As a follow-up to my last blog on the Properly Combined Sandwich where I discussed how we don't want to eat bread (starch) and protein at the same meal, I thought I'd share a yummy and fun sandwich-like protein-combo lunch meal: nori roll-ups with a delicious filling of rich, savory seed cheese (protein) and chopped salad. Earlier today, a client was curious about how to make both seed cheese and nori rolls, so I decided to post a little step-by-step excursion here. You'll find the recipe for Parsley Pumpkin Seed Paté at the end.
Learning to make soaked seed/nut "cheeses" and patés is one of the best culinary steps I ever made. Since seeds are easier to digest, less expensive and less allergenic than most tree nuts, I like to focus on them. Soaked raw seeds and nuts offer the advantage of activated enzymes that initiate the breakdown of nut/seed proteins into amino acids (pre-digestion). As a bonus, they move through the body far more quickly than plain unsoaked seeds/nuts, nut butters and hummus or bean spreads. The spreads I make taste different every time depending on what seeds or nuts and seasonings I use, and are always fabulously satisfying.
To make Parsley Pumpkin Seed Paté Roll-Ups, first prepare your paté (easy recipe below) and your chopped salad, lightly dressed. My salad contained romaine, baby spinach, roma tomato and fresh garlic, all chopped and tossed with a tasty dressing of balsamic vinegar, mustard, novella olive oil, sea salt, agave and herbs.
Note: the packet of 50 nori sheets pictured above was purchased for only $7.99 at my wonderful local Asian/World food market. Sadly, the same sheets cost significantly more at the health food store. Many communities harbor these treasure trove Asian food stores - I am very grateful for mine. (This is where I learned from a master how to open a young coconut. Very easy once you know the secret!)
Step One: Lay nori sheet flat and spread a line of pumpkin seed cheese along the base (left/lower roll below). Leave room at the sides as contents will smush outward when you roll up. (FYI, you could lay out thick slices of avocado instead of seed paté - but not avocado and nuts/seeds in the same roll, please - too heavy!)
Step Two: Add a few spoonfuls of chopped salad (upper roll above), again keeping the one inch at each end free of filling.
Step Three: Stand behind the filling side of the roll and start rolling! (Don't worry about perfection, a few lumps are not a problem and after a little practice, you'll be an expert.) Just before you get to the end, dip your finger in cold water and wet the top edge of the sheet to help seal, then finish the roll.
Step Four: Plate, add raw veggie garnishes* and voila! Lunch is served. Bon appetit!
Parsley Pumpkin Seed Paté
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked 2-4 hours and drained
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 lemon's juice
3 Tbs cold-pressed raw olive oil
1 tsp raw coconut oil (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (about 3 stalks)
black pepper to taste
about 1/4 cup water, more or less as needed
Place pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, garlic and sea salt in food processor, then pulse and process with S blade into a fine meal consistency. Add lemon juice and oils and begin to process. As needed, add just enough water to help get things rolling smoothly. Process for several minutes until very well combined and creamy, pausing from time to time and using a spatula to bring everything down into the center until it really catches. When the paté is very creamy and seems finished, add parsley and black pepper and pulse-process until mixed through. Store refrigerated, either in a container to use as spread or, if you want to be fancy, as a log, like chevre. (To do this, use clean hands and shape into log form; roll in additional parsley or black pepper if desired; wrap in waxed paper or plastic film.) Keeps up to 5 days.
* One summer long ago, I worked at Friendly's as a waitress. Part of my job was to garnish the plates with pickles and parsley before taking them out to the customers. "Don't forget your pickles and parsley!" was the rallying cry of my manager. Of course, we would only use a tiny sprig of parsley, but I remember thinking how that brave little sprig, the only living thing on the plate, was no doubt the healthiest item on the menu.