Tropical Dessert Sushi

This is just a traditional sushi roll with salmon sashimi on top… right? Wrong. Looks, my friends, can be deceiving. What we have here is coconut-infused sticky rice, a pineapple date coconut filling, papaya (not salmon) sashimi, and a macadamia/sesame crumble sprinkled on top. Seriously, every bite tastes like Hawaii in your mouth. It’s the perfect way to transport yourself to a tropical island and forget that the days are short and the temperatures are freezing. Hey, we can pretend, can’t we?

This dessert not only tastes heavenly, but is made entirely from real foods with no added sugars or fats and absolutely nothing unnatural. Just rice, fruits, and nuts. The One Ingredient gods would be proud of this one.

Dessert Sushi

Dessert Sushi Chop

Makes 3 sushi rolls


  • 3 spring roll wrappers / rice paper
  • 1 cup uncooked sushi rice
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup cubed pineapple
  • 2/3 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2-3 slices papaya

Dessert Sushi Close

Step One: Coconut Rice

Cook the sushi rice using 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of coconut milk and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to cook until all the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

Step Two: Macadamia Crumble

In a food processor, combine a handful of macadamia nuts with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. If you’re using unsalted macadamias, feel free to add a pinch of salt and (optionally) a dash of sucanat or turbinado sugar as well. This is the star of the dessert for me – sesames and macadamias blend together so well for a rich, flavorful, and salty topping to the sweet dessert.

Step Three: Pineapple/Date Filling

Back in the food processor, add about 2/3 cup of dates and pulse until they’re broken up. Then, add the pineapple and unsweetened coconut and blend until all ingredients are incorporated, but don’t puree so much that you end up with baby food.

Step Four: Papaya Sashimi

This is the most fun step. Sushi is often topped with sashimi, or thinly sliced raw fish. Bright orange salmon is most commonly used, so, why not make our own papaya sashimi that fits perfectly with this tropical dessert theme? Take a chunk of papaya and, using a sharp knife, make very thin slices about 1 inch wide.

Step Five: Roll, Roll, Roll

Sushi is typically wrapped in nori (seaweed), but I don’t imagine that pairing well with our dessert sushi… Instead, we wrap these in rice paper / spring roll wrappers that have almost no taste and hold everything together nicely.

Take a deep breath and start with a clean non-stick surface such as a Silpat mat, parchment, or plastic wrap. Soften the rice paper in a bowl of warm water, then carefully transfer a sheet to the work surface. Add a thin layer of rice to cover the wrapper, then a long row of the pineapple/date filling. Carefully pull up one end of the wrapper and tightly roll lengthwise along the filling. Tuck in the ends and top with a few slices of papaya sashimi. Using a sharp and wet knife, slowly slice into 1/2 inch slices and plate by sprinkling some of the macadamia/sesame crumble over top.

Dessert Sushi

Dessert Sushi


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  1. Andrew, I realize you posted this Tropical Dessert Sushi 6 years ago but I am now just finding it. I’ve read thru the recipe twice but could not find reference to the green sauce shown on the plate and spoon. Since this adds to the effect of the dessert can you share what it is that you created? Thanks! I look forward to making this soon.

    • Hi Veronica. Haha, you’re right. This was 6 years ago and I inexplicably didn’t mention the green stuff. To the best of my recollection it was some kind of sweetened matcha. Probably just a little sweetener, matcha, and liquid (almond milk?)

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