I found out about this great recipe at hula class a few weeks ago. Our teacher's sister made a delicious salad that tasted exactly like a California roll. After one taste, I thought to myself "Matt NEEDS to try this"!
There are many recipes for this salad, and by simply searching "California roll salad" you can come up with dozens. Like other popular recipes, there are tons of variations, and I chose the one closest to what I had tasted. The only difference (I think?) is that this recipe includes a dressing for the rice salad. I half think I chose this recipe simply because of the dressing, which uses wasabi powder (I recently purchased wasabi powder from Penzey's).
The recipe does involve quite a bit of prep work, including chopping cucumbers, grating carrots, chopping crab meat (which can be omitted for vegetarians), and so on. Once you get the rice made and everything sliced and diced, the recipe is really simple - just throw it all together and mix!! I could even see this recipe being used again for different types of sushi flavor (eel avocado roll anyone??!).
It would also be a nice different side dish to take to a picnic or outdoor event. The salad is adventurous enough, but imitation crab meat is not as scary to most people as raw fish. It's quite light and delicious, as a regular sushi roll would be, and adding the dressing creates the effect of dipping a sushi piece in soy sauce mixed with wasabi.
You may find the recipe I used at the Epicurious website here. I hope you try this recipe!! It is really good and would be great this summer when you start to move meals outside. Enjoy!