One of my favorite summertime lunches is Vietnamese Spring Rolls. They are so refreshing and light because they are not fried. I love the colorful, crunchy fresh vegetables all wrapped up inside a rice paper wrap! They are so easy to make at home and you can use whatever vegetables you happen to have in the fridge. One of our favorite local restaurants called Zest uses large rice paper wrappers to make delicious gluten free wraps that are filling enough to be a meal. Hubby Tom and I recently took a class at Zest all about making Spring Rolls. I learned some tips from Angelique the owner, that have made it so much easier. Yesterday I was prepping the ingredients for spring rolls for our lunch and on a lark I had hubby Tom video tape it so I could share it with all of you.
I have a picture tutorial for you as well as a You Tube Video!
Watch the You Tube video to see how to roll them up!
Here is a look at the ingredients you need to make Spring Rolls or Rice Paper Wraps. You can use any kind of beans if you want to or leave them out. I like to make some hummus and use it as a spread – it helps the veggies to stick and adds flavor as well as making them more filling. Some toasted sesame seeds or a few sunflower seeds look pretty but aren’t necessary. Leaf lettuce and some fresh herbs like mint, basil and cilantro.
I buy these at Whole Foods but Health Food Stores, Asian Markets or grocery stores with a large Asian section should have them. They also are available as white rice wrappers but I like the brown rice ones – they are slightly healthier and they are easier to work with because they are sturdier.
Use what ever vegetables you have on hand – this is what I had in my fridge – just about anything works!
A bowl of room temperature water for dipping the rice paper wraps in. Take one rice wrapper at a time and dip it briefly in the water – let the excess drip off and then place on a clean surface like a cutting board or a tea towel will also work. If you leave it in the water too long or if the water it too hot it makes the rice paper go limp and become very difficult to work with.
The green image you see is the design on my cutting board showing through. As you place the veggies on the wrap it is becoming softer and by the time you are ready to roll it up it will be pliable.
Think of your work area a rectangle space in the center of the wrap. Leave the surrounding area free so you have room to wrap and roll the rice wrapper around the fillings.
Put your herbs on the rice paper with the nice side face down because that is what will show when it’s finished.
Next place a lettuce leaf – breaking off the stem and placing the stem on top of the lettuce, put a smear of hummus on as it acts like glue and helps hold the veggies and other fillings in place and it adds flavor. You don’t have to use any spread or hummus and they will still taste delicious.
Top the lettuce with your choice of other veggies, fruits and or beans. Not too much – it isn’t a burrito – it’s a spring roll and you won’t be able to roll it neatly if it is overly full. Starting with the side closest to you fold it up over the filling, then fold in both sides and roll it up! If the rice wrapper tears just get another rice wrap wet and roll it again giving it a second layer. Watch the video to see the wrapping technique.
They are best made fresh when you want to eat them. You can make them ahead several hours and store them covered in the fridge. The rice wrapper can dry out so if it does seem dry and stiff take a pastry brush with a little water and go over the rolls lightly and it will soften the rice wrapper again. These can be used as an appetizer or as a meal.
If you use a flavorful hummus like my regular Hummus or the Sun Dried Tomato Hummus you really don’t need any kind of dipping sauce but you can still use one if you wish. As a member of the Chef AJ Ultimate Weight Loss Plan we eat a low fat, low sodium food plan so we avoid soy sauce and peanut butter which are typical things to make a sauce with for Spring Rolls.
Instead you can make your favorite no oil salad dressing and use it as a dip. My Creamy Balsamic Dressing works well for a Spring Roll dip. I have used Chef AJ’s Barefoot Dressing which is in her Elegant Party Recipes Webinar that you do have to purchase but it’s packed with amazing recipes that you will love. You could use Cathy Fisher’s Pineapple – Mango dressing too – its fabulous!
You could set up a little assembly line with ingredients for your next family get together or pot luck and let everyone have fun making their own personalized Spring Roll Wraps!
Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.
Have you made Spring Rolls?