I love sushi, and in my pre-grain-free days I could scarf down an embarrassingly large quantity of sushi rolls without thinking twice. Sadly, I’d pay for it later with a bloated carb-belly from all of that delicious sushi rice.

The “rice” in these sushi rolls is raw white icicle radish, a vegetable that wasn’t on my radar until a year or two ago. White radishes are very similar to daikon radish, but a bit smaller (daikon tend to be huge). If you can’t find white radish, daikon will work! Just try to find a smaller one (the really big ones have less flavor and have a tendency to be woody) and make sure it’s firm and crisp, not limp.

white radish

In the past, I’ve used cauliflower to make “rice,” but cauliflower tends to make me a little… Well, you can use your imagination. Perhaps you have the same problem? If so, white radish is a great option for “rice.” It’s crisp and has a mildly spicy flavor, so it’s perfect for sushi. I find that it eliminates the need for wasabi paste!

These are fantastic dipped in Sunshine Sauce from The Clothes Make The Girl, and are a great HEALTHY escape from the holiday indulgences that so many of us are enjoying during this time of year.

Paleo Sushi Rolls (gluten and grain-free)

Sushi “Rice:”

  • 1 large icicle radish or small-ish daikon radish, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 heaping Tbsp tahini or almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari, or Bragg’s liquid aminos if you tolerate soy)
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar


  • 3-4 sheets nori (depending on how big you make your rolls)
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into thin strips
  • 1 oz. smoked salmon, flaked
  • optional: 3-4 green onions, green part only (not shown, but would be delicious)

Prepare sushi “rice.” Place peeled, chopped radish in bowl of large food processor (see image below) and process on high until rice-like in size (not pictured).

radish chunks

Note: if you don’t have a food processor, you can try grating your whole (peeled) radish using a box grater, but please note that the texture will be different.

Radish tends to be fairly juicy, so do NOT skip this next step: Transfer radish “rice” to clean tea towel. Sprinkle with salt, let sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out the juices, and then squeeze out the excess liquid.

Return squeezed-out radish “rice” to food processor, or place in a large bowl, and mix in tahini, tamari/aminos, and rice vinegar. Mix well until completely incorporated.

Spread a scoopful (approx 1/4 cup) of “rice” mixture onto one side of the nori. Use a spatula to spread the “rice” such that approximately about 1/2 inch of nori is left uncovered on one side, and about 2 inches of nori is left uncovered on the other side.

Add red pepper, avocado, and salmon in VERY SMALL AMOUNTS to the side that has LESS nori showing (as seen in the image below).

ready to roll

Fold over the 1/2 inch section over top of the filling. Trap the fillings (the pepper, avocado, and salmon) with the nori, and then use your fingers to gently roll the sushi (jellyroll style). Note: If you have a sushi mat, feel free to use it, although I found that I didn’t need it!

When you get to the “naked” end of the nori, lightly moisten your fingers with water and gently wet the edge. This will help the edges stick together.

Place completed roll, seam side down, on a plate (I was able to make three rolls).

three rolls

Eat immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours (any longer, and the “rice” will make the nori wrappers soggy). When it’s time to eat, GENTLY cut your sushi rolls into slices using a super sharp knife, making about 6-7 pieces per roll. Enjoy with additional tamari/aminos, or with Sunshine Sauce from The Clothes Make the Girl!

This post is part of Cultivate Nourishing’s “Eating Inside the Box” radish recipe link-up!

Need more healthy holiday cooking inspiration?

Check out Healthful Pursuit’s Christmas Dessert Freedom e-book, my go-to resource for gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free holiday goodness.!


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