing the ingredients. This will give it time to soften up so that it’s easier to spread.
- A tight roll is necessary to keep your sushi from falling apart. Use your hands to squeeze the roll tightly as you wrap it, and if any ingredients fall out simply push them back in.
- You can make no rice sushi a day in advance and keep it fresh in the fridge. It doesn’t keep well for longer than a day, as the nori wrappers will start to become soggy.
- The middle sushi rolls hold together best, while the rolls from the end are more likely to fall apart. When slicing, you might want to make the outside rolls smaller than the inner rolls.
- To prevent the filling from splurging out the ends, you need to use a very sharp knife when cutting the rolls. A sharp chef’s knife will give you well-defined rolls with all the filling tucked inside.
- Sushi rolls are ideal for dipping, but if you’re adding a sauce, make sure to check the ingredients list. Sauces and dressings often contain hidden sugars and carbs.
- A bamboo sushi rolling mat isn’t necessary as you can use your hands to make sushi. However, if you plan on regularly making your own rolls, it can be a good investment. It’s much easier to roll nori sheets without breaking them using a bamboo mat.
Variations And Substitutions
Head to a sushi restaurant and you’ll notice a massive range of options! On the keto diet, you do have a slightly limited choice, but there are still plenty of ways to experiment with no rice sushi.
For different proteins, try using:
- Grilled or roasted salmon. Instead of smoked salmon, grill or roast salmon filets until soft. Slice or flake the filets and add to your roll.
- Tuna steak. Grilled tuna steak can be sliced into thin strips and layered into the sushi roll.
- Canned tuna. Drain the tuna well and mix it with a combination of hot sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, and some low-carb mayonnaise.
- Grilled shrimp. Switching the smoked salmon for grilled shrimp transforms your Philadelphia roll into a Boston roll.
- Most seafood can be used in no rice sushi, but watch out for anything breaded. Similarly, avoid imitation crab. This tends to be bulked out with carbs.
- Grilled chicken. Thinly slice grilled chicken and use it in place of the smoked salmon.
- Grilled beef. If you like simple flavoring, grill a high-quality steak and slice it into strips. Or you can stir fry strips of raw steak in a Japanese-inspired sauce.
For different veggies, try using:
- Mushrooms. Sliced and sauteed mushrooms are a delicious filling for vegetarian-friendly rolls.
- Bell peppers. Use thinly sliced peppers alongside or in place of cucumber sticks. Yellow and red peppers add a touch of sweetness, while green peppers have a slight bitterness.
- Radish. Thinly sliced raw radishes give your sushi roll a peppery crunch.
- Green onion. Scatter thin slices of green onion over the top of your fillings before rolling. Alternatively, slice the onion into sticks and layer it up with the cucumber.
For keto-friendly sushi with rice, you can add a layer of cauliflower rice:
1. Either rice a cauliflower head using a food processor or grater, or buy pre-riced cauliflower.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the riced cauliflower over a medium-high flame for 6-8 minutes, or until the cauliflower has softened.
3. Mix the cooked cauliflower rice with 5 ounces of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Leave the mixture to cool completely.
4. Spread the cauliflower rice mixture over the bottom two-thirds of the nori sheet in a thin layer. You’ll only need roughly ¼ of the cauliflower mixture per sheet.
5. Layer the fillings on top of the cauliflower rice and roll as usual.
You don’t have to miss out on sushi on the keto diet! This no-rice sushi with smoked salmon is delicious, easy, and contains low carbs. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, try experimenting with different fillings.
What do you like in your sushi rolls?
Frequently Asked Questions
Most sushi isn’t keto-friendly as it uses rice, which is high in carbs. If you’re following the keto diet, the best thing to order at a Japanese restaurant is sashimi. Sashimi is thin slices of raw fish or meat, served without rice.
Nori sheets used to make sushi consist of dried seaweed. Each sheet contains roughly 1g total carbs, making them suitable for the keto diet. You can use nori sheets to make sushi rolls or you can add them to salads, stir-fries, soups, or as a garnish to meats and fish.
Most seafood is suitable for the keto diet and goes well with sushi wraps. Smoked salmon, grilled salmon, canned tuna, and grilled shrimp are all good options. Avoid using seafood that has been breaded or battered.
Vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumber, radishes, avocado, and green onions also go well with keto-friendly sushi.
Sorry to fans of California rolls — imitation crab is not keto-friendly! Imitation crab typically contains high-carb fillers such as cornstarch.
Nori is the best wrapper for no rice sushi rolls, but you can try replacing it with cucumber ribbons. Make sure to slice the cucumber very thin, so it will bend without breaking. Pat the cucumber dry before adding your filling and rolling.