Hooray for spring! It finally hit us over here in Denmark and I am loving the warmer weather and sunshine. To celebrate the arrival of this very welcome season, I thought I would make, well, spring rolls! This also marks the re-entry of some raw foods into my own diet, and I encourage you to do the same. Our bodies can now handle a little more uncooked food, so I’ve made this recipe with a raw and semi-cooked combination of vegetables that will leave you feeling fresh and sexy! Wahoo!
I am sure you’ve seen spring rolls or salad rolls before if you’ve ever eaten at Asian-style restaurants, but mine are sexier – you’ll see why later. And although you may think these are something only an accomplished chef can pull off, how about impressing yourself and giving it a try? They are in fact quite a snap once you get the hang of using the rice paper wraps, which are available at Asian grocers or gourmet grocery stores. Make sure to check the ingredient list, as they should not contain anything besides rice, water, salt, and tapioca. Deal? Great.
I like making these rolls a lot because they are a great way to use up whatever vegetables I have hanging around in the fridge – even leftover salad!
And why are they so sexy? Well, I replaced the calorie-devoid noodles that often occupy the majority of the spring roll real estate, because a crispy, ginger-kissed carrot-sweet potato salad actually boasts flavour and nutrition! Snap.
And the dip recipe I created to replace the schlocky peanut sauce that often accompanies rolls such as these. Yes, peanut sauce is delicious, but peanuts are not a healthy food because of their high mold contamination (you can read more about that here). Try making peanut sauce with almond butter instead. Your body will thank you for the extra calcium, protein to maintain health hair, skin and nails, magnesium to build and strengthen bones, and vitamin E to protect your delicate skin form ultraviolet light. Thanks, almonds. You’re sexy.
You can even make your very own almond butter if you don’t have any on hand. Check out my super easy instructions here. Good for you!
And don’t forget the herbs – they add tons of sexy points because they’re loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals! Oh yeah, and they taste amazing.
Sexy Spring Rolls
Filling ideas (all sliced into appropriate sizes):
Sexy sautéed ginger carrots and sweet potato (recipe follows)
sweet bell pepper
basil / Thai basil
1. Find a shallow dish a little larger than your rice paper wraps and fill it with room temperature water.
2. Place one wrap in the water until it becomes soft and pliable (about a minute).
3. Transfer the wrap to a clean working surface and place your favorite ingredients in the center, plus a generous drizzle of sauce (avoid the temptation to overload).
4. Fold the top half of the wrap over the fillings. Then fold in both sides. Lastly, fold the bottom up to seal. If a breakage happens or it seems like the whole things is going to fall apart (don’t worry, it does sometimes) you can simply wrap up the whole spring roll in another sheet of soaked rice paper. Just put the completed roll in the middle of a second wrap and repeat the previous instructions. This creates a much sturdier roll too.
Sexy sautéed ginger carrots and sweet potato
2 medium carrots
1 small sweet potato
¼ cup sesame seeds
splash of cooking oil (avocado is best for high heat)
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp agave nectar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1. Begin by toasting the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop and are lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Julienne the carrots and sweet potato (cut them into matchstick-size pieces).
3. Put the oil, minced ginger and agave nectar in the skillet and cook just slightly. Add vegetables and stir-fry for about 4-5 minutes. You don’t want to cook the vegetables exactly, just take the raw edge off.
4. Remove from heat and toss with the sesame seeds and lemon juice.
This little dish is totally boss on its own, but super sexy in spring rolls!
Once the weather warms up to summer temperatures, you can also skip the cooking step altogether leaving the vegetables completely raw – just mix all of the ingredients together and marinate for at least one hour to allow the flavours to meld.
Almond butter dipping sauce
1/3 cup organic almond butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. tamari (or high-quality soya sauce)
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 Tbsp. water
juice of 1 lime (approx. 3 Tbsp.)
pinch of crushed chilies
1. Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl until smooth. Add more water to thin. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Now you’re done. Go stuff your face.