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Lox & Schmear Jew-shi Roll

July 27, 2022 | by Micah Siva

Why we think sushi is totally Jewish!

The best bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and simchas all have one thing in common… food, and specifically carbohydrates (besides awkwardly seeing your long-lost family and the constant pressure to find a spouse)! Platters of bagels and schmear, enough challah to feed an army and…a sushi platter for your snacking needs while you navigate away from your great-aunt. While sushi probably doesn’t come to mind when you hear “Jewish Food”, there’s a special connection between Jews and sushi that isn’t just a love for a little nosh!

Sushi’s roots date back to the early 1800s, when the sushi we know today became one of the early “fast food” options in Japanese culture. Fast forward to the early 1900s when sushi migrated West via Japanese immigrants, where traditional recipes were adapted to appeal to a new audience. Ingredients like cooked meat, cream cheese, and imitation crab became favorite additions. Kosher sushi restaurants have been steadily popping up over the past 30+ years in historically Jewish neighborhoods, with dishes that adapt to the unique tastes and dietary needs of its new customer base.

While not all sushi is kosher, it’s an easily adaptable dish that can cater to kosher diets. In order for fish to be considered kosher, it must have both fins and scales, meaning eel, catfish, and shrimp are off the table. But rolls stuffed with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and vegetables galore are a perfect snack or meal that can be eaten any time of the day. Jewish people are no strangers to eating uncooked fish – between smoked salmon, gravlax and pickled herring we go way back. There are even similarities between sushi and classically Jewish foods. Lox is often sandwiched between two halves of a bagel similar to sushi where lox is rolled in rice. Pickled herring is a cured fish eaten as a snack, or appetizer, like a quick piece of nigiri or sashimi. Gefilte fish is served with spicy horseradish, not unlike wasabi.

The famous Jewish stand-up comedian Jackie Mason, often jokes: “Did you know that the Jews invented sushi? That's right - two Jews bought a restaurant with no kitchen.” While sushi has no roots in Judaism, it’s no doubt that it’s a beloved nosh.

Did you know that in Jewish thinking the family dinner table actually has the status of the altar in the ancient Temple and that the food that we serve on it is likened to the offerings that were once made there? Get more Jewish food thoughts here. 

This Jewshi roll is a total mash up, taking our beloved bagels and lox and turning it into a perfect Jewish sushi roll.

Lox & Schmear Sushi Roll

Total time: 20 minutes

Makes 2 rolls

This spin on a sushi roll is inspired by your luncheon nosh stuffed with schmear, smoked salmon, dill, and crispy cucumber on an everything bagel!


  • 2 cups sushi rice, cooked, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 2 tablespoons bagel seasoning
  • 8 pieces smoked salmon lox
  • 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ½ English cucumber, sliced into strips
  • 4 sprigs dill
  • 4 sheets nori
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sushi mat, optional


1. Gather your ingredients. Combine the sushi rice and rice vinegar in a bowl, mixing until incorporated.

2. Cover a sushi mat in plastic wrap, if using.

3. Place a piece of nori on the sushi mat or plastic wrap, with the smooth side down.

4. Dip your fingers into water, and place 1 cup of rice on the nori. Use your fingers to spread and flatten the rice down, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Ensure the rice is in an even layer. Sprinkle the rice with the bagel spice, and flip over, so the nori is on top.

5. Add the fillings in a horizontal line, about 1-inch wide.

6. Roll the sushi by lifting one edge, rolling tightly, and tucking under as you go. Seal and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until all rolls are made.

7. Use a very sharp knife to cut roll into 8-10 pieces. Serve with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

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