A bowl of sushi salad with brown rice, avocado, edamame, and cucumber with a sesame miso dressing, nori and sesame seeds.

Once — just once — I made sushi. Twice — just last week — I made this sushi salad, and I foresee making it a lot because it’s so easy and good.

It’s a mix of brown rice, edamame, spinach, avocado, and cucumbers all tossed with a miso dressing, then finished with slivered nori and sesame seeds. It satisfies all of my cravings for sushi without the hassle of making it.

The recipe comes from Hetty McKinnon’s new book, Family, and I first tasted it a week ago at Cherry Bombe Jubilee, where Hetty herself prepared the salad for the many attendees. It was a beautiful site: a sea of green mounds, each artfully plated, each glistening with nori and sparkling with sesame seeds.

I returned home and made it immediately, and then on Friday evening, I had a few friends over for dinner and made it again. What I love about this salad is that you can prep nearly every component of the dish ahead of time: the brown rice, the miso dressing, the edamame, the sliced cucumbers, the slivered nori. All you have to do when your guests (or family) arrive is cut the avocado.

You can assemble this salad as you would any by tossing everything together with the dressing, but on Friday, I let my friends assemble their own bowls. It was easy and fun, and everyone loved how fresh, satisfying, and delicious the composition tasted as a whole. One tip: don’t skimp on the nori. When you get a bite without it, you miss it.

Hetty McKinnon, if you are unfamiliar, is the author of two best-selling cookbooks and the founder of Arthur Street Kitchen. She also writes The Community Kitchen column on The Guardian. Family, like her previous two books, challenges the idea that vegetables cannot be a full-sized meal; it’s filled with vegetarian main course meals.

I love what she says in the introduction:

“As a child, I don’t remember my mum ever telling us to “eat your vegetables.” We ate our greens with the same enthusiasm as we ate our noodles, rice, or meat. In Asian cooking, as in many other cultures, vegetables are an integral part of the dish, not a sideshow.”

The recipes in Family are not all Asian, though there is a chapter, “Asian Roots”, dedicated to the food closest to her heart. There are so many recipes in this book I want to make from the Turkish menemen (egg dish) to the one-pan sweet potato mac n cheese to the coconut soup with Asian greens and rice noodles. Each recipe is accompanied by a big beautiful photograph, making the book equally good for curling up on the couch to as pulling out for some instant dinner inspiration.

Here’s the play by play: You need about 3 cups cooked rice for this. I’m using my Instant pot brown rice recipe here.
Just-cooked Instant Pot brown rice.

Making the dressing: miso, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, water, and sesame seeds.
A bowl of miso, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, and water.

Some of the components: spinach, edamame, sliced cucumber.
A bowl of baby spinach, edamame, and sliced cucumber.

Brown rice and avocado added to the mix:
A bowl of brown rice, spinach, edamame, cucumber, and avocado.

All tossed together with the miso dressing.
A bowl of baby spinach, edamame, sliced cucumber, brown rice, and avocado tossed with miso dressing.

Finished with nori and sesame seeds.
Sushi salad, served.

Sushi Salad with brown rice, edamame, avocado, and nori.

Family by Hetty McKinnon.
Family, a cookbook by Hetty McKinnon

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