• One of Hawaii's favourite snacks, Spam musubi (Food Network / Junk Food Flip)

The original deep-fried spam musubi we were up against had almost 1400 calories! Our lighter version comes in at just over 400, but is packed with flavour and drizzled with sweet and spicy pineapple mayo. 






Skill level

Average: 4.8 (2 votes)

In Junk Food Flip, we're on a mission to come up with comfort food versions that you can feel great about eating. This is what we came up with when we "flipped" a classic Hawaiian dish, deep-fried spam musubi. 


Cauliflower and pineapple rice

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock 
  • 2 cups long grain rice 
  • 1 large head cauliflower, core removed and coarsely chopped (about 2 pounds) 
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil  
  • 1 cup finely chopped orange capsicum (bell pepper)  
  • 1 cup finely chopped pineapple  
  • ¼ cup finely chopped jalapeno  
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) 
  • kosher salt  

Sweet and spicy pineapple mayo

  • ¾ cup pineapple juice 
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt  
  • ⅓ cup light mayonnaise  
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice  
  • 3 tsp Sriracha  
  • kosher salt  

Teriyaki sauce

  • ½ cup low-sodium tamari 
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar  
  • 1 tbsp light agave  
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic  
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger  
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil  
  • 1 340 g (12 oz) can of Spam Lite, cut into 8 slices  

Spam musubis

  • 8 20 cm x 18 cm (8 in x 7 in) pieces toasted nori sheets 
  • ½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour  
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • 4 large egg whites  
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs  
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs  
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil  


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Add the stock and rice to a medium saucepot set over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer then cook, covered, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles a rice consistency, about 4 cups total. Bring 1½ cups water to simmer in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the cauliflower, then pat dry with paper towels. You should be left with about 2 cups of cooked cauliflower.

Wipe out the large saute pan, then add the olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the capsicum, pineapples and jalapenos, and cook until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together the coriander, vegetables, rice, cauliflower and some salt, and stir to combine.

For the mayo: Pour the pineapple juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the juice reduces to 2 tablespoons, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of the pineapple reduction, the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, Sriracha and ¼ tsp salt in a mixing bowl. Taste the sauce and if it needs a touch more sweetness, add the remaining 2 tsp pineapple reduction.

For the teriyaki: Whisk together the tamari, 2 tablespoons water, the vinegar, agave, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Pour half of the sauce in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Reserve for a later use.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the other half of the teriyaki sauce and the Spam. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the Spam and reserve to build the musubis, and discard the sauce.

For the musubis: Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Place one nori sheet, rough-side up, in the middle of the plastic wrap. Spread 2 teaspoons of the mayo in the center of the nori (a 3-by 4-inch rectangle). Place ¼ cup of the pineapple rice over the mayo and top with 1 piece of the Spam. Place ¼ cup of the rice on the Spam and dollop 2 teaspoons of the mayo over the rice. Fold the nori sheet over filling, then tuck in the sides and roll up into a tight bundle, as you would a burrito. Wrap the musubi tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients to form 8 musubis. There will be some leftover rice. Rest the musubis in plastic wrap for at least 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper in a shallow baking dish. Whisk the egg whites with ⅛ tsp salt in a second shallow baking dish. Stir together the panko breadcrumbs, plain breadcrumbs, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper in a third shallow baking dish. Unwrap and coat two musubis in the flour, and tap off any excess. Coat the musubis in the eggs and allow any excess to drip off. Then coat the musubis in the breadcrumbs.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the coated musubis and cook until crisp on each side, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain any excess oil. Repeat the breading and pan-frying process for the remaining musubis, adding 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan before each batch.

Drizzle the musubis with some spicy mayo and teriyaki glaze (about 1 tablespoon of mayo and 1 teaspoon of glaze per musubi) and serve immediately. Sprinkle with seeds, if desired. 

Cook’s Note

•If making the musubis ahead of time, reheat in a 180˚C (350˚F).oven until warmed through, 10 minutes.