Healthy Recipe: Kid-Friendly Sushi Hand Rolls with Brown Rice (Plus, Two Dipping Sauces)

Recipe by Leandra Rouse | Photo by Samantha Emmons 

The key to successful kid-friendly dishes is to empower their little helping hands and sense of choice. Sushi hand rolls are a great way to “sneak in” the exotic, while still satisfying bellies with familiar favorites. This recipe is a non-traditional approach to “sushi”, focusing on kid flavors, such as fish and mild veggies. 

Feel free to experiment by adding in ingredients you know your kiddo loves, because everything is yummy when wrapped in nori and dipped! Nori is the Japanese word for an edible seaweed that has been dried and pressed into sheets. Not only is it crisp and delicious, but it also contains a broad range of nutrients not commonly found in a standard American diet. 

(Of course, you’ll want to have kids wash their hands beforehand, and if they are having friends join in on the fun, be sure any allergies are taken into consideration.) 


2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

4 cups short-grain brown rice, cooked

5 sheets nori

1¼ lb (20 oz/625 g) smoked salmon

1 avocado, sliced 

1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned

4 spring onions, finely sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into ribbons 

½ red bell pepper, finely sliced 

Other optional kid-friendly ingredients to consider: 

Seaweed salad, furikake, baked tofu spears, pineapple or mango slices, cream cheese, sashimi, omelette-style egg slices, sesame seed sprinkle, etc.  


Stir rice wine vinegar into warm cooked rice. 

Slice and lay out all your filling ingredients on a large serving platter easy to place in the middle of a table where everyone can reach. Cut each nori sheet in half, so that you have 10 rectangle nori sheets. 

To make the handrolls, begin by gathering everyone around the table and give each person a nori. It works well to let little hands simply create their own nori “burritos”. No technique required! 

However, for “proper” hand roll technique you may follow these directions. 

Set up a piece of nori, shiny side down, with a short edge closest to you. Spread a tablespoon of rice on the nori sheet, leaving the bottom right corner and top half of the sheet free of rice. Flatten the rice slightly. Top the rice with your desired fillings, angled so they point towards the bottom left corner. Fold the bottom right corner of the nori over the filling and then continue rolling the nori tightly around the filling until it forms a cone shape. To seal your hand roll, dip your finger in a small bowl of water and dampen the remaining flap with a little water. Press against the roll to seal. 

Get creative with your filling combinations. Dip into the dipping sauces (see ingredients below) and enjoy! Share your best flavor ideas between bites.

Makes 10 handrolls. 


Calories 200

Protein 14 g

Total fat 5 g

Saturated fat 1 g

Cholesterol 15 mg

Carbs 24 g

Fiber 3 g

Total sugars 1 g

Added sugars 0 g

Sodium 550 mg

For the Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce 

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

For the Peanut Dipping Sauce 

½ cup creamy peanut butter, no added sugar or salt

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

1 teaspoon grated ginger 

1 tablespoon honey

2–4 tablespoons warm water (for desired consistency)

Powered by ESHA Nutrient Data, © 2021 ESHA Research, Inc. 

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