This morning, I woke up with the strangest feeling...like butter was running through my veins. After a week of gorging on really delicious, but incredibly rich foods, my body is rebelling. During a run, I felt heavy and slow like there were weights on the bottom of my feet.
I made a decision to eat light this whole week. To do a light "cleanse". Nothing too radical, no fasting or juice cleanses. Just a very gentle cleanse focusing on eating mostly fruits and veggies and cutting out meat and dairy and wheat.
I am really craving green food. Alive green food.
I want to feel lighter.
I went thru my fridge and grabbed all the veges I could find. Cucumber, Carrot, Mache lettuce, mint, scallions, avocado and diakon. I also found some sprouted tofu.
Going thru my pantry, I discovered some rice paper that I had long forgotten about.
All the makings for fresh Vietnamese Salad Rolls....
more commonly known here in the west as "spring rolls".
Spring rolls are one of my favorite things to eat because they are so clean flavored and refreshing.
To me, mint adds a delicious brightness.
They are also surprisingly easy to make.
Rice paper is made predominantly from rice flour and is sold in thin dry round clear sheets of varying sizes. When I first beheld rice paper in the package I had great difficulty in imagining that it could be transformed into something soft and pliable. Its quite remarkable really.
You can find rice paper in most grocery stores in the Asian food isle.
To start, prep your veggies. The carrot, cucumber, tofu and daikon are cut into long thin strips.
For those not familiar with daikon, it is basically a large white radish in the shape of a giant white carrot. It has a milder peppery taste compared to a regular radish. Daikon is known for its detox benefits and has a very enjoyable crunch.
To give the spring rolls a little more heartiness, you could add avocado or tofu. Or even better, both!
An easy way to slice avocado is to leave it in the skin, slice with sharp paring knife, being careful not to go thru the skin. Then scoop out the slices with a large spoon.
The tofu slices were drizzled with a little soy sauce. Once all your veggies are prepped,
clear a work space for yourself and get a clean dish town damp ( get it wet and wring out the excess water) and place it down on your work surface.
In these photos, I am not using the dish towel because it was too distracting in the photographs, but trust me, it works a whole lot better if you use the dish towel method. It keeps your rice paper from getting too wet or too dry and somehow makes it easier to wrap them up tighter.
Fill a large bowl with luke warm water.
Place 2 spring roll wrappers in the water and let sit until they become soft ...about 1 min.
The hotter the water you use the shorter time they will need to be submerged. I like using luke warm water so I have more time to work with the rolls. If you let them sit too long in the water they will become too soft and will break easy.
Pull the now pliable rice paper out of the bowl carefully and place on your damp dish towel.
Lay the rice paper out flat. If you have a tear in the rice paper, put the tear towards you. You may be able to salvage it.
Place your fillings in the middle and wrap up tight like a snug little burrito.
Let them sit on their seam for just a minute and they should seal nicely.
With a large sharp knife, cut into bite sized pieces.
Or you could make these ahead and store them in your fridge in a baking dish layering them with wet paper towels and covering well with plastic wrap.
Cut before serving.
To serve, place on a white plate or platter and serve with you favorite dipping sauce.
You could serve it with a peanut sauce or try this. Sweet Chili Sauce. This has become my favorite dipping sauce for spring rolls.
Experiment with different herbs like basil or cilantro. Use different greens like arugula or spinach.
Try using different veggies...bell pepper, cabbage, jicama.
Try different fillings like... shrimp, chicken or even smoked salmon.
Be creative and most of all...have fun.
These would also make a refreshingly healthy appetizer ....
(I often make these when catering parties as an appetizers ...and they go quickly.)
Or have them for a light but satisfying lunch.
Not only can the be vegan, they are gluten free.
What do you like to eat when wanting lighter fare?