This is a recipe for some simple and delicious spring rolls!
Springs rolls are a great way to get your veggies in, and are so refreshing to eat! There is a bit of prep required, but it mainly involves making a sauce, slicing your vegetables, and deciding what kind of protein you want in there.
This is a great recipe to use up what’s in the fridge, so if you have a carrot to use up, julienne that carrot and add some colour in there! Peppers are nice as well, even mushrooms. There are limitless options for these spring rolls, so use this recipe as a guide and play with it on a weekly basis! Or, if you’re like me, a couple times a week!
When I first made up the fried tofu for this, my father had come over for a quick visit. He walked into the kitchen and exclaimed “French Fries?!” and dove in. He was surprised, but pleasantly so! Whenever my dad is intrigued by my cooking, I know I’m on the right track to something. I know he would have eaten several of these spring rolls, which says a lot!
When you fry the tofu, it gets this lovely crunchy texture, but it takes a bit of time in the oil, and they need to be coated in something usually, hence the cornstarch (which you can replace with any other starch, or even a flour). They need to be golden before they’re ready, and by that point they really do look like french fries!
Rice paper can be a bit tricky to deal with, though it’s really very simple. You can find it in random places throughout the grocery store, such as the “ethnic food” aisle, or near the seafood. It’s a great pantry item to keep on hand, as it lasts a long time when stored in a sealed container or bag. It’s also a great way to control the amount of carbs you’re taking in, and they’re low calorie compared to other forms of wraps (like those tortilla wraps that are upwards of 120 calories each, for a SMALL!!!)
The trick to keeping rice paper from sticking to itself is in the lettuce leaves. You can certainly put lettuce inside the rolls, but in this recipe they’re used to cradle each roll once prepped. They are washed and left a bit damp, and are a nice way to serve these on a platter as well.
This recipe is a vegan one, but can easily be made to include chicken, pork, egg, fish-anything you want, really! I’ve also made these with roasted crunchy edamame and chickpeas, and the crunch was VERY nice to add in!
I tend to eyeball a lot of these ingredients, and you can too! Don’t feel obligated to follow the amounts strictly in the recipe: If something looks too dry or not quite enough, use your judgement and adjust according to your preferences and tastes.
Easy Spring Rolls
A refreshing way to eat your veggies and to use up any produce that needs to be eaten!
- One block of extra-firm Tofu, drained
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 TBS Olive Oil
- 1 TBS Avocado or other neutral Oil
- 1 TBS Sesame Oil
- 1 small head of Red Cabbage
- 1 Cucumber
- 3 Green Onions
- 8 lettuce leaves (give or take, depending on size)
- Rice Paper (8-12 sheets)
- 1/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (or other nut butter of preference)
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (low sodium), divided
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder, or 2 fresh cloves minced
- 1″ Ginger, grated, or 1 tsp Ginger
- 1-3 TBS Warm water
- Slice the tofu into batonettes, sticks equalling about 1/2cm by 2″ long (just work with the size of the block to make it easier for you). Meanwhile, heat oils in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Place tofu sticks into bowl and dust with cornstarch and salt. Toss to evenly coat the tofu.
- Once the pan is hot, add Tofu to the oil and spread out evenly. Allow tofu to pan-fry until golden, about ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables: Julienne the cabbage and cucumber (“Julienne”: slice into the thinnest possible sticks you can get!). Chop the green thinly as well, and arrange your ingredients on one plate to make for easier assembly.
- Make the sauce: Simply mix the Peanut butter, 2 TBS Soy sauce, Garlic and Ginger together in a bowl with a whisk. Taste to see if it’s too salty or could use more soy sauce. If it’s too thick to stir, add some warm water a one Tablespoon at a time until it moves freely but isn’t too runny either.
- Check the tofu and if it’s golden by now, drain on a paper-towel-lined-plate and let cool.
- Using a shallow bowl or the same pan you cooked in, add some water that’s at least room temperature or warm. Get ready to assemble: Have rice paper by the warm bowl of water, followed by a wet cutting board to put the rice paper on afterward. Follow with the bowl of sauce and a spoon to spread it with, your vegetables, the drained tofu, and an oiled container with wet lettuce leaves inside to hold and separate the rolls as you make them.
- Begin by submerging one piece of rice paper into the warm water completely and flat. Let sit for about 10 seconds or so, until softened. Carefully lift out of the water, allow some of the water to drain before placing flat on the cutting board.
- Spread on a bit of sauce (start with about 2 tsp worth or so), then top with your vegetables, and then the tofu sticks. Arrange everything in the middle of the rice paper about 5″ long and 1-2″ wide.
- Fold the bottom portion of the rice paper up and over the ingredients, slightly tucking the top piece of paper around the ingredients to gather them together into a better cylindrical shape. Continue rolling the entire “log” away from you once, then take the side pieces and fold them over and towards one another on top of the roll. Finish rolling to seal the sides in, then place on a lettuce leaf inside your container. Rub with a bit of oil to help keep moist.
- Repeat until you’ve run out of ingredients! I often end up making about a dozen rolls, usually testing the first one or two out to make sure I have my proportions right. Store in an airtight container, separated by the lettuce leaves to keep them from sticking together. Consume within two days, which will be easy, because they’re so tasty!
Let me know what you think of these! They will last in the fridge for a couple of days, but are best eaten immediately to keep the crunchiness of the tofu. These are great for parties, but also for using up garden produce and getting your intake of vegetables in a nice, convenient package! Store in an airtight container, sprayed with some oil or cradled in damp lettuce leaves until ready to eat, or just pick and eat them out of the fridge as you please!