If you're a sushi lover you may be perplexed about how to order keto sushi at your favorite sushi bar. We have a ton of helpful tips to show you how to order low-carb sushi like a pro!
We're huge fans of sushi here at CIK. A spicy tuna roll or broiled eel is one of our favorites. There's even tasty plant-based sushi that knocks our socks off. One thing that isn't super common is low-carb sushi but that doesn't mean that you can't request a few modifications so that you can indulge in this delicious Japanese cuisine while eating low-carb.
With a few simple swaps to regular sushi rolls, you can indulge in your sushi cravings guilt-free while on a ketogenic diet!
🍣 What to avoid while ordering keto sushi
Japanese restaurants serving traditional sushi rolls can still create low carb sushi rolls for their keto dieters. A few things to look out for are the following:
- Tempura fried rolls - either skip the tempura rolls entirely or ask for them not to be fried. Most sushi restaurants fry their tempura-based rolls on demand so simply ask the sushi chef to not fry yours will be a-ok.
- Sauces - sweet sauces like teriyaki sauce, eel sauce, sweet mayo, or sweet chili sauce are all loaded with sugar. You'll want to skip these sauces. Instead, opt for sauces like spicy mayo or wasabi mayo and stick with regular soy sauce or tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce) instead of coconut aminos which has a higher sugar content than soy sauce.
- Rice - most sushi rolls are made with rice. If you're lucky and have sushi places near you that offer cauliflower rice, awesome! If not, there are a few options we'll discuss in the "how to order keto sushi" section below.
🍣 How to order keto sushi
Low-carb options at sushi restaurants are sometimes rare but the good news is there are a few naturally low-carb options and a few ordering tips we'd love to share with you!
- Order sashimi - straight fresh fish without any rice, this is a traditional way to eat sushi. We love this as it's your best bet and best option for keto and every sushi restaurant will have plenty of sashimi options. Simply dip the pieces of raw fish into a splash of soy sauce with a bit of wasabi and you've got a protein-rich dinner that's perfect for any low-carb diet! To increase the fat a bit, opt for fatty cuts of fish like mackerel or fatty tuna. Salmon belly is also great.
- Order a sushi bowl without rice - if there is a chirashi bowl (or simply known as sushi bowls or poke bowls) on the menu, order it without rice and request it to be served on top of lettuce, zucchini noodles, or with a side of sliced cucumber.
- Lollipop rolls - lollipop rolls (or also called a naruto roll) are typically cucumber-wrapped roll on a skewer with no rice. The tightly wrapped cucumber takes the place of rice and creates a roll that's great for low-carb diets.
Low-carb side dishes to order at sushi restaurants
- Miso soup - most miso soup is low carb and made with just miso paste, broth, and maybe some tofu. It's the best way to kick off a sushi dinner. Yum.
- Edamame - you may be thinking that edamame isn't low carb since it's a legume but you'd be wrong! With just 7 grams of net carbs per cup, an order of edamame is a great side dish to a plate of sashimi.
- Seaweed salad or cucumber salad- typically just seaweed, vinegar, and maybe some seasonings, this can be a great option if there's no added sugar to the salad.
- Chicken skewers - a lot of our favorite sushi restaurants have flame grilled skewers like chicken, shrimp, steak, or fish. As long as they aren't marinated or coated in a sweet sauce, these are a great choice to round out your sushi dinner.
If you remember one thing, the most important thing is to avoid all rice, white rice, sushi rice, and brown rice all have too high of a carb count for a keto diet. Use the tips above for the best keto sushi options, we swear you won't miss the real thing.
When looking at sushi options in your grocery store, we typically haven't found any that aren't high in carbs. There have been a few times we've seen "skinny rolls" or cucumber-wrapped rolls but mostly they are too high carb with the main ingredient being rice. Our suggestion is to skip the grocery store sushi and opt for visiting your local sushi bar or making delicious keto sushi rolls at home.
If you're really pressed and have to buy grocery store sushi, opt for nigiri and simply remove the fish from the rice.
🍱 How to make your own sushi at home
Skip the traditional rice and opt to use a cauliflower rice mixture. The simple recipe below will show you how to make cauliflower sushi rice so that you can make sushi keto, the easy way! traditional sushi uses vinegar rice and sugar to create sushi rice but we're going to do the same with the cauliflower.
First, there are a few tools you'll need to make your own keto sushi rice-less rolls:
- sushi bamboo mat - also sometimes called a bamboo roller or just a sushi mat
- sharp knife
- food processor
- airtight container - to store any leftovers
Ingredients you'll need:
- nori sheet or soy paper
- rice vinegar
- sweetener like erythritol
- cream cheese
- riced cauliflower
- soy sauce
- pickled ginger
🥑 Optional Fillings:
- fresh fish - be sure to opt for sushi-grade fish or simply use cooked fish
- bean sprouts
- jalapeño, Thai chili, or serrano
- sauces: spicy mayo, wasabi mayo, sweet chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil or chili oil, yuzu
- toppings: sesame seeds, furikake
🍣 Basic keto sushi recipe combos
After you've perfected your cauliflower sushi rice per our recipe below, you're free to create your own keto sushi rolls recipe using any of the optional fillings listed above. We've also outlined a few of our favorite combos below:
- Keto California Rolls - imitation crab meat or real crab + cream cheese + avocado + cucumber
- Spicy rolls - spicy mayo mixed + finely minced fresh fish + green onion
- Skinny rolls - simply cauliflower rice sushi + single veg or single fish option
PRO TIP: if you're missing the crunch of tempura, use crushed pork rinds to mimic the texture! It's delicious when mixed into spicy tuna or spicy salmon rolls!
Those are the three most popular and common sushi rolls but the sky is the limit!
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to rate the recipe ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ in the recipe card below and share your creative rolls with us on social and tag @castiron_keto on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with!
Keto Cauliflower Sushi Rice
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar-free sweetener optional
- Pinch of sea salt
- Place the cauliflower into a food processor, and pulse for 2-3 seconds at a time until you have what resembles rice.
- Transfer the cauliflower rice to a nut milk bag or wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all of the moisture that you can.
- Return the rice to the food processor and add in the remaining ingredients. Pulse until combined. The mixture should stick together slightly when pressed together. If needed, add a bit more cream cheese.
- Use immediately in your favorite sushi rolls.