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Spicy Tuna Rolls: Sushi – It can be done folks!

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Sushi is scary. Let’s be honest. Just the thought of making it is scary. This might be why people are more inclined to go spend a fortune on it rather than make it themselves. I am totally one of those people, and because I have such a phobia of eating bad raw fish, I only usually buy sushi that costs a fortune. Zach, however, is not one of those people. He has been making sushi for a long time and is actually quite good at it. Now it may not look completely traditional (with the nori sheets OUTSIDE of the rice), but this is the best way to do it when you are making it for the first time. And although it may not look totally proper, it tastes just the same, so who cares!?

So when my mom was here visiting she was dying for some of Zach’s homemade sushi. It was the perfect opportunity to whip out the old bamboo mat. We had yet to make sushi since we moved to Colorado. Let’s first talk about what we went through to find sushi-grade tuna and salmon in Northern Colorado. It…was…not…easy. You would think, much like that of Southern California, that if you walked into a Japanese supermarket you would be able to find it. WRONG! Well, I take that back. You can find raw fish, frozen with freezer burn. Who knows how long it’s been sitting in the back of that freezer cabinet. We bit the bullet and headed over to Whole Foods. Although a bit on the high price side, it was worth it. We knew we were getting the real thing, and we knew it wasn’t going to make us sick the next day. When it comes to raw fish, sometimes it’s just better to pay a little bit more for the real thing.

What’s so great about sushi is that you can be as creative as you want. You can use the fish you want, the sauce you want, the veggies you want. The possibilities are endless. Or you could completely Americanize it, like many restaurants are starting to do. I like your classic spicy tuna roll. I’m not a huge fan of salmon in general, cooked or raw. I know, I know. It’s sad. It’s just a bit too fishy for my taste. On this sushi venture, we made a spicy tuna roll with avocado, carrot and cucumber. Don’t forget the crunch to match with the soft! It’s very important!

Use the freshest fish on the market!

If you are new to sushi in general, I suggest starting with something simple like a spicy tuna roll. You wouldn’t even know you are eating raw fish. If that is still too scary for you, try a simple vegetable roll. Skip out on the fish all together just to get yourself use to the textures of eating sushi. This can sometimes be the hardest part. It takes some longer than others, but in the end it’s totally worth it. It’s an easy and nutritional meal.

Healthy and delicious =)

* Please Note * It does not take 50 minutes to prep sushi (unless of course you are just learning how to roll, then it may take you three days), but you do need to let the rice chill for at least 30 minutes. It really should only take you about 20-30 minutes to prep.

Another thing that I believe is super important, don’t make the rolls too large. You want these bites to be, hey you guessed it, BITE SIZED! If it’s hard to pop in your mouth all at once then it is much too large. This takes practice though, so just be patient. They won’t look beautiful the first time you make them.

Make sure these babies are small enough to eat in one bite!

Well we had to pair this dish with a beer, and NO we did not pair it with Brew Dog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Zach though it would be funny to throw it into the picture. I’m not sure why. Something with eating raw fish and penguin. I don’t get it, or his humor sometimes, but whatever. If you would like to learn more about this beer visit Brew Dog’s Website. This beer will totally blow your mind and empty your wallet. It’s worth looking into though, just not for a pairing with sushi =).

Go with a pilsner for this pairing. We paired it with Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils. You don’t want something super heavy so that it overpowers the taste of the sushi. This is a traditional pilsner that’s perfect with fish. Almost like drinking a dry white wine with a piece of halibut. It is refreshing and crisp and just perfect!

We hope that after you read this recipe, it will make your more inclined to make sushi one day!


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I’m the voice, author, creator, and photographer behind Cooking and Beer. We started things about 10 years ago and Cooking and Beer has morphed and grown into what it is today: providing hundreds of recipes to thousands of people.

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Hello! I'm Justine.

I’m a blogger and web developer from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where my loving husband, two adorable kids, and two mischievous dogs keep me on my toes 24/7. My idea of heaven includes endless summer days, getting lost in a good book, and whipping up some delicious homemade bread.


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