Sushi is a popular Japanese dish that consists of cooked vinegar rice combined with other ingredients like raw seafood, vegetables, and sometimes tropical fruits. While sushi is appreciated for its delicious taste and artful presentation, it has also gained a reputation for being a lower calorie food option. However, not all sushi rolls are created equal when it comes to calories and nutritional value. Some specialty rolls can pack in well over 500+ calories per roll, which is more than a McDonald’s Big Mac! So which sushi rolls actually contain the most calories?
What are the typical calorie ranges for different types of sushi rolls?
The calorie content of sushi can vary greatly depending on the ingredients used. Here is a quick overview of the typical calorie ranges for some popular styles of sushi rolls:
– Nigiri (fingers of rice topped with raw fish) – Around 35-60 calories per piece
– Hosomaki (skinny rolls with just rice and nori) – Around 60-120 calories per roll
– Uramaki (inside-out rolls with rice on the outside) – Around 150-350 calories per roll
– Specialty rolls (with multiple ingredients like avocado, cream cheese, etc.) – Can range from 300-700+ calories per roll
As you can see, simpler sushi rolls like nigiri and hosomaki tend to be lower in calories, while more complex uramaki and specialty rolls can pack in much more. The ingredients used also impact the calories. For example, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fried ingredients like tempura shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and spicy mayo sauces all significantly increase the calorie count.
What are some of the highest calorie sushi rolls?
Here are some of the highest calorie sushi rolls found at popular sushi restaurants and chains:
The Rock and Roll Roll
Found at: Sushi Roku restaurant (360 calories per roll)
Ingredients: Alaskan king crab, rock shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo, eel sauce
This specialty roll packs in fried tempura shrimp which contributes significant calories. The creamy spicy mayo and eel sauce also drive up the calorie count.
Red Dragon Roll
Found at: Nobu restaurants (490 calories per roll)
Ingredients: Shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, unagi eel, avocado
Fried tempura shrimp combined with fatty tuna and calorie-dense eel and avocado places this roll among the highest calorie options.
The Beach Special Roll
Found at: Sugarfish restaurant (840 calories per roll)
Ingredients: King crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy tuna, lobster salad
This massive specialty roll combines crab, lobster salad, fatty tuna, avocado and cucumber for nearly 1000 calories per roll.
Derek Jeter Roll
Found at: Ninja New York (780 calories per roll)
Ingredients: Spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, spicy mayo, eel sauce
Named after former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, this roll packs a caloric home run with fried shrimp, fatty fish, and spicy, creamy sauces.
The Predator Roll
Found at: RA Sushi (511 calories per roll)
Ingredients: Spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo, eel sauce
Fried shrimp and spicy creamy sauces strike again, making this RA Sushi specialty one of the highest calorie rolls on the menu.
What ingredients make sushi higher in calories?
Certain ingredients commonly used in specialty sushi rolls can really drive up the total calorie count. Some of the biggest calorie culprits include:
Whether it’s fried shrimp, vegetables, or softshell crab, the tempura batter significantly increases the fat and calorie content. A single fried shrimp can have over 50 calories.
Salmon, tuna, mackerel and yellowtail are higher in natural fatty oils than white fish, so they pack more calories ounce for ounce. Just a couple pieces of fatty nigiri can approach 100-150 calories.
Spicy mayo, eel sauce, and other specialty sauces often used in rolls can have 100+ calories per tablespoon. Just a drizzle over a roll adds significant calories.
While nutritious, avocado is high in fat and calories. Just half an avocado can be over 125 calories, so rolls with whole slices can add 250+ calories from avocado alone.
Roe (Fish Eggs)
Fish roe, like salmon roe and flying fish roe, are calorie-dense at around 40-50 calories per tablespoon. Roe toppings quickly increase a roll’s calories.
Lobster salad made with mayo is higher in fat and calories than raw lobster. Just 3-4 ounces can approach 200 calories, so it packs a calorie punch.
Some rolls feature toppings like crushed peanuts. But at 160+ calories per ounce, nuts can make rolls much higher calorie.
Crab and Lobster Meat
King crab and lobster contain more natural fat than lean white fish, so they are higher in calories. Just a few ounces delivers over 100 calories.
Approximate calorie count of popular high calorie sushi rolls
To give a better idea of how calories add up in some popular high calorie sushi rolls, here is an approximate calorie count breakdown:
|Roll Name||Estimated Calories||Key Ingredients Driving Calories|
|Caterpillar Roll||680 calories||Fried softshell crab, avocado, spicy mayo|
|Volcano Roll||450 calories||Shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, roe|
|Rainbow Roll||510 calories||Fish roe, avocado, cucumber, crab mix|
|Spider Roll||470 calories||Fried softshell crab, avocado, roe|
|Philly Roll||510 calories||Smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber|
|Dragon Roll||595 calories||Eel, avocado, spicy mayo|
|Las Vegas Roll||695 calories||Fried shrimp, crab mix, spicy sauces|
|Baked Lobster Roll||735 calories||Lobster salad, avocado, mayo, roe|
As you can see, calories can quickly scale up as more fried ingredients, fatty fish, sauces, avocado, roe, and seafood ingredients are added. A “basic” looking specialty roll can easily top 500+ calories.
Tips for ordering lower calorie sushi rolls
If you love sushi but want to keep calories in check, here are some tips for ordering and creating lower calorie sushi rolls:
– Choose leaner proteins like yellowtail, tilapia, or albacore tuna instead of higher fat salmon or bluefin tuna
– Opt for rolls with cucumber, carrot, or bell pepper instead of avocado or cream cheese
– Skip the fried tempura ingredients and thick sauces
– Order sashimi (raw fish without rice) instead of nigiri or rolls
– Createyour own custom roll and ask for lower calorie ingredients
– Opt for soy paper instead of white rice to cut calories
– Fill up on lower calorie miso soup, seaweed salad, and veggie sides
– Split a roll with a friend or take half home for later
Being mindful about ingredients and creating your own healthier rolls can let you enjoy delicious sushi while maintaining your health and nutrition goals. Moderation is key, so feel free to treat yourself to a higher calorie specialty roll occasionally as well!
The highest calorie sushi rolls
To summarize, here are some of the highest calorie sushi rolls found at popular restaurants:
– The Rock and Roll Roll (360 calories)
– Red Dragon Roll (490 calories)
– The Beach Special Roll (840 calories)
– Derek Jeter Roll (780 calories)
– The Predator Roll (511 calories)
– Caterpillar Roll (680 calories)
– Volcano Roll (450 calories)
– Rainbow Roll (510 calories)
The ingredients that drive up calories include fried tempura, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, avocado, nuts, fish roe, cream cheese, crab/lobster meat and calorie-dense sauces. Being mindful of your sushi order and creating lower calorie rolls can help you balance nutrition and enjoyment.
Sushi can be a delicious part of a healthy diet, but specialty rolls loaded with fried food, fatty fish, avocado, sauces and roe can deliver alarmingly high calorie counts upwards of 500-800 calories per roll. Watch out for rolls with tempura, lots of avocado, spicy mayo, nuts, and multiple seafoods as they tend to be calorie bombs. Opt for lighter ingredients, share rolls, and balance indulgent rolls with lower calorie items to keep your sushi splurge under control. With mindful ordering and moderation, you can enjoy sushi rolls without derailing your nutrition goals.