Last week, I had the privilege to share a healthy yet festive dish on the Good Morning Girls show on TV5. I whipped up this recipe and it is fab! It’s super easy, quick to assemble, and healthy without tasting like it is. You can add any vegetables you have on hand – the key is to use different colored ones for maximum antioxidant, nutrient, and presentation impact.
These rolls get robust flavors from fresh herbs and the sauce itself. Try making these for a healthy weekday lunch or for your next holiday potluck. Feel free to play around with the filling – why not try grated fresh beets? You can grate the carrot, too. Add strips of pan-seared tofu or chopped toasted peanuts for protein, or sautéed mushrooms for more savory goodness.
You can find Vietnamese rice paper in most grocery stores. My neighborhood supermarket carries them in the taco shell section. I like these better than regular lumpia wrappers because they’re gluten free, keep for months in the pantry, and don’t tear easily. I love adding mango to these rolls – it marries well with fresh vegetables and the sauce.
RAINBOW VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS
bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (preferably red and yellow)
cucumber, seeded, sliced into strips
shredded purple cabbage
carrots, coarsely grated or sliced into matchsticks
singkamas, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1. Soften the rice wrappers: Fill a large bowl or round cake pan halfway with warm water. (It should be quite warm, but cool enough to stick your fingers in it without getting burned.) Immerse the rice paper wrapper in the water bath until it softens, about 30 seconds. Watch for it to begin curling, then immediately flip it over and continue flipping until it is just softened. Use both hands to pull it up out of the water, being careful so it doesn’t collapse on itself, and spread it immediately on a chopping board or damp towel.
2. Put filling in the center of the wrapper: Fill the center of the softened wrapper first by laying a lettuce or pechay leaf in the center (if the leaves are big, tear them in half. You want 1 1/2 to 2 inches of space on the sides.). Lay down about 2-3 large spoonfuls of assorted vegetables and 2 or 3 herb leaves. Try not to add too much filling – the rolls may tear. Top with slices of mango and chopped spring onion.
3. Roll up the rolls: To roll up your roll, first fold the top and bottom edges of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the edges towards the center and continue rolling the filled wrapper until it’s closed and snug.
Continue this process with each of the wrappers. You may need to change your hot water halfway through. As you finish each roll, place it on a tray lined with a damp towel. Cover the rolls with another damp towel to keep them from drying out.
To serve, slice the rolls in half with a sharp knife and serve with the peanut sauce on the side.