Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls You Can’t Turn Down

Recipe by Katie Mae

Makes 8 rolls | Ready in 20 minutes | Stores 2 days in fridge (7 without avocado)

INGREDIENTS

½ cup cilantro, mint, and/or basil leaves
1 carrot
¼ red cabbage
4 oz extra firm tofu or tempeh
1–2 avocados, thinly sliced
2 cups sprouts of your choice
½ cup lime juice
16 rice paper wrappers (only 8 if you don’t double wrap)

ACTION STEPS

  1. Use a mandolin or box grater to slice the carrot, and cabbage into thin strips—or julienne by hand. Slice the tofu or tempeh in thin strips. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, slice each half into very thin slices; and then use a spoon scoop out the slices.
  2. Fill a round cake pan or pie dish halfway with warm-hot water. (It should be hot, but not so much that it burns your fingers.) The rice paper wrappers will be immersed in the water one by one to soften them before filling. As soon as you put one in the water, watch for it to begin curling, then immediately flip it over and continue flipping until it is soft and stretchy. Use both hands to keep it open as you lay it flat it to a clean, surface, careful so it doesn’t collapse on itself. I use a large cutting board to make the wraps on.
  3. To double wrap the rolls—this makes them hold better and easier to handle—wet a second rice paper and layer directly on top of the first.
  4. Next, the filling, which will be placed in the center of the roll as you would fill a burrito. Start by laying a few leaves/sprigs of fresh herbs down the middle. Add a little bit of shredded carrot, shredded cabbage, and then a couple tofu/tempeh strips. Add a couple slices of avocado, a tablespoon or more of lime juice drizzled over the avocado, and a small bunch of sprouts.
    To roll each roll, gently fold the sides of the wrapper towards the center and then fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, gently pulling the enclosed part of the rollback, so it’s tightly packed. Continue rolling until it’s closed and snug.
  5. Place the finished roll on a plate and cover with a damp towel. Repeat this process with each wrapper. You’ll need to renew the hot water part way. When they’re all made, slice each roll in half with a sharp knife and serve with a dipping sauce, like our Quick & Easy Peanut Sauce.

CHEF’S NOTES

Careful not to overfill the rolls, otherwise they will be difficult to roll and will fall apart easier.

To save for later, wrap the spring rolls individually in parchment paper and plastic wrap, which will help prevent them from sticking to each other or becoming soggy. They’re best eaten within a day or two, due to the avocado. Without avocado added, they will easily last a week in the fridge.

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THE STORY

These Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls are inspired by the very popular menu item in Vietnamese restaurants. Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls are made of a variety of crunchy vegetables and herbs that are stuffed and rolled into transparent rice paper. Their simplicity is what makes them so gratifying. You can really appreciate and enjoy the unadulterated flavor of each and every ingredient.

The spring roll originated in China to celebrate the new year and spring season. An array of fresh vegetables from the first spring crop were rolled in a wheat wrapper. Later, the Vietnamese variety was eventually adapted, using rice paper, to feed the coastal fishermen of Vietnam.

When researching the history of the spring roll, I came across an interesting observation made by anthropologists. “Every culture has some sort of food where meat or seafood and vegetables are wrapped in some kind of dough, grain, or similar wrapper.”

This is so true!

Although, I would adjust the statement to include legumes and grains as staple filling options, as well.

Think of Middle Eastern pitas, Greek and Turkish wraps, Mexican burritos, Southeast Asian sushi rolls, and the Indian kati roll.

These foods have long been staples because they are so easy to pack, carry, and eat on-the-go. They’re convenient for farmers, hunters, and fishermen to take out to the field or sea.

Fresh spring rolls are perfect to pack for the modern-day office, too, or whenever you’re out and on-the-go. No forks, knives, or mess involved!

They’re also convenient because they store really well in the fridge, so you could make enough on Sunday to enjoy throughout the entire week!

On those extra hot days when no one wants to cook anything, a raw veggie dish like this makes an appealing option, especially when you have a yummy dipping sauce! I suggest serving them with this oh-so-creamy peanut sauce.

They’re so tasty you may want to bring a plateful as an appetizer to the next summer social. There’s no better way to open omnivores up to the plant-powered lifestyle than impressing their taste buds and filling their belly!


 

2 Comments

  1. Bernie

    What is the nutrition (fats, sugars, sodium, etc.) and calorie count? Thank you.

    1. theculinarygym

      Hi Bernie. We have not done a nutritional analysis of our recipes because our general recommendation is to focus on getting a variety of whole, plant foods, rather than tracking individual nutrients. However, we understand that for some people seeing specific nutrients is still desirable and occasionally necessary, and thus we do hope to provide nutritional analysis in our future cookbook. In the meantime, if you’d like to you can enter all of the ingredients for this or any other recipe into free online nutrition analysis software. My favorite is http://www.Cronometer.com. Cheers!

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