A couple of years ago my friend Jeneane invited my daughter and me to a healthy cooking class taught by a local couple.
We enjoyed it so much that we went back for several weeks. I got to add some great recipes to my file, meet others interested in health, and learn some awesome chopping techniques.
This couple obviously practices what they preach because they’re both very fit, but the main thing that impressed me was their sincere desire to improve others’ lives by teaching them how to cook healthier meals for themselves and their families.
For me, one of the highlights of the class was learning how to prepare these beautiful spring rolls with dipping sauce.
Before then, I’d never eaten spring rolls, and I had no idea what rice paper wrappers were. (Also called spring roll skins.)
Needless to say, I learned a lot during our class.
One of the most useful things I learned was how to julienne veggies into perfect slivers.
The secret is to start by cutting the carrot, or cucumber, or zucchini on the diagonal into oblong discs. Then pile the discs on top of each other and chop several disks at a time into long thin strips.
Believe me, when I first tried this technique, I felt like a klutz, but I’ve gotten much better at it with more practice.
|My attempt at julienne-ing|
If you’d rather not hone your chopping and slicing skills, feel free to use a food processor or even buy things pre-sliced.
Either way, I think you’ll discover that preparing spring rolls is surprisingly easy and a lot of fun.
It’s also a great way to get those all-important veggies into your diet.
Dave, an avowed meat-and-potatoes guy, even loves these spring rolls. (Albeit with diced cooked chicken or other meat added.)
P.S. The dipping sauce (recipe following) is what really takes these over the top. However, if you don’t like peanut butter or can’t eat it, you could substitute sunflower seed butter (which tastes amazingly like peanut butter) or almond butter. This one’s my fave.
Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce
1 Large Carrot, cut into long strips
1 Large Seedless Cucumber, cut into long strips
1 or 2 Avocados, sliced
Spinach Leaves, chopped
1/2 Red Cabbage, finely chopped
1 Small Bunch Cilantro leaves, stripped from stems
10 Rice Paper Wrappers (located in Asian section of grocery store) or here
Optional: Chopped cooked Chicken, Beef, Pork, Shrimp, or Tofu and/or sliced mushrooms
1. Moisten rice wrapper with warm water using a brush, or by dipping in a shallow pan. (Or just hold the wrapper under warm running water.)
2. Arrange a portion of the vegetables (and meat, if using) on half of the wrapper to within one-half inch of the edge.
3. Fold the bottom of wrapper over the top of the ingredients and fold in both sides; roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
4. Cut spring rolls in half on the diagonal and garnish with extra cilantro, if desired. Serve with peanut dipping sauce.
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
Combine the following in a small bowl and whisk until blended:
2 1/2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
3 tablespoons Water
1/4 cup Peanut Butter (preferably organic) (or sunflower seed butter or almond butter)
3 teaspoons Spicy Brown Mustard
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar (or other light vinegar)
1 teaspoon Ginger, minced
2 teaspoons Honey
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Chili Flakes (or to taste)