When I’m in a hurry and I don’t really have time to eat, I tend to grab-and-go sushi. It’s filling, pretty cheap, and way healthier than some of the other “fast food” out there, especially if you choose the ones that aren’t deep fried, and incorporate lots of veggies.
In a similar vein, I will often grab salad rolls at my local Asian supermarket or at Whole Foods. If you’ve never had one, they are basically like a burrito, but wrapped in rice paper instead of a tortilla. Inside? The traditional filling is lettuce, rice vermicelli noodles, and some kind of meat–a kind of mystery ham I like to avoid or a couple of prawns (my usual choice). They come with a tasty peanut dipping sauce, thick, salty and a little sweet.
I bought one recently, but as I was eating it, I felt some disappointment. I wanted more vegetables. All the rice noodles made it feel kinda starchy, and honestly, not off the charts in terms of flavor. So I started thinking about veganizing it, and using my new spiralizer to create vegetable “noodles” in the place of the rice vermicelli.
The end result? A gorgeous, colourful and really filling lunch that’s super portable. These would be great to take on a hike or picnic, or in your bag to work.
The other great thing about these is that you can stuff them with whatever you like. For me, I tried to focus on using bright colours, so I went with purple cabbage, green lettuce, cucumber and orange carrots. But you really could use any salad vegetables you have in the house, as long as you chop them finely enough.
Okay! Let’s get to it!
Salad Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Ingredients for the rolls:
- rice papers (you can buy these at your Asian grocery store–look in the section with the rice noodles)
- smoked tofu
- lettuce or kale
- Other options: thinly sliced red peppers, avocados
- First, prep all your veggies. Wash the greens, and spin them dry. Leave some large pieces of lettuce whole to help with the wrapping. Spiralize or grate the cucumber and carrots, and chop the cabbage into fine ribbons. Cut the tofu into thin slices.
- Get the biggest bowl you have and fill it with warm tap water. Dampen a kitchen towel or napkin and wring it out. Lay it flat on your work surface. Now take one of the rice wrappers and gently soak it in the bowl of warm water. You’ll want to leave it in there for about 20-30 seconds, until it’s soft and pliable, but not so soft that it’s ripping and falling apart. Remove it from the water and gently lay it down and spread it out on your damp towel.
- Now start building the roll. Begin with 2 slices of tofu, then layer your veggies on top. I sometimes like to lay a large leaf of lettuce on top of the rice wrapper to help bulk up the wrapping, which gives you 2 layers instead of one flimsy one. Pile the veggies on top of the lettuce leaf. Be careful not to fill it too full.
- Once you have stuffed your roll, it’s time to roll it. You do this burrito-style:
- Repeat until you run out of ingredients.
Ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce:
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari if you want to keep it gluten-free)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ½ tsp ginger
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
- ¼ cup water, or more as needed
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove and heat gently until everything dissolves together. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick. Serve alongside the spring rolls.