The amazing weather in Vancouver this weekend has got me in the mood for light, refreshing and quick meals that don’t involve much prep or cooking for that matter. Vietnamese-style spring rolls (or some know as salad rolls) fixed this craving of mine over the weekend. I was in need of something easy to make for both myself and my guy as he recovers from travelling and a bit of jet lag (he just came back yesterday after 9 days in New Orleans!)
The one thing I LOVE about salad rolls are how versatile they are. It’s a good meal to make to use up those leftover veggies and to try new flavour combinations and protein choices. The first time I made salad rolls was in university for our “Food Theory Applications” course (aka food lab where we cooked and ate a ton once a week!) This recipe is inspired by the rolls we made in that class. It uses carrots and bean sprouts as the main veg but you can add lettuce, cucumbers or any other dry/hardier vegetable that can hold it’s form in the roll (avoid the more moist veggies since it’ll make your roll soggy). My protein of choice: smoked tofu! You can find them at any Asian grocer and can also be found at speciality and some everyday grocery stores.
- Thin rice noodles (vermicelli) – approx 50 g
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 2 carrots (approx 1 cup (250mL)), thinly sliced
- 2 cups (500 mL) bean sprouts
- 2 tsp (10 mL) brown sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) Thai basil leaves, whole
- 1 cup (250 mL) cilantro leaves, whole
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) fish sauce
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) lime or lemon juice
- 8 sheets rice paper (large circles, approx 10 inches)
- Smoked tofu (I purchased 1 package and it was enough for at least 8 rolls – it’ll make more if you like less in your roll)
- 8 leaves lettuce
What to do:
- Bring approx 6 cups of water to a boil. Place rice noodles and salt in a large boil. Once water boils, add to bowl and let rice noodles sit for approx 2 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.
- Mix together carrots, bean sprouts, brown sugar, basil, cilantro, fish sauce and lime/lemon juice until well combined. Set aside.
- Slice tofu into strips (sized to your preference). Set aside.
- For rice paper: add warm water to a large bowl. Set up a clean working space with a kitchen towel. Immerse 1 paper into the bowl for approx 10 seconds – the rice paper will still be firm. Transfer rice paper onto the kitchen towel – this will prevent the rice paper from sticking to your working space and make the rolling easier.
- Assembly: Place lettuce onto rice paper. Spread rice noodles, vegetable mix, and tofu on top of lettuce ensuring there’s an approx 2 inch border of paper around the edges with no filling. Fold up the bottom 2 inch border of rice paper over the filling. Fold over the left and right edges. Roll the remaining paper forming a tight cylinder. Cover with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap and continue the same process with the remaining rolls.
- Serve with your favourite peanut sauce. NOM!
Makes approx 8 large rolls – can make more if less filling added (I like my rolls stuffed with lots of goodness!)
- Are you more of a meat eater rather than tofu person? BBQ pork works very well as a protein – find it at your local Asian grocer.
- Don’t over soak your rice paper. It’ll make it extremely hard to roll and a sticky mess. Immersing the paper in water for approx 10 seconds allows the paper to absorb enough water while maintaining structure to help with the folding process and the paper continues to soften as you’re assembling the roll.
- Got some extra veggies in the fridge (bell peppers, cucumbers, etc)? Stick it in this roll! It’ll be a quick and easy way to eat those veggies!