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. Reeni

    Your sushi pizzas are stunning! The tempura shrimp balanced on top look so regal. You made sushi and pizza fall in love! Good luck!

  2. Peggy

    You definitely conveyed great imagery in your writing! I love the pairing of sushi and pizza… and I can’t believe I’ve not thought of this myself! I love both and with you good luck! You’ve got my vote for sure!

  3. Jamie

    I seriously never would have imagined but now that I see it I am blown away by how perfect it is. Gorgeous, mouthwatering and I want to use my hands. So delicious!

  4. riceandwheat

    I love the imagery of pizza and sushi running into each other on the streets of NYC and beginning a torrid love affair – good job on the matchmaking! You’ve managed to merge my two favorite food groups into one, which is no small feat, Liren. I think you need to start a food truck to sell these now, but of course, make sure to park it outside my apartment. :) I enjoyed every part of this post – the writing, the photography, the concept, everything – bravo!

  5. Marie (FoodNouveau)

    Gorgeous pictures and your take on the sushi-pizza is legitimate, nothing looks forced. It’s a perfect marriage! I would gladly eat that bite right now (after taking some time just to admire it :). Good job!

  6. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    SO creative!!! What a great matchmaker you are ;) You definitely have a vote from me!

    For my entry, I made pizza for all the wrong times of day: some Deep Dish Pizza Cupfakes and Pizzas Benedict :) Come see if you’d like!

  7. RavieNomNoms

    You have my vote! How fantastic! That looks so amazing and creative!

  8. Paula - bell'alimento

    I’m absolutely blown away by your beautiful post Liren! You should truly write a book, your writing is inspiring, your photos breathtaking and your recipes well, I’m drooling ; ) No need to wish you luck because you DON’T need it ; ) I LOVED LOVED meeting you this weekend. You’re even more beautiful on the inside than the out {and that’s hard to do bc you’re GORGEOUS} See you soon! Mwah!

  9. Jacob's Kitchen

    Oh, Liren. You never fail to amaze. This is absolutely breathtaking. You have elevated pizza to art. And not only is it beautiful but it also sounds mouthwatering-ly delicious as well. You put us all to shame, as usual. =)

    I voted for you, of course. best of luck in this round (not that you need it!).

    Hope to see us both in round 6!!! =)

  10. Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot

    I adore your story about pizza and sushi. You’re quite the matchmaker! Looks beautiful and delicious! You have my vote for sure!

  11. Megan

    Love, love, love! Usually I have something wittier to say in the comments but really, I love this. Good luck!

  12. Ben

    I like to think there was a drunken hook-up between the pizza and the sushi. It may have been embarrassing, but I’m glad it happened. Love how you ran with this challenge and made it your own.

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