Monday, August 5, 2013

Spring Rolls

Chocolate chip cookies or spring rolls?  Cookies or spring rolls? 

Big decisions going on over here! 

I am sure you are thinking those two options really aren't even from the same planet.  And they aren't.  I've been dropping hints recently that I would be posting the ever so popular New York Times chocolate chip cookie soon.  I really anticipated "soon" would have been here by now. 

But I just couldn't get behind something decadent and sweet this week.  Words I never thought I would write. Things have been a little Twilight zone lately--but in a good way!  

The past week was busy...I officially started in my new job with 4 days of travel, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, getting to know a new client and sending off a co-worker and mentor into a well deserved retirement.  All this activity translated into 5 solid days of eating every single meal out.  I haven't stepped on the scale yet, but it can't be good. Very doubtful I made it through the week unscathed. 

Given the many over indulgences of the past week, I had to choose the spring rolls.  No, I didn't make them this weekend, but just the thought of them is making me feel lighter already. 

I've made these spring rolls several times over the past few months.  My best friend turned me on to the recipe and it's now one of my go to light meals.  Spring rolls are almost like a salad wrapped up in a nice little bundle.  They are...

Easy to make
(once you get the rolling part down...don't worry if you tear the wrapper, it's forgiving)
Low calorie

Yep, food can be both delicious and healthy!  Who knew? 

It took a little coaxing, but I even got Hubby on board with this pure veggie delight!

A few notes...I have tried a couple of variations of this recipe by adding in additional elements like red pepper and mango.  The red pepper is okay, but doesn't really add anything special to the rolls.  But.  The addition of mango is AWESOME.  It brings in a juicy sweetness that pairs perfectly with the creamy avocado, fresh herbs, crunchy cucumber and carrot and the soy dipping sauce.  So tasty.  My photos are without mango as I didn't have any on hand this time.  But DO give mangoes a shot if you decide to make these spring rolls!  You could easily substitute peach or nectarine (white or yellow) if you can't find mango.   

I also made some adjustments to the dipping sauce adding extra soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.  Feel free to add or subtract according to your own tastes. 

The original recipe calls for using 2 pieces of rice paper for each roll, however I find it's unnecessary.  The reason they suggest two, is to prevent the roll from breaking during the construction process.  To me, it's a waste of a few extra calories especially when the rice paper itself isn't the star of the flavor show.  With a little practice, using one paper does the job just fine.  Rice paper can be found at your local Asian food market or most large grocery stores. 

This tasty, fresh, light, healthy spring roll is calling your name! 


Spring Rolls
adapted from Williams Sonoma

Makes 10 rolls

Dipping Sauce:
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

10 rice paper rounds (6 or 8 inches) - Or 20 rice papers if using two per roll
10 green lettuce leaves, such as bibb, butter, red leaf or green leaf lettuce
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
Fresh basil leaves (10-20 leaves)
Fresh mint leaves (10-20 leaves)
2 carrots cut into thin matchsticks (or coarsely grated)
1/2 - 3/4 English cucumber, seeds removed, cut into thin strips (about 4 inches long)
1 large mango cut into 1/2 inch strips (about 4 inches long) (optional)
2-3 green onions thinly sliced

To assemble rolls be sure all your ingredients are cleaned, cut and prepped before starting.  Fill a pie plate with warm water.  Place a clean kitchen towel next to the plate.  Dip 1 sheet of rice paper in the water for a couple of seconds, until the entire surface is just softened.  Place the softened paper on the towel.  (If using 2 rice papers per roll, use a second towel to pat the surface of the first round dry and then dip a second paper in the water and place on top of the first). 

Place one leaf of lettuce about 1/3 of the way up the bottom of the rice paper (closest to you).  Lay 1-2 leaves of both basil and mint across the lettuce.  Arrange carrots, cucumber, avocado and mango in rows on top of the herbs, keeping all the filling within the parameters of the lettuce leaf.  Sprinkle with green onions.

Lift the bottom of the rice paper up and over to just cover the filling gently and tightly tuck it under the filling.  Fold the sides of the rice paper towards the center creating a mini burrito.  Continue to roll tightly until a cylinder is formed.  Place the roll seam side down on a plate or cutting board.  Serve whole, or slice in half and serve with dipping sauce.

Note: If not serving immediately place a barely damp paper towel over the rolls until ready serve, up to 2 hours.


  1. In addition to all the awesome thing about these spring rolls that you laid out, I'd add that they're beautiful! So colorful and your pictures really do them justice! Also, is it horrible that when we get home from traveling, I'm itching to get in the kitchen and bake immediately but have very little desire for a home-cooked meal? I'd gladly keep eating take-out for a week. Eeek :)

  2. LOVE spring rolls!!! LOVE! And I need them right now right ow right now! Why are you doing this to meeee? lol. I actually have some rice paper wrappers in my cupboard that have been there way too long since I made the last batch. I will be making this recipe next! YUM!

  3. This would be perfect for my next girls weekend---we all love Spring Rolls. The addition of Mango sound perfect. I like any thing with mango in it! Thanks for a great recipe--and beautiful photos.