Spring rolls are a wonderful way to change up how you eat vegetables. They are fresh little packages filled with crisp vegetables and bright herbs. These are paired with a rich peanut sauce that is surprisingly sweet, spicy, and tangy.
I've chosen to leave a protein out of these spring rolls, it just makes assembly easier and I think it keeps the flavors simple so that the vegetables and herbs can shine. But once you get a feel for the flavors you like in your spring rolls feel free to experiment with any protein of your choice!
You can always change up what you fill your spring rolls with, this is a great dish for you to scan your fridge and use up left over bits of produce. Adding in fruit like apple or mango adds a bit of sweetness, or some mushrooms could add an umami punch. Don't be afraid to experiment!
I used to find rice noodles dreadfully sticky to work with. When they are ready, rinse them well under cold water and then my trick of adding in chili oil will keep them easier to work with. If you don't like a little spicy flavor you can substitute with sesame oil.
Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce:
Whisk all of the ingredients for the sweet and spicy peanut sauce sauce together, if the sauce is too thick add more water until it reaches your desired consistency. Set the sauce aside.
Prepare all of the filling ingredients for the spring rolls so that when you are ready to assemble it will go together easily. Thinly slice the red cabbage, bell peppers, red onion, and green onions. Use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons from the carrots. Tear the mint and cilantro leaves from their stems. Prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions; drain them and toss them in a bowl with the chili oil, sweet chili sauce, and soy sauce. This will keep them from sticking too much to each other and add a little flavor to them.
Fill a shallow dish or plate with water. Lightly wet a cutting board or your work surface, this will help to keep the wrapper from sticking too much while you are working. Take a spring roll wrapper and dip it into the water briefly so that all of it is moistened. It will still be a bit stiff at this point but it will continue to soften as you fill it. Don't leave it in the water too long or it will be difficult to work with. Place the wrapper on your work surface, add a small amount of the noodles, top with a little of each vegetable, and then sprinkle the herbs on. Take the left and right sides of the wrapper and fold them over the center, press down a little at the top and bottom so that it sticks, this will help to hold things a little in place. Take the top and fold it over the filling as well. Squeeze the filling a little to tighten everything up and gently roll it over the bottom part of the wrapper until it is all rolled up and sealed. This may feel clumsy at first but you will get the hang of it.
Place the completed spring rolls on a plate with a damp paper towel, this will keep them from sticking or drying out while you finish the rest. If you need to you can layer them with another damp paper towel.
Serve alongside the peanut dipping sauce and enjoy!
If you have leftovers layer them in a container with a damp paper towel and try to keep them from touching, this will keep them from sticking and falling apart, store in the fridge.
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