Food & Drink

Spring rolls: Rolling through spring and into summer

You can include any of your favorite raw vegetables in these spring rolls.
You can include any of your favorite raw vegetables in these spring rolls. Emma Christensen

I confess that I’m a reluctant salad eater. I blame a childhood of side salads topped with gloppy ranch dressing and cherry tomatoes as hard as rubber balls.

But wrap that salad up and call it a spring roll, add a rainbow of crunchy fresh vegetables and give it a spicy sauce instead of sad dressing? Oh, I’m all over that. And I think any reluctant salad eaters at your table will be, too.

These spring rolls make a fresh and satisfying lunch, especially with some creamy avocado rolled up with the vegetables and a spicy Sriracha-mayo sauce on the side for dipping. I also punch up the flavor of the vegetables themselves with a bit of rice vinegar dressing sprinkled over the top just before rolling everything up.

You can prep all the vegetables (except the avocado) several days in advance and keep them refrigerated to make daily lunch prep extra quick. The prepared spring rolls can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for a few hours before eating. The plastic wrap keeps them from sticking to each other or becoming overly soggy.

Emma Christensen is a writer for TheKitchn.com.

Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls

1 medium red bell pepper

1 medium yellow bell pepper

1 large carrot

1 wedge purple cabbage (about 1/4 small head)

1 medium avocado

1 cup microgreens, sprouts or arugula

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise or vegetarian dressing, such as Vegannaise

1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha or other Asian-style hot sauce

10 large rice paper wrappers

Trim the bumpy tops and bottoms from the bell peppers, remove the seeds from the inside and slice the peppers lengthwise as thin as possible. Peel the carrot, then cut it into very thin matchsticks (or shred on a box grater). Slice the wedge of purple cabbage into thin shredded pieces. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and then slice it (still in the peel) into very thin slices and remove the peel.

Whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil in a small ramekin. In another dish, whisk together the mayonnaise with a little sriracha; taste and add more hot sauce if needed.

Assemble the spring rolls: Fill a pie pan or other shallow dish with very warm water. Submerge one of the spring roll wrappers in the warm water until softened but still slightly stiff, 15 to 25 seconds. (If you wait until it is entirely softened, it’s more likely to tear when you assemble the rolls.)

Lay the softened wrapper on a work surface. Quickly lay a few pieces of red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, carrot and cabbage in the lower-middle of the wrapper. Lay a few pieces of avocado beneath the vegetables and lay a small pile of microgreens on top. Sprinkle a spoonful of the rice vinegar dressing over the vegetables.

Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll it up, starting at the bottom. Repeat with filling and rolling the remaining spring rolls.

Serve right away with the sriracha-mayonnaise dipping sauce. Or wrap the spring rolls individually in plastic wrap and eat within a few hours; the plastic wrap helps keep them from becoming soggy or sticking to each other.

Yield: About 10 rolls, or about 5 servings.

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