Sometimes you just don’t have the time to dive into a multi-step recipe. Summer days are often quite full of activity. But summer is also the time when beautiful fresh ingredients abound. Spring rolls to the rescue! All you need to do ahead of time is keep a package of thin rice-paper spring roll wrappers on hand. Follow the directions on the package, adding whatever fresh herbs and veggies are in season to make a beautiful but easy meal. It can be fun to lay out the different ingredient choices and have each person make their own. After ingredients are prepped, it only takes a minute or two for assembly.
Delicious ingredient options:
-Any fresh herbs on hand: I love thai basil, regular basil, cilantro, mint, scallions, and parsley.
-Edible flower petals: It never hurts to add extra color inside and out!
-Thinly sliced veggies: really this can be any veggie you like eating raw. Be conservative in your amounts – it is easy to be tempted to over-stuff your rolls.
-Protein and fat: A great way to use leftovers! Sliced avocados, already cooked fish, pulled or ground meat, tofu (see below), toasted sesame seeds, strips of omelet, or bits or sausage or bacon turn your spring rolls into a satisfying and complete meal.
-Pickles: I prefer the garlicy gingery spark of kimchi in my spring rolls, but really any freshly fermented veggie will do.
-Leftovers: Do you have small amounts of cooked veggies, meat, or beans left over from a previous meal? Include them in your ingredient offerings.
-Sauce: Dipping sauce is what really makes spring rolls so yummy. The simplest option is a mixture of whatever of the following items you like and have on hand: soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, hot sauce, miso, olive oil and/or sesame oil. Be sure to include at least one salty ingredient, something sour, and an oil. I like to mix in a generous dollop of peanut butter for a wonderful peanut dipping sauce.
Thinking ahead? Marinate some tofu. This is great to do in the morning before going to work. Drain tofu and put into a container with soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, and sesame oil and shake gently. Smear with a thin layer of miso paste and leave to marinate during the day. You can also give the same treatment to shredded carrots or sliced cucumbers for some yummy quick pickles.