Raw Nori Cigars with Gingery Sunflower Seed Pate

by Gena on February 3, 2011

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Since I’ve started student life anew, my week as a foodie is firmly divided: on weekends, I relish every free moment I have to cook, and I go big: casseroles, pizzas, extensive raw entrees, and even the occasional baking venture. During the week, I have four priorities:

  1. Portability
  2. Ease
  3. Taste
  4. Health

I want food that’ll nourish me quickly and feed my brain; that’s easy to make and transport, and that tastes great. So far my lunches and dinners have been marinated kale salads (of course), raw collard wraps, leftover cups of soup and stew, almond butter and raw strawberry jam sandwiches on sprouted grain bread, and—when I have a little time to eat and don’t mind more mess—a nutrient dense salad. But I’m not just hungry at lunchtime and dinnertime; there seems to be a direct correlation between the number of physics problem sets I do, and my appetite. So snacks are quickly becoming a priority, and my goal is to come up with snack ideas that meet all of those criteria.

The following snack succeeds. It’s portable, easy to make, delicious, and packed with vital nutrition in the form of healthy fats, Vitamins E, B1, and B5, and protein. It’s also a good source of iodine, which most of us tend to skimp on in our diets. Best of all, and unlike most of my snacks, it’s not sweet: it’s a savory snack, and a welcome break from raw bars, fruit, and trail mix. Behold, the nori cigar:

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These guys are inspired by a snack item at Bonobos. When Ricki visited NYC, she was so impressed with Bonobos raw nori cigars that she created a version of them over at her blog, Diet, Dessert & Dogs. Today, I offer you mine, made with a super simple (and versatile) sunflower seed pate.

Raw Nori Cigars (Raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Yields up to 10

For the cigars:

  • 5 sheets raw, untoasted nori
  • 1 recipe gingery sunflower pate, below

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Gingery Sunflower Seed Pate (Raw, vegan, gluten free)

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for at least 1 hr
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tiny garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 tsp powdered ginger (more if you like the taste)
Black pepper to taste
Water
Handful chopped scallions (optional)

1) Place all ingredients in a food processor and run motor till it’s relatively smooth.

2) With motor running, drizzle in enough water for the pate to be thick, but easy to spread (careful not to add too much!).

To assemble cigars:

Cut a sheet of nori in half. Spread each half with two generous dollops of pate:

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Using a knife or spatula (I used an inverted spatula—great kitchen tool, if you don’t have one), spread the pate in a thin, even layer over the nori:

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Beginning at the shorter end of the sheet, roll the nori carefully up to make a single cigar:

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Keep working with all of the nori, until you’ve got about 8 or 10 cigars:

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These guys are so easy to cut in half and transport! And in spite of their convenience, they make a nice presentation:

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I recommend these for all of the snackers among you. And keep in mind that they’ll also be a perfect component of a nutrient dense salad; just chop two or three up and arrange them over your greens!

And now, for the third installment in my week of “Go Pack!” recipes.

Two days ago, you guys got my semi-raw three layer dip:

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Which, I realized this week, makes for an awesome salad-topper:

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Today, I’m asking you to recycle the delicious jicama-mango salsa (and you ought to have a little bit leftover after you make your three layer dip) for a soup garnish.

Raw soup isn’t exactly the sort of thing I usually serve to guests. I love the stuff, but it’s a little far left of center on the foodie spectrum. Nevertheless, a lot of popular soups are chilled: gazpacho is the most notable example! And the following soup, while very simple, has never steered me wrong with friends (or even when I feed myself). It’s the most basic of all of my avocado based soups, and it’s also my favorite.

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Avocado Soup with Lime (Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free)

Serves 4

3 ripe avocadoes
4 cups of water or coconut water
3 tbsp lime juice
A few sprigs parsley
1 tbsp mellow white miso
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Dash cayenne pepper

Optional: Salsa of choice for garnish

Blend all ingredients in a blender on high. If you find that it’s too thick (this will happen if you use giant avocados), add 1/2-1 cup additional water, till the texture is perfect.

Pour soup into glasses, and top with your salsa.

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What makes this Super Bowl worthy? The fact that there’s green and yellow in the dish.

No, I kid. It’s easy. It’s tasty. It’s a little spicy. It’s a raw, vegan dish that feels totally accessible. It’s a fun alternative to guac.

And it’s very pretty. My idea for how you’d serve this to company is to pour it into shot glasses and spoon your salsa on—avocado shooters!

On that note, I have other great game eats to contemplate, some homework to master, and a weekend in DC to look forward to. Night all.

xo

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryant February 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

You had me at the title! Fabulous post.

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Teresa February 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Can you give me a few suggestions of other ways the sunflower pate could be used? I’ve never tried it, but I’m intrigued!

I’m thinking of a veggie platter of cucumbers and yellow peppers to serve on Sunday – GO PACKERS! Enjoy the game!

teresa (a diehard, lifelong, and Canadian, Packers fan)

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Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan February 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

ok now I’m officially freaked out, for REAL I was going to make little nori cigars with almond hummus, we are on the same wavelength or something girl, whoa…

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Sarah February 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Gena,

These look amazing! My birthday is coming up in March and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will receive a highly anticipated gift – a food processor! My boyfriend has mentioned getting me one… I have been wanting one for a year… since I started reading your blog actually! Once I have one that dip and the sunflower seed pate will be the first things on my list to make. Along with pretty much ALL of your pate, hummus, and dip recipes!

For the sunflower seed pate do you think that oil such as fax, coconut, or olive could be substituted for the tahini? I know that you will think that I am crazy but I just don’t like the taste and so we never have it in the house. What about almond butter?

I am really not a sports fan – maybe one day i will evolve into one but my parents sure are and I would love to be able to make healthy snacks for them. Thanks for the ideas and have fun watching the game with your amigos!

Sarah

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Gena February 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Any nut butter will be fine! But to be honest, Sarah, you don’t even really need it. This would work without the tahini :)

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Yay! I am all about the raw food lately, I absolutely love your recipes, Gena!

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Heather February 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I love nori cgars!

This is a random thought, but do you know of any correlation between iodine and acne? I vaguely remember reading about it somewhere awhile back and since then it lurks on my mind whenever I make a beloved nori wrap. Any thoughts?

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Pure2raw twins February 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Love the nori wraps. We are always wanting to find new ways to get sea veggies in our diet. Cannot wait to try these!

And that avocado lime soup, YUM, YUM, YUM!

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Kristina @ spabettie February 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

these look wonderful… now I want to make room for one more thing on my food list for our party… :) Go Pack!!

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Sonia @ Master of Her Romaine February 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm

those look awesome!! Thanks so much for the wonderful idea :)
Go Packers! Your dip has green and yellow!

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Christin@purplebirdblog February 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Brilliant idea… I have some nori sheets leftover from making sushi the other night and was thinking about what else I could do with them!

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stacey February 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Hi Gena,

You mentioned that this recipe is soy free, but isn’t Braggs made from soybeans?

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Gena February 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Quite right! Thanks! Editing.

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm

The avocado lime soup with the salsa looks amazing. I may have to make some even though I’m very far from a Packer backer. I guess since the Lions are no where near making it to a Super Bowl I can pretend I don’t hate green and yellow. :-)

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Casey February 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Those cigars are brilliant! I have tried some nori wraps before but they only use a little nori…I like the idea of using the whole sheet like you have.

Sunfslower seed pate with ginger is one of fave go to comforting foods. Yum!

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Katie February 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I’ve seen these at the store, dehydrated. That would make these even easier to transport!

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Ricki February 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Ah, now I’m reminiscing about Bonobos! Sooo good! And your cigars look much more like the original ones than mine did–can’t wait to try them. Your soup looks beautiful, too–and though I won’t be watching the Superbowl, I’m sure I’d love a glass of that. :)

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Hannah February 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm

These look amazing! And as a fellow student, I really love recipes that use sunflower seeds instead of other nuts, which tend to be four times as expensive. Thank Gena!

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The Healthy Apple February 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Looks delish…I love making nori wraps with homemade hummus and cashew paste. Have a great weekend, Gena; hope all’s well! Keep warm.
xo

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Have fun in DC this weekend!

As for the Avocado Soup with Lime, oh it looks great. And I love the garnish. Very nice touch to top it with…beautiful pic!

The raw nori rolls…very creative and you’re right, portable, nourishes the brain, tasty, healthy, can make ahead…you succeeded on all fronts!

And random aside…I love your spreading knife. It’s the little things that I notice as a cook/blogger..things like that knife would make my life easier when i am spreading vegan chocolate frosting all over various desserts :)

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bitt February 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm

For a minute there I thought you might dehydrate the cigars like those gopal’s wraps. That would be good too, and wouldnt even need refrigeration. Do you have a cute little lunchbag for campus transport?

Happy Superbowling!

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Anita February 4, 2011 at 1:55 am

Wow. I just saw another blog where someone was asking for recipes for portable meals to take on-the-go. These are perfect! Will post your link.

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JL goes Vegan February 4, 2011 at 7:05 am

Gena, I’m so excited about these nori rolls! I’m going to make some for lunch today!

I’ve been reading your blog for a year now (you know that!) but now that I’m eating higher raw I’m using your blog like Google for recipes :) Thanks so much for offering great, easy, nutritious options for a higher raw newbie like me! xo

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Lauren February 4, 2011 at 7:32 am

I have to make these, they look and sound just like the Gopals nori sticks that I spend a fortune on! I’m obsessed! Haha, thanks for the recipe!

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day February 4, 2011 at 8:53 am

Those look great! I love nori and sunflower pate together.. !

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VeggieGirl February 4, 2011 at 9:06 am

The only cigars I’ll touch ;)

Good luck with your homework and have a fabulous weekend!

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Hannah February 4, 2011 at 9:17 am

Hi Gena,
I’ve read guidelines recommending just 5g of seaweed per week but with a yummy snack like this you could well go over. Do you know why that guidance is an anything about too much seaweed?
Thanks for the recipe though they look so so cute

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Eliz@The Sweet Life February 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

what an interesting recipe and one that i’d never think of on my own–thanks for sharing!

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Kat February 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

i love soup topped with fun garnishes like salsa! and nori rolls are super fun & easy :) what do you think of the raw nori vs toasted? I’m always too cheap to buy the raw!

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Deleilan February 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

Yum, that pâté looks delicious! I’m thinking of replacing the powdered ginger with fresh grated ginger root (which I can’t get enough of). Thanks for the cigar recipe!

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Leslie February 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

Yum! I’m traveling this weekend and think I’ll make the nori rolls! I’ve been trying to eat a lot more raw lately and you’re recipes help so much (the post are inspiring as well!)!

I’m all out of sunflower seeds, do you think cashews would work for this recipe? I’ve got an abundance of ‘em it seems like!

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Gena February 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

They’d definitely work, yes!

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Stephanie February 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Those nori cigars look so yummy! I’m always in need of snack ideas to take to classes or long study dates. Thanks for the tip! You going back to school is serving my tummy well ;)

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Christine (The Raw Project) February 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Yum, these snack cigars look great and very creative. I’m not a huge snacker at work, but they would probably be great for a day at the snow or all-day weekend activity. Thanks for the recipe. :-)

And great Supoerbowl inspiration here especially since I haven’t decided what I’m doing for it yet. The dip looks very tempting. And the soup looks wonderful too, something I might try for a salad dressing. :-)

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emma February 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm

fab post sweetie! i’m loving the cigar idea! and i’m loving “crazy, sexy diet” :)

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ashley@quasichick February 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm

That soup looks fabulous! OH and I saw your recipes in the CSD book..you are famous :)

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Steve February 5, 2011 at 6:56 am

I realize that one might not eat all nori cigars at once but the tahini and Bragg’s add 3320 mg of sodium.

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Gena February 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

I’m not sure what tahini you’re in the habit of buying, Steve, but mine has 0 sodium. So the recipe is really just sodium from the 1140 mg worth of Bragg’s. Divide that by the 10 servings (because I cut each full cigar into little snack sized peices) and we’re talking 114 mg a pop — not bad.

To say nothing of the fact that no one asked you to play sodium police. Thanks anyway, though.

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Karen February 6, 2011 at 12:56 am

Hi Gena…loving your blog…does tahini goes bad? had mine in the frig for a couple of years and thinking maybe I should toss it

Thanks,

Karen

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Gena February 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Years? Yeah, toss it. Months should be A OK.

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