One Local Summer Week 4: Vegetable Spring Rolls

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Growing Power Sunflower Sprouts
Mixed Greens
Sugar Snap Peas
Thai Basil
Cilantro
Carrots, julienned
Red Pepper, julienned
Green onion (optional)
Rice paper spring roll wraps (avail. at any Asian market and some grocery stores )

Dipping Sauces (All store bought)

Sweet Thai Chile Sauce (also great when mixed with mayo & sriracha
Thai Peanut Sauce
Hoisin sauce

Most of what I used was from my garden or the Waukesha Farmers’ Market. The sunflower sprouts, which add a nice nutty flavor and crunch (similar to bean sprouts, but way better), are from Milwaukee’s Growing Power (purchased at Outpost Foods). The non-local products were the rice paper, carrots and red peppers. With the exception of the rice paper I could have made this all local but really wanted the additional color and texture that only peppers and carrots could provide. The key to that great spring roll flavor is the Thai Basil which has a more assertive, almost anise flavor. I think they are best with a peanut dipping sauce, but any Asian sauce works well.

All you do is soak the rice paper in water for a couple seconds, pat it with a paper towel to absorb some excess water and lay the ingredients in the middle as if you were making a burrito.  Start to roll the ingredients with the wrapper and fold over the sides to seal the end.  Finish rolling into a cylinder.  Again, its just like making a burrito. This site has a great series of photos showing how to roll them.  The rice paper has a tacky consistency that will seal the wrap on its own. Be sure not to over stuff them as they tear easily.

You can make your own peanut sauce but I find that the kinds you can get at the store are good enough in a pinch.  For these I used Thai Peanut Sauce, Sweet Thai Chilie Sauce, and hoisin sauce.  I think the peanut sauce gives you the most authentic flavor profile but they all work well with the rolls.  You can also add cooked chicken, shrimp or pork to the rolls for a more hearty meal.  Rice noodles are also a great addition too, just cook according to the directions and cool under cold water. 

I am sure as the season goes on I will be thinking of more fillings.  My wife had the great idea of using spring mix, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and sweet basil with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Tomatoes are coming soon so you will probably see that recipe within a month or so.

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