Vietnamese food is so delicious. Not only are their recipes healthy and flavorful, but each dish is accompanied by a separate plate filled with greens, mint, Thai basil and cilantro. We all need more greens in our lives, so we might learn something from this. There is something about the combination of these herbs that sends me to another planet. I decided to take a stab at re-doing the traditional spring rolls served in most restaurants. Sometimes they can be a bit bland with a simple combination of shrimp and iceberg lettuce. Taking matters into my own hands, I kicked them up a notch in flavor, nutrition and removed some common allergens. These rolls are not only very flavorful, but low in fat and calories. Try them at your next social gathering and see what everyone thinks.
- 24 small raw shrimp – peeled, deveined
Add enough water to a pot so when you add shrimp they will be fully immersed. Add in 1 T of rice vinegar and a couple dashes of chili powder. Bring to boil and add shrimp. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until pink. Drain and set aside.
- 2 ounces rice or mung bean vermicelli
Follow direction on package. Drain and set aside. Prep your vegetables before softening the spring roll skins. You can combine all the herbs and greens in one dish. Set dishes so you can access them in this order; shrimp, noodles, mixed herbs and greens, scallions and other items you choose.
- 2 T fresh Thai basil – chopped (substitute regular basil if needed)
- 2 T fresh mint – chopped
- 2 T fresh cilantro – chopped
- A handful of leafy greens – chopped
- 4 scallions – cleaned and sliced long and thin
- Other adds if you want to get really creative; sliced chili peppers, bean sprouts and cucumber
- 8 spring roll skins (you can find in Asian markets and health stores like Whole Foods)
Dampen a clean hand towel and lay on the counter. Fill a large flat skillet or wide pan large enough to accommodate the entire rice wrapper with warm water. Only soften one wrapper at a time. Completely immerse the wrapper until it begins to soften, about 15 seconds. Place softened wrapper flat on the damp towel.
Working quickly, place three of the shrimp in a row at the center of the wrap leaving space on all sides. Layer directly on top of the shrimp the rice noodles, followed by each of your other ingredients. You should have a nice tidy horizontal stack of shrimp, noodles and vegetables ready to wrap. Fold up the bottom half of the wrapper to completely cover the filling horizontally. Fold in the sides of the wrapper so it looks like an envelope. Then finish by holding the sides in place and secure the rest of the roll by rolling it. When you finish and flip the roll, the shrimp should be visible through the top. If not, no worries they will still taste good and you can keep trying until you get it right. You can serve these seam side down immediately or store in a baking pan covered with saran wrap.
Spicy Sunflower Seed Dipping Sauce
Traditionally these rolls are served with a peanut dipping sauce. For those sensitive to peanuts, I created this yummy alternative.
- ½ C Sunflower Seed Butter
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 Clove garlic, minced
- 1 T Sriracha or other hot sauce
- 2 T Non-Dairy Milk (Coconut milk works great)
- 1 T Tamari (Coconut Aminos if you are sensitive to soy)
- ¼ C Hot water
Blend all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Keep adding hot water until you get the consistency you want.