Did I mention I got a new knife for Christmas? Is it possible to be in love with a kitchen tool? I love this knife. It is by far the best knife I have ever held in my hand. It is light and so sharp. So sharp. It scares me a bit it is so sharp. But I now know what it means to have a sharp knife. As my son says, who in no way shape or form is allowed to touch the new knife, “it cuts everything like it is made of butter.” Oh it does.
Apologies. But all I want to do is slice vegetables. So I made these salad rolls. Lots of veg prep. Lots.
Besides the chopping, these salad wraps are pretty easy to put together. And the kids love to help with assembling the rolls.
For a mid-week dinner, if you have the veggies prepped ahead of time, they are actually very quick to make. And they are so versatile, you really don’t need a recipe. This is more of a technique. Fill them with any veg you want. You could fill them with leftovers even. This tofu stir-fry is great inside a rice paper wrap. Just add some lettuce and you’re good to go.
I took a platter of these babies to a New Year’s Eve party and you couldn’t even tell that the kids made some. I swear. (If I’m wrong about this, please let me know, I will send the feedback along to the sous-chefs.)
This is a great way to bring a salad to a party without looking totally lame, or like you are trying to stick to that New Year’s Resolution.
Working with rice paper wrappers takes a little bit of patience, and practice. I used this method from White On Rice Couple’s blog. I’ve found it is the easiest way to wet and get the wrappers pliable enough to work with. My assembly required two 9-inch glass pie plates. One filled with water, the other in front of me for rolling. Simply dip and turn the rice paper wrapper in the water until the entire surface is completely wet. Then lay it in the other pie plate to assemble, fill and roll the wraps. The rice paper will continue to soften as it sits and you add the filling.
Once the wrapper is fully pliable be careful with it, it will tear pretty easily and it will stick to itself – kinda like plastic wrap sticks to itself. So don’t get mad at it and wad it into a ball or something. You won’t be able to straighten it out again.
Hint: for making ahead and toting this to a party – I lined them up on a platter and layered a sheet of plastic wrap between the layers. Plastic wrap will keep the wraps from sticking together.
For the filling – leaf lettuce is nice and soft and makes a good bottom layer. Rice noodles make the rolls filling, but are not necessary. You could go with just lettuce and sliced veg and that would be nice. Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions – which is something like “bring water to a boil, add noodles and remove from the heat.” They don’t take long.
Don’t forget the avocado. It is necessary.
Vegetables should be sliced very thin – cucumbers, radishes, sweet peppers, carrots, etc…
Protein is optional. For a party I usually make some with cooked shrimp and some with just veg for us vegheads. Baked or marinated tofu works well too.
Herbs are essential. Mint, basil, parsley, cilantro. Must be fresh and leafy. Be generous here.
Serve the wraps with a dipping sauce. For party apps, I usually serve with two dipping sauces. Something hot and spicy and something soy based. A bottled sweet chili sauce works great for the former. The recipe below is my recipe for a garlic soy sauce.
Quantities below filled a full package of 8 inch round wraps. But they come in all shapes and sizes so you may need to adjust
- head of leaf lettuce, shredded
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2-3 large, fat carrots, julienne
- 5-6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 package rice noodles
- 25-30 rice paper wrappers
- 1 cup of parsley
- 1 cup of cilantro
- ½ cup basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, thinly sliced
- juice of one line and the zest
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- Prep all vegetables and arrange them on your work surface.
- Using two glass pie plates, fill one with water and place the other, empty, in front of you for rolling the wraps.
- Working one rice paper wrapper at a time, wet the rice paper wrapper by dipping and turning in water then lay flat on the other plate in front of you. Don't worry if the wrapper is not completely soft and pliable at this point. Just get the entire surface wet.
- Starting with lettuce, then rice noodles, layer the vegetables on the top third of the wrap. Roll one turn over then tuck the sides in, continue to roll until wrap is complete.
- Combine all ingredients in a small dish.