Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Crispy, crunchy, tangy spring rolls filled with fresh vegetables and herbs—to be honest, I thought they’d be hard to make.  In fact, I printed out a recipe I could adapt but put it in the back of my mind. 

Then, just by chance, I spotted the wrappers in my local bulk grocery store.  Clearly, forces in the universe wanted me to make spring rolls.  And truthfully? They turned out to be easy, from making the filling to wrapping and rolling, once I got the hang of it. 

This recipe can be flexible to meet the contents of the refrigerator or the scope of your imagination.  You could leave out the protein and use more vegetables; you could add enoki mushrooms, chopped celery, grated zucchini, or thinly sliced peppers; you could place a couple of shrimp on top of the filling rather than chopping the shrimp into the mixture; and you could use another dipping sauce such as a hoisin sauce.  The only important thing is that everything in the filling should be fresh.

As I said, the wrapping and rolling is easy.  I’ve included a set of photographs below to show you the steps (Please accept my apologies for the “yellow” quality of the photos; the September light coming into my kitchen is not as bright as that of the summer.)  You can also go YouTube and search under “making spring rolls.”

Printer-friendly recipe (without photos)

Makes 10-12 spring rolls

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 12 oz. cooked protein (about 2 cups of crabmeat, shrimp, chicken, pork, egg, and/or tofu), either shredded or in bite-sized pieces (Avoid crab-flavoured fish sticks as they usually include wheat.)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup daikon or radishes, shredded
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of ½-1 lime
  • 1-2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp. sugar or artificial sugar (optional; to taste)

For the wrapping:

  • 10-12 small pieces of lettuce
  • 10-12 rice paper wrappers (8″-9″)
  • Cooking spray

 For the peanut sauce (about 1 cup):

  • ¼ cup wheat-free soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup artificial sugar
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • Chili sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together protein, vegetables, and herbs.
  2. Add lime juice and fish sauce, starting with the smaller amounts.  If you want it spicier, add more.
  3. Add sugar, if desired, to taste.
  4. Prepare rolls, using 1 lettuce leaf and ¼ cup of filling per roll.  (See the Steps below.)
  5. The wrappers are very sticky so, when each roll is done, spray it lightly with cooking spray.  This will stop the rolls from sticking to each other and/or the plate. 
  6. If you’re not using the rolls right away, cover with a damp cloth.
  7. Make the peanut sauce by mixing together all ingredients.  (The peanut butter will not mix in completely but break up into small bits.)

Step 1:  Fill a large bowl with hot water.  Dip in a spring roll wrapper for about 30 seconds. (Wrapper will continue to soften after you take it out of the water.)  Lay wrapper flat on a cloth with smooth side down.

Step 2: Place lettuce leaf on bottom half of wrapper, lying horizontal to you.

Step 3: Take ¼ cup of meat/vegetable filling and put it on top of the lettuce.

 

Step 4: Pat mixture into a log shape that is horizontal to you.

Step 5: Bring lower edge of wrapper up and as far over the filling as possible.

Step 6: Fold each side of wrapper in toward the filling so that folds are vertical to you.

Step 7: Lift up bottom and roll upwards once over, keeping the filling within that one turn.

Step 8: Continue rolling until you create a tight cylinder and press lightly to seal the roll’s edges.

For Weight Watchers: The only points in this recipe come from the protein, the wrappers, and the peanut sauce: 

  • Protein: You will have to calculate your protein points based on what protein you use and how much is in each roll.
  • Rice Paper Wrappers: 3 wrappers are 1 point on the Points plan and 2 points on the PointsPlus plan. 
  • Peanut Sauce: ¼ cup is 2 points on the Points plan and 3 points on the PointsPlus plan.  

(Spring roll recipe is adapted from “Salad Rolls with Crab” by Laura Russell in her blog, Notes from a Gluten-Free Kitchen.  Peanut sauce recipe is adapted from “Chicken Pad Thai” in Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski.))

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4 thoughts on “Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

  1. I’ve made them stuffed with fruit and greens too, and they are a very nice breakfast or lunch. you can still use a peanut saue (sans soy/fish sauce, perhaps) or add nuts or seeds for protein. They pack up pretty well for portable food.

    If you can get your hands on some Vietnamese basil, try adding it. I once threw a spring roll party in high school and my mother had to go buy basil plants from the farm supply store since the grocery store didn’t have enough fresh basil for 20 people!

  2. What great ideas! I love the concept of a spring roll party! And fruit never occurred to me, but why not? After all, you can have both savoury and sweet crepes. When you say, portable, how would you do this? I had a spring roll leftover from a lunch, and my husband had it several hours later. He said the wrapper had gotten really tough. Any suggestions on how to carry a roll around and still keep it moist?

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