Spring rolls are beautiful, aren’t they? No matter what you decide to fill them with, they become these gorgeous stained glass works of edible art.
I’ve only made spring rolls a handful of times but I love them for their crunchy freshness as well as their beauty. One of the greatest things about spring rolls is that their fillings are only limited by your imagination. I keep mine pretty simple with veggies, rice noodles, tofu and/or shrimp, but I’ve seen them filled with just about everything. The key to making them delicious is filling them with what you love.
The last rolls I made were strictly veggies and rice noodles. The prep work is the most strenuous part of making these because they come together very quickly. You want to have everything ready to go before you start rolling, because eating them fresh is key; the wrappers don’t hold up well to long refrigeration. If you’re making these for a party, an hour or so at most in the fridge is the absolute longest I’d recommend. You’re better off having everything prepared and letting your guests have fun making these themselves…it’s a great conversation starter.
Fresh herbs are the another important aspect of spring rolls. This last time around, I only had cilantro on hand so that’s what I used. Mint is another key herb but don’t be afraid to use parsley or basil, too. Again, think fresh and use what you love.
You really can’t go wrong with all these beautiful veggies, right? Right.
This isn’t a recipe, per se, but a guide for how to make these and also delicious dipping sauce to go along with them. The amount you make is entirely up to you; I can tell you that the large serving plate of veggies above, along with some rice noodles for some of the rolls, made about 10 rolls.
vegetable spring rolls with spicy apricot dipping sauce
- Raw veggies of your choice, sliced thin. (I quickly steam and cool veggies such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans and such)
- Fresh herbs of your choice, large stems removed
- Cooked and cooled rice noodles (I boil mine for 4-5 minutes and then run under cold water and drain)
- Spring roll wrappers
- Dipping sauce
Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce
- 3/4 cup apricot preserves
- 1 jalapeno, minced (feel free to use another type of hot pepper; add more or less to your taste)
- 1 inch piece of peeled ginger, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- small pinch of salt
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside until ready to serve.
Here’s how I prepare my spring rolls and I rarely have any problems with them going together well. Fill a bowl with cold water and have a large wood cutting board on hand to roll your spring rolls on. Have all of your veggies cut and nearby, along with your cold rice noodles.
Are you ready to roll?
Take one spring roll wrapper and immerse it entirely in your bowl of cold water, moving it around if necessary to make sure the entire wrapper is wet, and removing it very quickly. Hold above bowl for a few seconds to let excess water drain off and then lay flat on your cutting board.
Working quickly, put your fillings of choice across just the center line of the wrapper. leaving a good inch or so free on each end.
Take one end of the wrapper and, using the wrapper, pull it over the ingredients and slide the ingredients and wrapper towards you so it’s tight, being careful not to pull too tightly and break the wrapper. Fold the empty ends over, like you’re rolling a burrito, and then roll up the entire roll. Place on plate and repeat with the next roll.
Pretty easy, right? Welcome to fresh, crunchy, heavenly veggie nirvana.
I find the spring roll wrappers by the fresh veggie area at my local store, right next to the won ton wrappers and tofu. The rice noodles are typically in the Asian food section – won’t it be nice when all of our food isn’t segregated but you can find any type of noodles in the “Noodle” section? Sorry, I digress. Anyway…use your imagination on the fillings and even the dipping sauce; you’ll be surprised at how easy but delicious these are.
If you’re can’t tell by the photos and are curious to the vegetables I used, here they are:
- Cucumber, peeled and seeded
- Red bell pepper
- Red cabbage
- Romaine lettuce (the inner, super-crunchy leaves)
- Steamed asparagus
These are the veggies I used because these are the veggies I had on hand. Don’t overthink these…just make them with what you have and love. Oh, and they’re pretty good for you too….but you don’t have to tell anybody that.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to play with your food!