I’m obsessed with salad. Not your standard on-the-side variety with the requisite red onions and gratuitous carrot shreds—I mean salads that are composed or at least tossed deliberately with a freshly prepped dressing and a perfect balance of tastes and textures. But there are times, even for me, when spearing tender greens with a fork just isn’t going to cut it. I want to gnash my teeth into something heartier. But before you start rolling your eyes and mumbling “somebody get this girl a burger—stat,” hear me out.
Turns out that when you wrap veggies, fruit, and nuts with rice paper, you can actually gnash your salad about as salaciously as the models in a Carl’s Jr. commercial. And it’s satisfying too!
Most of us have grabbed a couple of rice-paper wrapped spring rolls at a take-out window or corner deli, but few realize how simple they are to make (and how much better they are when you make them at home). I know this because I have been blessed with an uber-healthy vegan neighbor who attends every party I have ever thrown with a beautiful serving tray of homemade spring rolls in her hands. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that people fall all over themselves for the recipe, even offering to pay her to make them a tray once a week. She has better things to do, however, and so she taught me how to make them myself .
It’s really easy. All you have to do is prep your ingredients (shred, soak, and chop as the case may be) and assemble. My young children love helping. In the interest of full disclosure, the rolls your kids make will not be pretty. The ones my kids wrap up look more like alien life forms than food, but at least for my boys that’s a real bonus. And they actually eat them, which is the goal. Here are five reasons to love spring rolls as much as my kids and I do.
1. Spring Rolls Are a Cinch The recipe my fabulous neighbor makes is almost exactly like this one from Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin fully discloses how intimidated she was by the rice paper’s original texture, but after a few simple steps, she was shocked with how effortless her rolls turned out!
2. Spring Rolls Are Timeless Leave it to Heidi Swensen of 101 Cookbooks to skillfully winterize a dish defined by spring. Without turning to ingredients too weighty for the rice-paper wrapper, she incorporates an earthy depth of flavor with a ginger onion paste and a textural meatiness with button mushrooms and tofu.
3. Spring Rolls Can Contain Fruit Come summer, spring rolls are still going strong. Camille Styles brilliantly pairs peaches with cucumbers, cashews, mint, basil, and cilantro for the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Now isn’t that just peachy!
4. Spring Rolls Offer Healthy Substitutes Sarah Britton shows how to amp up your spring roll to make every element even healthier than the good-for-you original. Plus she gives bonus points for a peanut-alternative almond-butter dipping sauce.
5. Spring Rolls Are for Dessert! Jasmine Risotto Spring Rolls with Vanilla Dipping Sauce from Vegetarian Times not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but they’re healthy, delicious, and easy to eat on the go too!
Have you ever made spring rolls at home?
photo via Flickr user cproppe