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Pink-o-lantern Sushi

Not only is October the happiest time of year for this Halloween-loving ghoul, but it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That time of year when all women over 40 are reminded to get their annual mammograms. I get mine every year and I’m very thankful because doing so, probably saved me from getting breast cancer. In 2019, my mammogram revealed changes in my left breast. Biopsy showed that it wasn’t cancer, but the early detection to the changes helped me choose how to proceed with my care. Initially, I had a lumpectomy and then with more testing and consultation with my doctor, I had a preventative mastectomy. Things changed rapidly from one year to the next and I sometimes wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t get my mammogram that year. What if I put it off? I share my story to remind all you wonderful ladies to make sure to schedule your mammogram every year, don’t put it off because early detection is the key to breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Lets turn up the pinkness for a good cause with some Pink-o-lantern Sushi! A deliciously healthy and fun veggie cut roll made with carrot eyes, sweet potato nose, roasted butternut squash smiles, cucumber stems, and avocado leaves all rolled up in hot pink rice. The fun part is when you cut them into rolls, each slice reveals a fun jack-o-lantern expression. The fun doesn’t stop there because in October we also ‘Drink Pink’ so I added this ‘pretty in pink’ brew from HiDef Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles. Wah-Wah is a kettle sour loaded with blackberries and plums that has sweet yet tart finish. If you’re in LA and looking for a way cool hang out and some delicious brews, stop in and grab a beer! Enjoy!

Pink-o-lantern Sushi

Turn up the pinkness for a good cause with these adorable all vegetable Pink-o-lantern sushi rolls where we 'Eat Pink' for Breast Cancer Awareness month.
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Halloween Food
Keyword: Eat Pink, Halloween, jack-o-lantern, meatless, October Pink, Pink-o-ween
Servings: 1 large cut roll


Pink Sushi Rice

  • 3 cups sushi rice, steamed
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup pink dragon fruit puree


  • 6 sheets nori seaweed sheets
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • avocado (leaves)
  • cucumber (stem)
  • green onions, chopped (garnish)


Pink Sushi Rice Preparation

  • Add 3 cups rice and water according to rice cooker directions and cook rice. Remove lid of rice cooker and let the rice cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer rice to a large bowl.
    In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in rice wine vinegar and pour over rice. Add dragon fruit puree to the rice and mix until you get an uniform pink color. Cover with a damp paper towel and allow to cool to room temperature. 

Jack-o-lantern Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Mix oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
    Jack-o-lantern smiles: Cut off the straight neck of a small butternut squash and peel. Cut down the length of one side of the squash to get a small smile of butternut squash and repeat on the other side to get two smiles. Baste the butternut squash smiles with the smoked paprika mixture and place on a parchement lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. While it's cooking prepare the sweet potato noses
    Sweet Potato Noses: Peel and cut a small triangle from the center of the sweet potato. Baste with the paprika mixture and add them to the cookie sheet and allow to bake for about 10 minutes. These won't take as long to cook as the sqaush so make sure to check on them so that they don't get too soft.
    Let squash and potato cool.
  • Jack-o-lantern smiles: Use a paring knife to cut down the flat side of the smiles to create two channels for the jack-o-lantern teeth. Drag the round end of a vegetable peeler to remove the squash from the channel. Now you have a toothy grin. Wrap squash with a nori sheet starting on the tooth side and make sure to work the nori down into the cut channels. Set aside to allow the nori to soften and adhere to the squash.
    Roll up the sweet potato nose with a half sheet of nori and allow the nori to soften and adhere to the potato.
  • Carrot eyes: Peel carrots and cut out 2 triangle wedges to make the jack-o-lantern eyes. Roll each carrot in a half sheet of nori. Set aside.

Avocado Leaves (optional)

  • I had some embossed leaf cookie/pastry cutters that I got many years ago so I used them to cut out some avocado leaves from thinly sliced avocados.


  • Place two nori sheets with short sides end-to-end, overlapping by approximately 3 inches on a bamboo sushi mat. With wet hands spread a thin layer of pink rice over the overlapped nori sheets.
    Place the carrot eyes in the center of the rice and spread another thin layer of pink rice over and between the carrot eyes.
    Place the sweet potato nose on top of the rice between the carrot eyes. Spread another thin layer of pink rice over the sweet potato nose.
    Work a small amount of pink rice down in between the channels of the butternut squash.
  • Place the butternut squash smile channel side down over the rice covered nose.
    Cover the smile with another thin layer of pink rice. Add more rice if needed to the nori wrapper to ensure even rice coverage before rolling sushi. Roll sushi and squeeze and shape with the bamboo mat. Let sushi sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before cutting.
    Cut sushi into 6-7 pieces. Use a knife to poke a hole in the top of each slice and stick small slices of cucumber in to create the stem. Top with avocado slices(leaves) garnish with green onions and serve with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Enjoy!

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