Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls
Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls are fun to make and give you a chance to try making something new for your family. Buying sushi from a Japanese Restaurant can be very expensive and buying it from the local grocery store isn’t necessarily a cheaper alternative.
One San Antonio or California Roll from my local H-E-B Sushiya Sushi Bar is priced at $9.99 per roll. I do understand their price point though, it takes work to make these rolls but it’s not quite as hard as most people would think. You don’t even need a sushi mat to make perfect and uniform rolls.
Sushi rolls can be a super healthy meal but only if you omit the Yum-Yum sauce that most people love to drizzle over the top. It’s a mayonnaise based sauce and it’s still loaded with calories even if you do use low-fat mayonnaise. Isn’t it unfair how all of the great tasting sauces begin with unhealthy mayonnaise?
I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and need to manage my weight this past year so I have switched to the healthier whole grain brown rice. I actually prefer my brown rice to white rice since it has a nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. It’s also a fabulous source of fiber and if you don’t believe me then you just ask my husband who is constantly unclogging our toilet after a good “cleansing” from me! TMI? Sorry about that…I tend to over-share!
The beauty of my Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls recipe is that you can put whatever ingredients you like in your sushi roll. If you like avocado then go right ahead and add it to your rolls. If you still want Yum-Yum sauce despite my warning that it’s loaded with calories then Yum-Yum-ify your rolls to your heart’s content! If you have a vegetarian in the family then substitute meaty mushrooms in place of the canned tuna in the recipe. And if you don’t like canned tuna then use whatever protein you like in place of it. You have tons of options and flexibility in this recipe!
Be sure and get your kids involved in the kitchen to make this recipe. My kids love to select the items they will eat in their rolls and then I assist them with rolling it up. I do the heavy work of cutting the rolls into slices for them using a super sharp knife while they arrange them on their own plates to serve themselves. They eat everything on their plates because their individual roll contained all of the ingredients they liked. You’d be surprised at how willing they might be to try something new and enjoy eating it if they get a chance to be involved in the selection and preparation of their meal.
SAKH – pronounced the same as Sack (Super Awesome Kitchen Hack): Want to use chopsticks to eat your meal but you aren’t sure how to use them? Create your very own “training wheels” for chopsticks using just one set of chopsticks and one rubber band! Watch my short YouTube video to see how easy it is!
This Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls recipe is so cost effective that’s it’s practically ridiculous! If you bought two sushi rolls from the grocery store you would spend $20 or more, just depending upon what kind of roll you selected. You can make the Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls at home for a cost of about $20 and this recipe will serve 6 – 8 very hungry people! That’s 75% savings and don’t forget that you can’t put a price on the amount of fun you will have when you make and eat it with your family!
Ingredients for Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls
4 (5-oz) cans of tuna packed in water
4 large eggs
1 cup carrots, cut into julienne strips
1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1/2 cup takuan
(Korean pickled radish found in Asian Specialty Stores)
4 cups whole grain brown rice, cooked and cooled
2 green onions, finely chopped
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely
1 (10-ct) package of Nori Seaweed Sheets for Sushi
(Nori Seaweed Sheets for Sushi found in your grocer’s asian foods aisle or Asian Specialty Stores)
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
Prep and assembly of the Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls
You will need to prep everything prior to rolling your Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls. You can see in my picture below that I have all of the ingredients lined up and ready for assembly. The rice was in a large white bowl and I cut it off when I snapped the picture. Once we get the prep done I will give step-by-step instructions on how to assemble and roll up your rolls.
1. Vegetable prep
Place 1 tsp. sesame oil into a fry pan over medium high heat. Add the carrots and season with salt and pepper and quickly stir-fry the carrots to soften. If you prefer to skip cooking the carrots then simply add the sesame oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and toss with the carrots to coat. I don’t like biting into hard carrot pieces in my sushi so I flash cook them in a fry pan. Once cooked or coated set aside for assembly.
Next place the defrosted and drained 10-oz package of spinach in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup green onion, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce. This may seem difficult since the spinach will be smashed into a ball once you drain it. I use lunch lady disposable gloves when preparing my Korean food, especially when making kimchi, so they serve well when making this spinach.
Simply break apart the spinach as best you can and then add the ingredients and toss to coat well. The idea is just to add flavor with the seasonings. Once coated set aside for assembly.
Next take the Takuan (pictured above) and be sure and cut open the package over your sink. It is packed with juices just like a giant dill pickle in a bag and you don’t want all of that pickled radish liquid all over your clothes.
You can purchase the Takuan pre-cut if you don’t want to handle it as much but it is more expensive. My local Asian Specialty store even has packages of it that pre-cut just for sushi rolls.
I save the extra cost by doing it myself at home. I simply take it out of the package and cut off 1/4 of the entire radish. I then cut that quarter into julienne strips for my sushi rolls. I cut the remainding 3/4 of my Takuan into round slices and we eat it as a side dish much like kimchi with our rice and meals. Once sliced set aside for assembly.
2. Protein prep
Open and drain the 4 cans of tuna. If you decide to use pouches then skip the draining process and use approximately 20-oz for this recipe. Heat a fry pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp sesame oil, the 4 cans of tuna, 1/4 cup green onion, 1/4 tsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp brown sugar and stir fry for two minutes. The tuna is already fully cooked so just stir-fry long enough to release the flavors of the garlic and green onion and to incorporate the soy sauce and brown sugar into the tuna. Set aside to cool for assembly.
This may seem like quite a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil for each ingredient but keep in mind that I do not serve soy sauce or Yum-Yum sauce on the side for this recipe. These ingredients need seasoning and flavor since the rice and seaweed contain no seasonings at all.
Next crack all four eggs into a bowl and beat well. Heat a fry pan over medium heat and add butter or oil or whatever fat you use to fry your eggs. Add half of the beaten egg mixture to the pan and allow to cook until the egg is set and no longer running around the pan. Carefully flip the egg and cook for one minute. Place the cooked egg on a cutting board and repeat cooking the other half of the beaten eggs in the same process.
Stack the cooked eggs on top of each other and cut into long strips. You want strips so that the sushi roll won’t be bulky and you get a bit of egg into each slice of sushi. You can see the thickness I sliced the eggs in the picture but slice as thick or thin as you prefer.
3. Canned Tuna Sushi Roll Assembly
If you don’t have a sushi mat then please don’t run out and buy one, unless you just really, really, really want to! You can use a sheet of wax or parchment paper or worst case, even a clean sheet of regular paper will work. Truth be told, I prefer to use the wax paper over my sushi mat because the rice never sticks to the wax paper but it always, always, ALWAYS gets stuck in the mat.
First place your wax paper or sushi mat on a flat surface. You can see that I used a cutting board and my wax paper in the picture above.
Next place one sheet of the Nori Seaweed Sheet for Sushi on the wax paper or mat. The Nori Seaweed Sheets for Sushi have a shiny and dull side so make sure you have the dull side facing up and the shiny side on the back so you have pretty sushi rolls.
Place 1/2 cup of brown rice in the center of the dull side of the nori seaweed sheet and spread thinly over the entire sheet. There is argument as to whether you should leave a one inch clearance on one end for rolling or if you should spread over the entire sheet. The choice is entirely yours to make but you can see that I left the one inch clearance but I also made the mistake of spreading too much rice on this sheet.
Keep in mind that you will be adding all of the other ingredients and you need to be able to roll up the sushi so use the 1/2 cup recommended in my recipe and spread it as thin as possible while still getting rice over the entire sheet.
Place 1/4 cup of the cooked canned tuna mixture on the rice in a single mound layer placed on the sheet like my picture above. Do not place the tuna mixture on the very edge of your sheet or you will end up with all of the ingredients falling out when you roll it up. All of your vegetable ingredients will be layered on top of the tuna so try and keep the mound of tuna as flat as possible.
Place one strip of egg and one strip of takuan across the tuna mound. You may need more than one strip of the egg or takuan to fit all the way across and if you do, simply cut off the excess and use it for the next roll.
Next take a small amount of carrots and spread a thin layer across the mound. Do the same with the spinach. Try not to pile up the ingredients too high because you still need to be able to roll up everything with the seaweed sheet.
Now get ready for the fun part, rolling up your sushi roll! The one inch clearance at the top is so I have room for all of the rice and ingredients that might squish up to the end of my roll. I will be making a video of this recipe soon so if it seems crazy complicated rest assured you can view it first very soon. I am a visual learner so watching someone else do it first is always helpful for me.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to roll!!
Okay, ready to roll your sushi rolls? Here we go! Take the end of the sushi roll that is closest to you and press the end over the mound of ingredients, just like a jelly roll or when you roll up homemade cinnamon rolls, BUT don’t roll up completely. You want this to be a nice and uniform roll so you will need to use your mat or wax paper. Make sure to roll the end up enough to completely cover the ingredients but don’t finish rolling to the end of the sheet.
Once you have the roll started, take the end of your wax paper or sushi mat that is facing you and place it over the end you just rolled up. Push and roll the mat or wax paper upwards to ensure a tight roll. You should not be rolling the mat or paper into your rice and ingredients, but rather using it outside of the roll to ensure a tight fit. If you are desperate you can do this with a clean sheet of paper and I will include a demo of this in the video as well.
Continue assembling and rolling your Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls until you use all of the ingredients. You will be able to assemble and roll up 6-8 Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls. Once assembled use a sharp knife and slice the rolls into slices and present on a plate for serving. Be sure and wipe your knife clean between cuts to ensure neat and uniform slices.
You can choose to assemble and then cut one roll at a time or assemble them all first and then cut them all at the same time. I assemble and cut one at a time so I have an excuse to eat while I assemble. I just pop one into my mouth while slicing and then I stuff one slice into every family member’s mouth as we prepare the rest of the meal! I am sure you can tell that meal times are pretty informal at my house but we always have fun and enjoy our meals. Make this about enjoying yourself as you spend time with your loved ones.
Sometimes I serve this with sushi pickled ginger but we usually just eat the rolls without sauces or condiments since I seasoned so many of the ingredients in the sushi. You can usually find pickled ginger for sushi as well as wasabe and dipping sauces in the asian foods section of your local grocery store or in an Asian Specialty Store. I don’t feel that my Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls recipe needs anything else to suit my taste but please enjoy your sushi anyway you like it!
I hope you enjoy making Canned Tuna Sushi Rolls as much as I do! If you try my recipe please share your stories, photos and ideas with me and I will feature them on the blog! I love making meal time a fun family event!
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