home News RECIPE: Keto-Friendly Sushi By CityBeat's Food-Lovin' Staff Photographer – Cincinnati CityBeat (blog)

RECIPE: Keto-Friendly Sushi By CityBeat's Food-Lovin' Staff Photographer – Cincinnati CityBeat (blog)

So, just to be clear, I never said I was a great cook. However, I sincerely love to eat and have grown especially fond of photographing food, restaurants and cocktails since being hired as CityBeat‘s staff photographer almost two years ago. It’s actually one of my absolute favorite things to photograph (and, if i’m lucky enough, eat — depending on how generous the restaurant is). 

Anyway, I also enjoy cooking. My boyfriend, Nick, does, too. Some evenings, we like to throw on some tunes, pour ourselves some wine (well, mostly just me) and try out some new recipes. It’s one of our “things.” 

Over the years, Nick has tried adapting to a more healthy and active lifestyle, loosely jumping on board with the keto diet craze, becoming more serious about the restrictions as time has gone on. I, reluctantly at first, have also (very, very loosely) jumped on board as well –– during the week, or when I’m not photographing a delicious restaurant who offers me the food/drinks I shot. 

I mean you’ve got to live your life, right?

If you’re not familiar, keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Instead of burning carbs as energy, once your body reaches ketosis (it usually takes around three to five days), the liver breaks down fat into usable energy, called ketones, which is utilized in place of carbohydrates during metabolism. So the diet basically consists of lots of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein and just a little bit of carbs.

I am not an expert, and I’m not here to explain the diet to you; I’m only here to tell you about this bomb low-carb sushi I made and how you can make it, too. If you’re interested in learning more about keto, this website has a great guide.

Again, I will stress that I am not an extremely strict keto-follower, but I crunched some numbers and one roll of these delicious little guys is only around 13 carbs. My recipe is a little different from the original; I added some more veggies and topped them with crushed spicy pork rinds and spicy mayo. 

I’ll lay out the details toward the end, but you can make changes on what you decide to include in your roll depending on your restrictions. We are trying to stick to under 50 carbs a day, which I believe is pretty standard. Some decide to count net carbs and try to stay under 20-25 carbs. Some people do other things. Again, not an expert, just doing my thing. 

We attempted the recipe one time prior to this shoot/recipe blog to see how it would go. Surprise, it went extremely well and was VERY tasty. Which led us to trying it again, this time for all of you fine readers so that you too can indulge in some delicious keto-friendly sushi for yourselves.

This recipe makes 4 rolls. I think they’re pretty filling and was satisfied after eating one. 

Almost all the ingredients you will need, with the exception of the soy sauce that was chillin’ in my fridge.Photo: Hailey Bollinger


16 oz. of cauliflower rice (ours was frozen and pre-riced from Costco)

2 tbsp of soy sauce

2 tbsp of rice vinegar

5 oz. of cream cheese

4 oz. of smoked salmon (we used a smoked salmon filet from Kroger)

1/3 cucumber

1/3 large carrot

1 jalapeño

2 green onions

1/4 avocado

4 sheets of roasted seaweed

1 cup of spicy pork rinds

Sriracha mayo to taste

Cheese cloth or hand towel 


(See slideshow for photo by photo instructions).

1. Begin by cooking the cauliflower rice. Turn on stove to med-high, wait until it warms up and then drop in your cauliflower rice. No oil needed –– you will eventually squeeze out any excess moisture so that it’s easier to use when rolling it. Add soy sauce, stir, cover and cook for 7-10 min. 

2. After rice has cooked and cooled down, transfer to a cheese cloth or hand towel and squeeze out any extra moisture into the sink.

3. Place rice into a medium-sized bowl along with your cream cheese and rice vinegar and stir it all up with a fork. Put the cauliflower/rice mixture into the fridge to cool.

5. Time to start chopping up your veggies and salmon! We cut most of the veggies about 3 in. long and pretty thin in diameter. The salmon basically just shredded, so just do your best with that. 

6. Get your cauliflower mixture out, prepare your rolling station. We used a cutting board to assemble on. Make sure you put out two little bowls, one for water (so the rice doesn’t stick to your knife) and one for rice vinegar (we used this to “glue” the roll together at the end).

7. Scoop 4 even heaps of the rice onto your seaweed sheet. Start smooshing and add more rice where needed. Use sparingly as possible though, so you have enough for all 4 rolls. Make sure to leave about an inch at the top. 

8. Once evenly covered, start lining up your veggies and salmon, almost to the halfway point of the sheet.

9. Gently, slowly and meticulously begin rolling up your sushi. You want your fillings to be in there tightly, so roll firmly. We did not have a bamboo sushi roller and did fine without it. Once you get to the end, tip your finger in the rice vinegar and trace along the un-cauliflowered section. 

10. Time to get slicin’! We used a pretty dull knife (find a sharper one if you can!), but with patience and a bowl of water we made it through the storm with some pretty beautiful sushi. Before cutting, dip the tip of your knife into your water bowl, letting it drip down the blade. Cut the roll in half first, gently but firmly sawing through the roll. Cut your other halves in half, always remembering to re-dip your knife into the water. You should end up with 8 lil cuties of sushi. 

11. Now, the fun part (this is optional): Put your pork rinds into a bag and smash them until they become small crunchies. Take your Sriracha mayo mixture and zig-zag across your rolls. Then sprinkle (or “salt-bae”) your pork-rind bits all over the top. 

VOILA! You’re done! It’s time to stuff that tasty low-carb treat right into your mouth hole.

Or take your time, you worked hard on this beautiful creation. 

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