A friend of mine has an Asian-inspired closed-door restaurant here in Punta. When I went there for the first time, I saw “spring rolls” on the menu and I ordered it, thinking I’d get the Chinese fried version. Instead, he brought pockets of raw vegetables. I tried them, skeptically, but I loved it! Very fresh and light!
To end our Summer Tertulias, I decided to make that recipe. It isn’t hard, but it takes a while to roll everything. It’s totally worth it, though, and they last a few days in the fridge – a healthy snack option. They are very versatile: you can fill them however you want. I made the vegan version, but you can add boiled shrimp, for example.
The rice paper used for these spring rolls can be found in health/Asian stores. Here in Uruguay, I found them on the gluten-free section of the supermarket (the celiac population here is surprisingly big: we had a gluten-free section before it was cool 😀 ).
The quantities listed here are simply a suggestion – adjust however you like!
1 packet of rice paper wraps
1 cucumber, julienned – I still haven’t mastered the cut, though…
1 carrot, julienned
1/3 green bell pepper, julienned
1/3 red bell pepper, julienned
1/3 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 packet of bean sprouts – alfalfa sprouts work nicely too, but I didn’t find them in the market! 😀
4 Tbsp soy sauce – traditionally, fish sauce is used, but then the recipe is no longer vegan. I tested both and they are equally good.
1 Tbsp sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of water
Start by prepping all the vegetables.
Then, set up your workstation: the veggies, the sprouts, the mint, the rice paper, a deep plate with water (to soften the rice paper), a clean dish towel, and a plate to place the finished rolls.
Place one wrap on the plate with water and let it sit for a minute. It will be quite soft! Carefully, remove the wrap from the plate and place it over your towel, trying to keep it from curling. The first few times it may be a little troublesome, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Place the filling on the center of the wrap, being careful not to overfill. Fold the bottom part of the wrap over the filling, fold both sides into the center, making an envelope, and fold the top part over, closing the roll. Repeat until you run out of wraps or filling! 😀
Mix the sauce ingredients and serve!
A very important part of moving is the massive clean-up – use everything you can, throw away useless stuff, so there are less boxes to carry! When it was time to clean up the fridge, I found half a can of tahini in there – certainly, a hummus leftover. I also had some frozen cooked chickpeas (we tend to avoid the cans, as they are pricey here!). The obvious thing would be to make hummus again, but I also had plenty of carrots in the fridge, so I was reminded of a gorgeous-looking recipe I had seen on smittenkitchen.
This was easily one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten! It’s also a complete meal in itself (who says that vegan food won’t keep you full?). I made the recipe below for lunch – we both ate until we were couldn’t possibly eat another bite, and there were leftovers!
I could talk for hours about how the tahini sauce goes perfectly with the carrots, how the warm and spicy chickpeas give this salad a comfort food status, etc… but I’ll stop.
To be amazed, you’ll need:
For the chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained – I used 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika – not in the original recipe, but I love paprika 🙂
½ tsp salt
For the salad itself:
450 g (1 pound) grated carrots
¼ cup chopped parsley – aka “a lot”
¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped – I don’t really like pistachios, so I didn’t use them.
For the dressing, the real hero of this story:
1 garlic clove, chopped – I used more. I always use more!
¼ cup lemon juice
3 (generous) Tbsp tahini – mix it well before measuring.
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Start by coating the chickpeas with a mixture of the olive oil and seasonings, making sure they are well coated. Place them on a large baking sheet (but don’t pile them!), and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. During the bake time, shake the baking sheet every now and then, so that the chickpeas bake evenly.
With a whisk, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the carrot and the parsley and set it aside.
When it’s time to serve, add the pistachios (if you’re using them) and the chickpeas. Dig in and wonder why you haven’t made this recipe sooner! 😀