These simple, fresh rainbow vegetable spring rolls are great as an appetizer or a light meal. They’re paired with an easy peanut sauce.
I developed this vegetable spring rolls recipe because I was so irate about spending $9 on something similar in San Francisco. It was a few months ago, and I had just finished a rough workout. I was famished—a dangerous time to go shopping for dinner. My eyes and stomach gravitated towards the steaming hot mac and cheese. However, my mind kept nagging me to grab a lighter meal, so I took the vegetable spring rolls. I really should learn to trust my gut, literally.
The vegetable spring rolls I bought were stale and the filling bland. The peanut sauce that came with the spring rolls didn’t do any favors either. Every bite I took was met with pangs of regret, as I kept reminding myself that I could have made something better.
Here is a simple recipe for vegetable spring rolls. I hesitate to call this a recipe because you can wrap any vegetables and make the spring rolls as big or small as you like. I picked bell peppers, red cabbage, cucumber and carrots for color. If you want more filling rolls, add tofu, shrimp, chicken or vermicelli noodles.
MASTERING MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Using the sauce: You have the option of drizzling some sauce over the filling before rolling up the vegetable spring rolls, or you can use the sauce as a dip alone. Some people prefer having sauce inside the spring rolls to give them more flavor.
- Making the spring rolls the day before: If you store the vegetable spring rolls in the fridge, the cold temperature will harden the rice paper, making them less pleasant to eat. To soften the rice paper, flick a bit of water over the spring rolls and microwave them on high for about 20 to 30 seconds.
- Do not serve these on paper plates: I made the mistake of serving the spring rolls on disposable paper plates. When I took a spring roll off the plate, a chunk of the paper came along with it. Sadly, I had to redo all the rolls.
INGREDIENTS I USED
- 22cm rice paper wrappers: These are fairly large wrappers, which will allow you to wrap more vegetables inside. You can find them online, at Asian markets and occasionally in the Asian sections of major supermarkets.
- Light soy sauce (生抽酱油): You can also use tamari if you are on a gluten-free diet
- Rice vinegar: Not to be confused with seasoned rice vinegar, which usually contains sugar and is meant to season sushi rice.
HUNGRY FOR MORE APPETIZERS?
- Teriyaki Tofu Spring Rolls
- Red Curry and Brown Sugar Spring Rolls
- Leek & Kohlrabi Fritters
- Japanese-Spiced Goat Cheese Ball
Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls (Vegan)
I used butter lettuce because the shape of the outer leaves easily cover a large surface area of the rice paper. The color of butter lettuce also looks more vibrant.
It’s very easy to double up the recipe and make a larger batch for parties.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: About 12 spring rolls
- 12 22-cm rice paper wrappers
- 12 butter lettuce leaves
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced
- fresh mint leaves
- fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- pinch of salt (add more to taste)
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Get your workspace organized. Fill a shallow, wide bowl with warm water. Lightly wet the surface of the cutting board. Place the vegetables on plates or bowls and get them close to your workspace. Have a large plate ready so that you can lay your finished spring rolls on top.
- Dip a rice paper wrapper into the bowl of water and circle the paper around so that the entire surface is moistened. Transfer the rice paper onto the wet board. Place a lettuce leaf on top of the rice paper. Then, lay the vegetables, mint, and basil on top, about 1/2 to 1 inch away from the bottom of the wrapper.
- Starting from the bottom of the wrapper, start rolling everything towards the middle. Fold the left and right sides of the wrapper towards the center, and finish rolling up the spring roll. Place the spring roll onto your spare plate and repeat for the remaining spring rolls. (NOTE: If you find that the wrappers are quite stiff, let it sit on your cutting board for an extra 10 to 15 seconds to soften. Then, roll up the spring rolls.)
- Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. In the beginning, the peanut butter will be very difficult to break apart. Just keep stirring, and you’ll eventually get a smooth sauce.
- Serve the spring rolls with the sauce. It is best consumed within the same day.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Amount Per Spring Roll + 1/12 of Dressing: Calories: 130, Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 176.5mg, Total Carbohydrate: 17.5g, Dietary Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 6g, Protein 3.2g