I love the meals that are easy to personalize for various family members. Nori rolls, burritos and fresh salad rolls all fall under this category. In families with older children you can bring all the ingredients to the table and everyone can make their own. This is great for those nights when you have to get a meal on the table fast. Just start pulling various leftovers and condiments out of the fridge. Get ready for some interesting combinations. I haven’t really had the desire to try it, but I have heard that some children love nut butter and apple slices in their nori rolls.

I like to use pressure cooked brown rice for my nori rolls because the grains seem to stick together well, but I have used boiled rice with moderate success. If I have some rice leftover from dinner, I will make a few quick rolls for school lunches the next day. Just rice and some chopped shoyu seasoned nuts make a great roll. I make them smaller in diameter with a half or three-quarter sheet of nori and leave them whole to send. They travel well and can be eaten as is without cutting.

Here is a video from Heather Nauta if a visual is helpful to see nori rolling in action. Make sure you are firm as you roll. I like to put a little water at the end to help the roll seal. For another take on nori rolls you can head over to emmycooks. Sometimes I feel like she’s my long lost twin. I like that she cuts the nori in half and makes mini rolls at the table. The instructions for hand rolls are below.

Nori Rolls

sushi mat for rolling
toasted or untoasted nori
pressure cooked brown rice

Ideas for fillings:

thin blanched carrot or daikon matchsticks
avocado slices
chopped cooked greens
pressed salad
fresh herbs
fresh watercress or arugula
green onion
cubed and cooked squash or yam
sliced cucumber
cooked tofu or tempeh
toasted seeds and nuts
ume plum
roasted garlic
dipping sauce
simple shoyu ginger sauce

tahini sauce

Hand Rolls

Make hand rolls with the same ingredients as nori rolls. I think these are easier than nori rolls to have as a make at the table meal item.

1.  Tear a full sheet of nori into two equal halves. Tear in the direction that will make two wider halves.

2.  Make a golf ball sized ball of rice, squeezing the rice together so it’s firm. Place this near one of the corners of nori and press down slightly.

3.  Add 3-5 slices of other ingredients of your choice. After you have made one you will know how much to put in.

4.  Fold the other near corner in to cover the half rice and other ingredients. Continue that same motion to roll the nori up into a cone.


Nori rolls will work with leftover pressure cooked brown rice, but it’s better if it’s fresh or at least at room temperature. Cold rice tends to be dry and won’t stick together as well. In a pinch, I will steam leftover rice, let it cool to room temperature and then use.

Let your rice cool. Hot rice can cause the nori to dissolve.

Cut your rolls with a clean, sharp knife.