Ok folks, it’s “In The Kitchen” time which is probably my favorite time because I love me food. I find it fundamentally strange when people say eat to live, don’t live to eat. Can’t I do both? And what better food to eat during these excruciatingly hot summer months (yes, it gets hot in Canada too believe it or not) than to indulge in a super healthy and more importantly, oven free meal? I found the recipe for these spring rolls in Chef Roberto Martin’s new cookbook, Vegan Cooking For Carnivores.
Before you start moving your mouse over to the close button, WAIT! Vegan is not a scary, tasteless, or hippie word. Or at least not anymore. Spring rolls are a great example of food that tastes lovely and doesn’t involve a single animal to make. You can see the recipe in full at the bottom of this post. I’m also including a video of Chef Martin preparing another version of spring rolls on The Ellen Show below (he happens to be her and Portia’s personal chef. Lucky ladies!) so you can check that out too. I’ll be adjusting this recipe to what I happened to have on hand at the time so they wont be the exact same recipe but that’s another fabulous feature of this meal. You can make it a zillion different ways and have it taste like heaven every time.
The steps are super easy. Basically take all your veggies out of the fridge and chop up what you fancy. I went with lettuce, red and orange peppers, green onion, carrots and mango. Be sure to dice up everything nice and small so it will easily fill your rice paper roll.
Then I added some herbs from my garden which is so stupidly exciting for me. Something about having grown it myself and having it on hand when I need it is exhilarating. Some people like to jump out of planes, I have an herb garden.
I added cilantro, mint, and basil chopped finely. You can also cut some thin slices of avocado at this point and put them to the side to add with your filling later. Now pause and take a whiff of your bowl for the smells of summer at its finest.
This was my first time using rice paper but it was easier to use than opening and heating a can of beans. You literally just need to dip a sheet in some warm water for about 20 seconds and you’re good to go. I used a cookie sheet so the entire rice paper sheet can be moistened at once. The higher the temp of the water the quicker it will be ready to use.
Lay your sheet out on a cutting board and straighten it out, checking for tears and holes.
Now scoop a big spoonful of your filling onto the sheet about 1/3rd down from the top.
Add a couple slices of avocado and sprinkle on a little pepper if you dig it.
Then roll the bottom of the sheet up and over the filling and tuck it underneath nice and snugly. It reminded me of rolling up my sleeping bag as a kid except you wont have to stuff this into a ridiculously tiny bag once you roll it all the way up.
Now you want to flip both sides of the roll towards the center to seal up the sides. The moisture from the rice paper acts as an awesome glue to hold everything together so it’s really a cinch to get right. Then you just finish rolling it out to the end.
And viola, there’s your completed spring roll! I cut each of these babies on a diagonal so you can see the colorful goodness inside and arranged them on a plate all fancy-like:
This would be an awesome starter at a party or served with a summer BBQ. We had them as our dinner and they were perfect. I could eat them like potato chips. What’s also great is they are incredibly filling but you’re full of guilt-free food so everyone’s a winner :)
The dipping sauce for these guys is super flavorful. It’s also crazy painless to make too. Check out the recipe in full below for the instructions on the rolls and how to make a yummy sauce to dunk them in:
Mango Spring Rolls
1 package Rice Paper
2-3 cups of Lettuce, finely chopped (I used romaine)
1 Red and Orange Pepper, finely chopped
1 Medium Size Carrot, grated or cut finely
1 Mango, diced
1/2 cup Green Onions, finely chopped
1 Handful Each of Cilantro, Mint and Basil, roughly chopped
2 Avocados, in slices
Juice of 1 Lemon, Lime, and Orange
1 tsp Fresh Ginger Grated
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Water
Combine all the vegetables for rolls except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Lay a sheet of rice paper in warm water for 20 seconds. Lay paper out on flat surface and spoon filling onto lower portion of paper. Add 1 or slice of avocado and fold the bottom of rice paper over the filling tucking it snugly underneath. Fold over the sides of the paper towards the center to seal sides. Continue rolling to the end of sheet and slice roll in half. arrange on plate.
For sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
And that’s all it takes. It’s a great way to beat the heat and get your fresh summer veggie servings. What kinds of things do you cook during summer that avoid the dreaded oven? Share your thoughts!
And as promised, here is Chef Martin preparing a similar version of these rolls on The Ellen Show:
(All photos are property of Reckless Bliss)