Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

One of the hardest parts about my week is making sure I have something healthy to eat for lunch. I like to spend my Sunday prepping foods that I can eat all week long. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I tend to gravitate towards vegetarian recipes and meal ideas because they keep a little longer and are lighter on my stomach for after work, when I’m ready to start running or my yoga practice. This weekend was packed with a 10K, concert, and a Super Bowl party so I was short on time. My lunch menu for this week is another spring roll variation, but with a little more of a kick. The recipe below was adapted from and inspired by Basil.
Spring Rolls
  • 8 oz. vermicelli (rice) noodles, prepared*
  • 10 Spring Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Small Head of Red or Green Leaf Lettuce, torn
  • 2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
  • Matchstick Carrots
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Mint, chopped
  • Basil, chopped
  • Napa Cabbage, shredded
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)

* To prepare vermicelli noodles, fill a large bowl with hot water. Place the noodles in the bowl and soak for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and toss with rice wine vinegar.

To assemble the spring rolls:
  • Soak a rice paper wrapper in warm water until pliable – about 30 seconds. Remove from water and place on a flat surface, like a cutting board or a large plate.
  • Place the lettuce on the bottom and top with about 1-2 tablespoons of the spicy peanut sauce.
  • Add some noodles, carrots, a sprinkle of the herbs and the cabbage and wrap up the spring roll.
  • Cut in half on the diagonal and serve when ready.

Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons  Spring Water 
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce (try to find a nice organic one flavored with miso, or make your own!)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Brown Rice Syrup (you could substitute sugar or barley malt

In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the onions until caramelized. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Cook for about 5-6 minutes. The sauce will be thick and somewhat chunky from the onions. Use an immersion blender and puree the cooked sauce. Alternately, you could puree in a blender or food processor, or leave the texture a little more chunky. Pureeing will also emulsify the concoction, and will prevent some separation with the toasted sesame oil.

The original recipe had a few different ingredient suggestions, such as using vegetable oil, ketchup, and sugar in the peanut sauce. I used sesame oil, tomato paste, and rice syrup in place of those ingredients to keep it a little more macrobiotic-friendly. The original recipe called for four tablespoons of red pepper.  I like spicy foods, but felt it was just a little too much for the amount of sauce the recipe produces. As for the hoisin sauce, I bought Premier Japan Organic Hoisin. I prefer to make my own, but it was a crazy busy weekend so I had to make do with a prepared version. I like this one because it has fewer preservatives than many of the alternatives and uses miso and tamari as part of the mixture.

Enjoy!

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