Spring! Just that one word makes me happy. I was born in May, which is maybe why I love this time of year so much. The earth seems to breathe again, the sun becomes warmer (thank heavens!), the grass turns green, flowers start to grow, and the glorious “fresh food months” are born! From the first taste of sweet, juicy strawberries, I start to rejoice that our citrus-and-bananas-are-the-only-fresh-fruits months are behind us. Hooray! So these Raw Veggie Spring Rolls are simply a celebration of just that…spring! Luckily, these can be made year-round, but they just seem like such an appropriate way to celebrate SPRING. Stuffed with all the fresh veggies you can get your hands on, these are beautiful, colorful and a fun way to “eat your veggies.”
My first introduction to homemade spring rolls was from my daughter, Katie. A little history here…Katie started to cook when she was probably four years old. Her first concoctions were “smoothies” which consisted of sugar, mashed bananas and ice. As soon as she could read, I gave her Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook for kids, There’s a Chef in My Soup, and she learned to make mac-n-cheese and egg salad sandwiches. She and Sarah took summer cooking classes at our local elementary school, where they whipped up almond cake, spaghetti sauce and pretzels. She was probably 15 or so when she created her first spring roll. Wow! I was very impressed with my healthy, grown-up little girl who created such a beautiful treat. Sorry if I’m sounding a bit sentimental. Katie is getting married next week…all ready to venture out into the “grown-up world.” I couldn’t be happier for her. She’s ready for this monumental step! One thing I’m grateful for is that she’s so prepared to create delicious meals of her own. Noah is a very lucky man indeed.
So, happy spring! I hope you get to attend a May wedding, run your feet through freshly mowed grass, enjoy the beautiful flowers growing in your garden, and…bet you weren’t expecting this one…eat your fill of tasty spring veggies:)
- 1 package large circular spring roll skins/rice paper
- Red pepper
- Fresh mint
- Purple cabbage
- Bean sprouts
- Green onions or chives
- Crushed peanuts and sesame seeds for garnish
- ¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tsp. hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 2 Tbsp. warm water
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 4 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. chili paste
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the peanut sauce and whisk together.
- In another small bowl, combine all ingredients for the honey sesame sauce and whisk together.
- Set aside and prepare the spring rolls.
- Prepare all of your veggies/fruits. Slice into long, thin strips.
- Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
- Fill a deep plate (a large skillet works great!) with warm water.
- Working one at a time, submerge the rice paper in the water for about 15 seconds.
- Remove from the water, carefully fold the rice paper in half and place on the baking sheet. *The paper should still be somewhat firm when you remove it from the water.
- Working quickly, place all of the desired veggies/fruits in a line down the middle of the rice paper (that now looks like a half circle.)
- Carefully fold one side of the rice paper over the fillings and roll up. *Tips: If the rice paper gets sticky, it can help to dampen your fingers with warm water. It can also help to have a second person hold the wax paper down so the rice paper doesn’t stick to it.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and dip in sauces!
*These are just ideas for spring roll fillings. Be as creative as you'd like! As for amounts, just use enough to fill the number of spring rolls you're making.