California and Alaska Sushi Rolls

I never knew I could be in love with fish. Especially sushi.

As a kid, I absolutely hated it. No, hate isn’t strong enough of a word, really. It was from the devil himself, it was the epitome of all things that were wrong in the world.

Fish was equal to the tears unicorns shed when their ice cream cone fell on the ground.

So, when my hubby suggested I try sushi, I looked at him like he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. I can’t trust his food choices, he doesn’t like chocolate!

Being that I want my kids to try new foods, I had to work at it myself.

In the last 5-8 years, I have learned to love avocados, Brussels Sprouts, and even cooked carrots. But fish, or sushi? Yeah, wasn’t happening.

Until I started my online classes. One of the units was about the Mediterranean Diet. You know, fruits and veggies and, and, and FISH.

I had to try it, if not for me, then for my kids to see that trying new foods is a good thing to do.

I had to pull up my big girl panties and steel my resolve. And you know what? I rather enjoyed salmon. And cod. And tilapia. And walleye.

Can you imagine me eating fish voluntarily? And liking it? My mother would never believe it.

sushi post

The next step was sushi.

Most sushi has crab or raw fish that isn’t Kosher, so I thought I was safe. But, my daughter made me try the California and Alaska sushi rolls at our local Japanese restaurant.

They have smoked salmon that is Kosher. And, yes, I learned that I really enjoyed eating the sushi rolls. All of them, actually.

When I mentioned to my husband that I not only tried but liked sushi, his gasp of unbelief changed the air pressure in the neighborhood for a week or so.

Of course, going out to eat for sushi got to be expensive. Like in the neighborhood of $100 for the family expensive. Eating out for sushi was NOT in the budget, so the next step was learning how to make sushi rolls at home.

Sushi is a light, filling dish, but it can be rather pricey at $10.50 per roll.  Making it myself has been a fun adventure and we enjoy it as often as we can. I hope you enjoy making your own sushi as much as we do!



  • Prepare the sushi rice according to the package directions.
  • Typically, you will want to rinse 1 cup of sushi rice in cold water until it runs clear.
  • Add 1 1/4 cups cold water to a pan and add the rice.
  • Cook on low heat, covered until all the water is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes.
  • Cool completely in a glass bowl
  • Add 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar and stir into the rice until it’s all mixed in.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the inside of the sushi roll.

  • Cut the avocado and cream cheese into thin strips,at  least 1/2 the length of the nori sheet if possible to make rolling easier.
  • Slice the salmon into long, thin strips as well. You will want to try and get the salmon as long as the nori sheet.
half nori sheet

The nori sheets come in large sheets that fit the entire bamboo rolling mat.

We like to tear them in 1/2 to make two rolls out of every nori sheet. They come perforated to make that process easier.

You want to be careful when you rip them, as they are a bit delicate. You can use sharp scissors if you want as well. Lay the 1/2 sheet on the edge of the bamboo mat.

rice on nori

Place 1/4 cup of the cooked rice on the nori sheet.

To make it easier to spread and keep the rice from sticking to your hands, you will want to wet them down a bit first. Keep a small bowl of water near you to be able to continually wet your hands as necessary. Spread the rice in a thin layer across the nori sheet and then sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

When you have the sushi roll with the rice OUT of the nori sheet, it’s often called “California”, or Uramaki roll.

Rice IN the nori sheet, with the nori on the outside is often referred to as “Makizushi “. The Alaska roll is a variant of the California roll, and both traditionally have raw salmon.

We are using smoked or leftover grilled salmon more for taste and texture than safety, to be honest.

filling on rice

Carefully place the avocado, cream cheese and salmon on the edge of the nori sheet.

Using the bamboo mat, tightly begin rolling the roll, pulling the mat out as you roll and keeping pressure on it. Continue until you get the whole roll finished and unwrap. Viola, sushi rolls!

rolling sushi
sushi rolls

Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the sushi rolls into 5 pieces.

You can make them larger or smaller, if you want, but the Sushi rules are very clear here that it’s 5 pieces :).

Serve with homemade soy sauce and enjoy!

Have you ever made your own sushi? Will you try these rolls? Be sure to pin them for later!

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