Rainbow Spring Rolls
These might top the list of things that I’ve made that not only are healthy but just look healthy. As a general rule, anything that is this colorful (naturally) is probably very good for you. You could eat as many of these as you want and feel pretty good about it.
My problem with these rolls is while they look amazing and are super-crunchy, they actually are a bit on the bland side for me. I solved that problem by mixing up a quick spicy peanut sauce that kicks them up a notch.
These are totally fun and once you get the hang of rolling them you can bust out enough for a meal in no time.
Rainbow Spring Rolls
Yield: 10-12 rolls
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
2 carrots, grated
1 avocado, sliced thin
1/2 small purple cabbage, sliced thin
Rice paper wrappers
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1) For peanut sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until mixture thickens and is a single consistency. If the sauce is very thick, add more water. If it's too thin, let it cook down a bit more.
2) Wash all the veggies and slice then very thin. For the carrots, use a grater to shred them or just buy shredded carrots. For the cabbage, buy a small one and cut it into quarters, then cut out the center stem and slice it into thin strips.
3) To make a roll, get a plate of warm water ready and add a single wrapper to the plate. Let it sit for 5-10 seconds and flip it. Once it has loosened, but isn't completely soggy, move it to a clean surface.
4) Add veggies in any order you like to one half of the wrapper. Leave about an inch around the edges to make rolling easier.
5) Tuck the sides of the wrapper over and start rolling it away from you. As you roll, keep tension on the wrapper so the roll stays nice and tight. Once your roll is done, slice it in half and put it on a plate. If you mess one up, don't worry about it. Just start over.
Serve the rolls with the spicy peanut sauce which is good warm or at room temperature.
There is a common issue when making rainbow colored dishes: BLUE. There is just nothing blue in the natural world that you can eat. You might think blueberries are blue, but in reality they are more of a purple and also they don’t go great in spring rolls. So I kind of just skipped the BLUE in ROY G. BIV and I think that’s okay.
I hit all the other colors though with this line-up of veggies.
Of course, since we are going to be wrapping these in rolls, it’s important to take your time with the veggie prep. Slice the peppers as thin as you can and grate the carrots so they are an even consistency. You can also buy shredded carrots and cabbage in a pinch.
Treat the avocado the same as the peppers: thin slices.
I would say it took me 10 minutes just to get the veggies sliced correctly.
Making Spring Rolls
If you are new to making spring rolls, here’s some advice from someone who actually really sucks at making them:
1) Don’t get rushed. The rice paper wrappers are a bit on the fragile side and they can sense your rushing and will rip on you at the worst time.
2) Have extras. You’ll get better at rolling after you do a few, but I still probably mess up one for every 3-4 I do correctly. Having extra wrappers on hand is good insurance. This is normally fine because they usually come in packs of 50 I think.
To actually make a roll, get a plate of water ready and set the wrapper in the water for a few seconds per side. It will start to loosen up.
After about 10 seconds, the wrapper will be loose, but not soggy and you can transfer it to a clean surface. I had some really crappy wrappers this time so they were broken and had cracks and stuff. This made it harder to roll, but hopefully you won’t have this issue.
Once your wrapper is soft and on a clean surface, just pile on your veggies! You can add them in any order. Just be sure to leave some room around the edges for rolling and only add the veggies to one half of the wrapper.
Then fold the ends over the veggies and roll it into a tight cylinder. Try to keep some light tension on the roll as you work so it stays nice and tight. This is easier said than done, but you’ll get the hang of it.
These weren’t the best rolls i’ve ever made from a technical standpoint, but they were super colorful!
As I mentioned, while these rolls were really pretty, they were a bit lacking in the flavor department. I figured a quick peanut sauce would solve the issue.
Mince your garlic really fine and add all the ingredients to a small pot over medium heat. It should come together quickly and thicken nicely. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water to thin it out. You should only need to heat it for a few minutes.
This sauce is actually much spicier than it looks. It brings some heat. If you want tone it down a bit, reduce or eliminate the red pepper flakes in the recipe.
Pile these rolls up and serve them with a bowl of the sauce.
Betsy and I actually made a meal out of these and I thought they were plenty filling.
Even though I don’t actually have kids, I imagine that kids would love these. They are colorful and on the tiny side.
Do you think your kids would eat these since they are so colorful and fun?