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California Roll in a Jar

California Roll in a Jar
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The following recipe and photography were provided by local blogger Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.

You can find everything you need to make sushi at home at Heinen’s! Traditional sushi rolls, known as maki, are made by layering nori seaweed wrappers, rice, vegetables and fish into a roll, then slicing it crosswise into bite-size pieces. Making maki can be time-consuming, so the next time a sushi craving hits, try these deconstructed California rolls in a jar. It’s sushi, simplified!

California Roll in a Jar

This version is made with lump crab meat from Heinen’s Seafood Department, but can be made with imitation crab (commonly used in California rolls), cooked salmon or even canned albacore tuna. You’ll need four 16 oz. (1 pint) glass jars for this recipe. 

California Roll in a Jar

California Roll in a Jar


  • 1 cup sushi-style rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. white sugar
  • 2 cups cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced, tossed in ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 full sheet of nori or 4-5 seaweed snack sheets, sliced into small strips
  • 1 cup Boss Claw lump crab meat
  • Black and/or white sesame seeds
  • Pickled ginger
  • Reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 4 16 oz. glass jars with lids


  1. Pour the rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for at least 60 seconds. Drain and transfer to a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, covered.
  3. While the rice cooks, stir together the rice vinegar and sugar. Continue stirring until most of the sugar has dissolved, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and gently fold in the vinegar mixture until well combined. Allow the rice to cool before assembling the jars.
  5. Combine the cucumber and avocado in a bowl.
  6. To assemble the jars, add ¼ cup of cooked and cooled rice to each of the four jars. Top with a large spoonful of the cucumber and avocado mix, 2 Tbsp. of crab meat, some of the nori strips and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Add a second layer of these ingredients, starting again with the cooked rice. Top each jar with a few pieces of pickled ginger.
  7. Lid each jar and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve, empty the contents of a jar onto a plate and drizzle with soy sauce or tamari. Finish with extra sesame seeds and pickled ginger, if desired.

California Roll in a Jar

Carolyn Hodges

By Carolyn Hodges

Carolyn is a mom of boys and culinary dietitian in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dinner Shift is dedicated to helping busy moms get dinner on the table after the weekday grind, however that is defined for you and yours.

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