Creamy butternut squash pairs well with sweet and spicy crystallized ginger. If, like me, you’re particularly fond of crystallized ginger, provide some on the side in place of pickled ginger as a palate cleanser.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 30 minutes
Makes 6 rolls (36 pieces)
8 oz (250 g) butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
2½ cups (635 ml) Vegetarian Dashi or low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic
One 1-in (1.25-cm) length fresh ginger, unpeeled
4 tablespoons soy sauce
Six 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
3 cups (600 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice
3 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
3 green onions (scallions), sliced
Vegetarian Eel Sauce for dipping, if desired
Cut the squash into 12 strips about 4 x ½ in (10 x 1.25 cm) and set aside. Combine the Vegetarian Dashi, garlic, and fresh ginger in a small pot. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the soy sauce. Place the squash in a wire basket or strainer and lower into the simmering liquid. Allow the squash to simmer until soft but not mushy, 5–7 minutes. Remove squash from liquid and allow to cool completely.
Place one nori sheet horizontally on a bamboo rolling mat with the rough side facing up. Wet your fingertips, then spread about ½ cup (100 g) of the sushi rice in a thin, even layer across the bottom ¾ of the nori.
Arrange 2 of the butternut squash sticks horizontally across the center of the rice. It’s okay if the ends overlap some in the center. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon crystallized ginger over the top. Add ¼ of the green onions.
Dip your fingertips in water again. Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo rolling mat. Fold the bottom of the mat so that the bottom edge of the nori fits just over the butternut. (Do not allow the edge of the mat to get stuck in the fold!)
Lift the edge of the mat. (The nori should stay in place.) Continue rolling until the roll is complete. Gently shape the roll into a rectangle by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board. Meanwhile, repeat the steps to complete the remaining rolls. Cut each roll into 6 pieces using a very sharp knife dipped lightly in water. Serve immediately.