When Pizza Met Sushi

If there were two distinctive foods that might consider themselves friends but never lovers, it just might be the ubiquitous Pizza and the glamorous Sushi. Picture this: it’s a brisk fall day in New York City, the foliage in Central Park boldly splashed with bright crimsons and…

When Pizza Met Sushi

If there were two distinctive foods that might consider themselves friends but never lovers, it just might be the ubiquitous Pizza and the glamorous Sushi.

Picture this: it’s a brisk fall day in New York City, the foliage in Central Park boldly splashed with bright crimsons and golds, and a buzz of hungry workers emerge from their buildings in search of lunch. The scents of nearly every world cuisine imaginable waft together in the city’s melting pot, tantalizing potential diners as they breeze by.

Of these, I can see the classic Pizza, that simple yet brilliant fusion of cheese, tomato sauce and dough, a little rough around the edges, but comforting to the soul. A few doors down lives his friend, the stylish and more complex Sushi, always stunning, her beauty a delicate balance of umami and freshness. They are chums, they even share friends, but beyond that? They would never consider it.

Until now.

Thanks to your support, I am thrilled to progress to Challenge 5 of Project Food Blog. In this challenge, the 72 remaining contestants are tasked with putting our own spin on pizza, defined as having a solid base, a sauce and at least one topping. So for this challenge, I thought it was high time for Pizza and Sushi to explore a deeper relationship. I was excited to have some fun and play culinary matchmaker by creating Personal Sushi Pizzas.


When Pizza met Sushi, it was not love at first sight. No. The two seemed more different than the same, and it took years before they reconnected, but only as friends. But behind these two, there is a culinary love affair that was begging to unfold, and I was so excited to speed it along. Because at the heart of the matter, they were meant to be together…and to have babies.

I am pleased to introduce their children.


My Personal Sushi Pizzas are built on a base of crispy tofu rounds, fried to mimic the crunchy but doughy pizza crust. A Ginger Sesame Teriyaki Sauce is spread on top of the tofu, followed by a salty round of Roasted Nori Seaweed. I couldn’t help it — out came the Exacto knife to ensure perfect circles.

A cylindrical patty of delightfully sticky sushi rice adds to the base, delicately touched with a smear of wasabi paste.

Then it’s time for the toppings. Cubes of jewel-toned tuna are the featured topping, highlighted by pepperoni-sized disks of avocado, salty beads of red lumpfish caviar, black sesame seeds, and slivers of scallion. A fiery red curry chile sauce is drizzled on top, its beautiful coral color camouflaging flashes of heat.

Crowning the personal sushi pizza is a wonderfully crunchy shrimp tempura.

Pizza and Sushi, it took too long for you to understand: you are perfect together. The teriyaki flavored tofu crust provides an excellent base for the spicy tuna and crispy tempura shrimp, while the cool medallions of avocado balance the heat of the chile-infused sauce.

As for chopsticks, it’s just there for people who like to pick at their toppings. This is a pizza – use your hands!

I can’t believe we’ve reached the halfway mark for Project Food Blog. My heartfelt thanks to all who voted for my fourth entry, I wouldn’t be here without you!! This post is my submission for Challenge 5: Recipe Remix. Contestants were asked to put their own spin on the same recipe, pizza. They can tackled it however they wish, whether it is applying molecular gastronomy techniques, sharing a super-secret trick, or re-envisioning the dish from a different perspective. For the purpose of this contest and challenge, Foodbuzz is defining pizza as having a solid base, a sauce and at least one topping. Voting for this challenge takes place from 6AM Pacific Time (9 AM Eastern) Monday, October 18th through 6PM Pacific Time (9 PM Eastern) Thursday, October 21st. Please consider voting by clicking here, or by clicking on the widget to the right. Don’t forget to click on the heart to show your love! Thank you, everyone.

Personal Sushi Pizzas

Makes 4 individual pizzas.

For the base:

  • Extra-firm tofu, cut into four 3 1/2 inch circles
  • Roasted Nori Seaweed sheets or flakes*
  • Sushi rice (see recipe below)
  • Wasabi Paste

*While I adore the visual appeal of the Nori sheet rounds, I actually recommend using the seaweed flakes – it will be easier to eat this way.


  • 1/3 lb sushi-grade tuna, diced
  • 1 avocado, sliced and cut into circles with a 1-inch round cutter
  • 2 teaspoons red lumpfish caviar
  • black sesame seeds
  • 4 tempura shrimp
  • scallions, sliced


Sushi Rice:

Cook rice; if you do not have a rice cooker, follow the product’s directions for cooking the rice on a stove top. Warm the vinegar in a small saucepan or in the microwave, stir in sugar and salt till dissolved. Allow to cool. When the rice is completed, fold the vinegar mixture into the rice, distributing evenly. Allow to cool before use.

Spicy Red Curry Chile Mayonnaise Sauce:

Adapted from Emeril Legasse

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon red curry chile paste
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile oil

Stir mayonnaise, red curry chile paste and hot chile oil in a bowl. Place in a piping bag or ziplock bag and set aside.

To Assemble:

  1. Cut rounds of tofu using a 3 1/2 inch round cutter. If you don’t have a cutter, use a circle guide such as a ramekin or a can, and cut to shape using a sharp knife. Deep fry each round until it is crispy and a golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to cool.
  2. Prepare tempura shrimp. Set fried shrimp on paper towels to cool.
  3. Brush Ginger Sesame Teriyaki Sauce on tofu base.
  4. Layer with Roasted Nori Seaweed.
  5. Form a round patty of sushi rice about 1/2 inch thick using a cutter or ramekin. Place on top of Nori.
  6. Lightly smear a scant amount of wasabi paste onto the rice.
  7. Spread your diced tuna.
  8. Pipe the Spicy Red Curry Chile Mayonnaise Sauce.
  9. Top with an avocado medallion.
  10. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of red lumpfish caviar on avocado.
  11. Place one tempura shrimp.
  12. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and scallions.






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  1. Trissa

    I think even the most uptight and conservative Italians would fall in love with this idea! Very unique and wishing you the best of luck in the next round!

  2. A Canadian Foodie

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant – now that I have taken the time to really understand the contest. Gorgeous photos, too! Checking in to see if any pom posts are up.I love your site. Great visually and lots I can learn!

  3. obparker

    Fantastic! This even looks delicious right now…and it’s breakfast time. You’ve got another vote from me.

  4. norma

    You inspire me to do better. What a great concept. You have had my vote since the start. Good luck Liren….masterpiece.

  5. Winnie

    Really beautiful, Liren. I can’t wait to see what you come up with each time…you are so very talented ;)

  6. Chef Dennis

    Hi Liren

    simply amazing…I love seeing foods I never would have thought of!! I have the most talented friends! Congrats on moving into the next round of the FB challenge, you know you always have my vote!

  7. Emme

    Brilliant! This look amazing…my mouth is watering! And your pictures are gorgeous. Very inspiring :) – emme

  8. Monet

    These are stunning…they should grace the cover of Bon Appetit! I’m not surprised you made it to the next round. You ooze talent, and your writing is always such a pleasure to read. I’m supporting you all the way! And thank you for all your kind words on my blog…your thoughts are so appreciated.

    • Liren

      Lisa, thank you! Let’s hope we’re BOTH filling coolers with goodies!

  9. Brie

    haha, very cute story. this is a brilliant idea and it looks stunningly delicious. congrats on making it to Round 5 – you’ll have my vote again!

    • Liren

      Thanks Brie! It just reminded me so much of one of my favorite movies :)

  10. Jackie

    These are so awesomely creative! And for me, as a sushi-lover and a pizza-hater, something that definitely screams out ‘EAT ME’ ;)

    Beautiful photos as always, and amazing entry! Good luck, lovely!

    Jax x

    • Liren

      Hi Jackie, wow, I don’t think I’ve ever met pizza-hater before! But in that case, this is definitely up your alley! Thank you for the lucky wishes!

  11. Susi

    You are out of this world girl! These Sushi pizzas are so inspired and nothing I have ever seen before! Stunning presentation and can I please have your autograph? I just know you are going to go far! :o)

    • Liren

      Susi, puh-lease! Autograph? How about just a hug?

      Thank you – I am so glad you like them!

  12. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

    Wow just incredible! Talk about taking pizza to the next level! I love that you made sushi into a pizza, I would have never of thought of that. Your photos are just stunning. Best of luck to you! :)

  13. Spicy Green Mango

    I am in awe! These are sooo amazing Liren and you are ingenious! I love, love this! Way to raise the bar—great job of recreating pizza and the photos are on point!

    • Liren

      Chandara, I am so relieved you like it! You can imagine how nervous I was when I was working on it! Oh, did you notice your gift of sake in the background? Thank you again, it was perfect with this!

      • Spicy Green Mango

        Hehe..you totally read my mind and I kept wondering if I should change my comment and mention that I DID notice the sake in the background. Ahh..you totally are like my long-lost Gemini. Hugs and Cheers on acing this challenge!

  14. Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

    YAY! I’m so glad someone did this! I was going to make my own sushi pizza then decided to go in a completely different direction. Speaking of which, I should get back to working on mine. Good luck to both of us in Round 5!!!

  15. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops)

    Liren, perfection at its best ! No doubt the bar is set very high for this round :) The beauty of this is that you make it look so easy but when in fact the each layer is a work of art on its own. I wonder what you are going to do with the cooler :) :)

    • Liren

      Sharlene, thank you so, so much. I don’t know what to say, you’re too kind. I will say, this pizza was definitely a LOT more labor intensive than I expected. But it was worth it :)

  16. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    Liren it’s absolutely inspired! I *knew* someone more talented than me would attempt sushi pizzas so I left it at that – a thought in my head and glad I did – would be able to even come CLOSE to the beauty of these… Good luck – start packing your cooler!

    • Liren

      Mardi, I would have loved to see what you would have done with the idea…don’t even say anything about talent!!! I will be running over to your blog to check out what you created, I can’t wait!

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