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We’re all about sushi at our house, but the amount of rice in your typical roll is definitely not keto-friendly. Now that we came up with this rice-free keto spicy salmon tempura roll, we have an excuse to enjoy savory sushi anytime we want a quick dinner or low carb lunch!
Seriously, though--sushi gets us into some pretty heated debates around here.
Last week while we were visiting Jacob’s family in Washington, he and his brother got into an argument about which restaurant has the best sushi. My brother-in-law had some credit to his side, given that he’s eaten sushi in Japan, but Jacob firmly believes that the best rolls are in Wisconsin (even though it defies all conceivable logic). Since I haven’t been to Japan and have had sushi at Jacob’s favorite Wisconsin joint, I have to admit: those Midwesterners can make a pretty mean spicy tuna roll. Plus they’re half-priced every Wednesday. ;)
I get it, though: authentic sushi is carefully crafted and can take a lifetime to master. But if you just want something that looks like a sushi roll, fits your macros, and tastes amazing, this is the recipe for you.
The biggest sushi sticklers would probably scoff to know that this recipe uses canned fish and incorporates pork rinds for a crispy, tempura-like crunch. But stick with me on this one--while the ingredients are a little wacky, the results (and the taste) are so savory and filling.
Keto spicy salmon tempura roll: important notes
We used Epic pork rinds because we really like the way the company treats its animals, but any kind of pork rinds will do. Just make sure they’re unseasoned or only lightly seasoned with salt and/or pepper. I’ve tested this recipe with both the Himalayan salt variety and the salt and pepper version of Epic pork rinds, and both are super tasty.
When working with pork rinds in this recipe, you have to move quickly because they can rapidly absorb the moisture from the fish and lose their crunch--that’s why the recipe below recommends incorporating them into the fish right before you roll everything together. If you want to get more crunch out of your roll, try substituting pork cracklings (such as this brand) instead… or just make sure you’re choosing the crunchier pork rinds in the bag instead of the puffy ones.
For some reason, nori sheets can be really hard to come by--I had to visit three grocery stores before I finally found them. If you don’t care about having a pretty looking sushi roll and want even more crunch, I recommend sliding your filling ingredients into sheets of roasted seaweed snacks. They won’t make those picture-perfect sushi pieces, but they add a wonderful crunch. And if you do care about presentation, save yourself some grocery trips and just pick them up on Amazon.
The best part about this recipe is the versatility: I’d encourage you to play with different raw veggies, try other canned or smoked fish (I think tuna would work very well here), or incorporate other spices to your taste. And if you want to make sushi for non-keto members at your table, just cook up a pot of sushi rice (this brand is our absolute favorite for carb re-feed days) and roll it in with your other filling ingredients. The fix mixture would also be divine on a salad!
If you can’t stomach the idea of lots of bones or skin in your keto spicy salmon tempura roll, then just pluck them out. Once everything gets mixed together, those pieces are very hard to detect.
How to assemble your keto spicy salmon tempura roll
You do not need a fancy bamboo mat to roll sushi! This is meant to be an easy recipe, and you can hand roll it without any other equipment. Just place your nori on a cutting board (shiny side down), add fillings about an inch away from the edge closest to you, and roll tightly while using your fingers to tuck the fillings into the nori. Use a little bit of water as you reach the end of the roll to moisten the nori at the end to make it stick and hold its shape.
You’ll also need a sharp knife to cut your sushi and avoid compromising the roll: we used our Victorinox chef’s knife to glide through the pieces, rinsing it with hot water in between each cut to keep everything uniform.
Approximate nutrition facts per serving (1 roll):
- Calories: 243
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated fat: 2.75g
- Sodium: 490mg
- Total carbs: 6.29g
- Fiber: 2.79g
- Net carbs: 3.5g
- Protein: 23g
- 4 ounces canned wild sockeye "red" salmon (about a cup, with liquid drained) (this is an amazing brand)
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise (or more to taste)
- 1/2 Tbsp sriracha
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 nori sheets (this is a good brand)
- 20 grams pork rinds or cracklings (about 5 extra large pork rinds, or 7-10 small ones) (we swear by Epic pork rinds)
- 1/4 - 1/3 English cucumber, julienned
- 1/2 avocado, sliced into strips
- To taste: sesame seeds, soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, Brain Octane oil (optional)