Fresh Spring Rolls are bursting with fresh vegetables and herbs; serve with two different dipping sauces for a flavorful appetizer!
Spring is finally here! Even in Minnesota! Well, it at least made a brief appearance while I was visiting. I was fortunate enough to head home for a few weeks and fill my soul with lots of family time, wine, and all the delicious food I’ve been craving!
I was even more fortunate that my mom and I were able to spend a few full non-weekend days together. Did I say my soul was filled yet? Because it was. So. Much. And you know what helped to fill it? These Fresh Spring Rolls, which were made on one of those fabulous Minnesota spring days, with wine, and my mama!
My mom is always inspiring me in the kitchen. I am so thankful she was able to give me her spring roll tips and tricks; she makes the most amazing dips for them, too. I can’t wait to share them with you!
These Fresh Spring Rolls are so refreshing, surprisingly filling, and so healthy! With all the indulging I was doing while being home, this fulfilling yet healthy dish was much needed. Our spring rolls use a combination of carrots, red pepper, cucumber, lettuce leaves, fresh mint, cilantro, and bean threads (thin rice noodles) all wrapped up together in thin rice paper.
To take that winning combination to the next level, we had two dipping sauces, because what’s better than one dipping sauce? Two dipping sauces! Of course, you wouldn’t need to make both, but I like to be able to switch between opposing yet delicious flavors with each bite.
The first sauce we served with the spring rolls was a peanut and hoisin sauce. Oh how I love a good peanut sauce – basically peanut butter and Asian flavors, how can you go wrong?! This sauce was a blend of peanuts, peanut sauce, and hoisin sauce. So creamy and hearty for the spring rolls to be dipped in, and soooo easy to make!
Our second sauce was a lighter fish sauce, composed of well, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and a favorite – sriracha. It was so light and refreshing – a perfect combination with the spring rolls. Instead of dipping, we tended to spoon this sauce onto the spring roll, letting it drip down into the rest of the roll. So light and so many flavors! I kept going back and forth between the two dipping sauces to see which I liked best.
In the end, I couldn’t choose, but did I really have to?
No, of course not, and you don’t have to either. Sometimes, you just need a vehicle for the sauce/dip/etc., but in this case, everything works so well together, you’d be lost without the other part. Yes, the spring rolls are full of fresh vegetables along with the mint and cilantro, which are perfect together inside the roll of goodness. The fresh herbs take the rolls from “vegetables inside a rice paper wrapper” to “helllloooooo flavor! How do you get so many dimensions?!” Then add in the sauces, and whoa, mind blown.
If you’ve never worked with rice paper wrappers before, they can be a little tricky. We had a couple of breaks before we softened them, or they would stick to themselves as we transferred them to the workspace. My advice: just have patience. Soak the papers one at a time in warm water until soft (a few seconds), and then fill ’em up with all the delicious veggies. Really, in the end, is it going to matter if your roll’s paper had a little tear in the edge? No, it’s not (assuming it’s still roll-able, of course), because the only thing you’re going to care about is how quickly you can shove another roll in your mouth without feeling like you’re hogging the plate. Hog away, my friend, hog away.
Fresh Spring Rolls are totally customizable, too! If you’re in the mood for a little added protein, try some shrimp, or whatever your stomach may desire. I’ve also heard Thai Basil is mmm-mmm good in these, but unfortunately, Minnesota was running a little short on it in April. Let me know if you try a new variation by tagging Fork in the Kitchen on Instagram or Facebook, or by leaving a comment!
Fresh Spring Rolls
- 2 carrots julienned
- 1/2 cucumber julienned
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 10 lettuce leaves chopped or rice paper sized
- 5 tablespoons fresh mint roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup bean threads or vermicelli rice noodles, soaked in water to soften
- 10 rice paper wrappers
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons Thai peanut sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanuts chopped
Sriracha Fish Sauce:
- 4 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
FRESH SPRING ROLLS:
- Place bean threads in warm water, and prepare a separate dish filled with warm water, wide enough to fit rice paper wrappers.
- Dip 1 rice paper wrapper into water dish for approximately 30 seconds, until wrapper is just soft. Lay wrapper flat on a dry surface, such as a cutting board.If using full leaves of lettuce, place lettuce leaf in center of rice paper; if using chopped lettuce, spread evenly in the middle of the rice paper wrapper. Make a small pile of a bean threads and a few slices of the following: carrot, red bell pepper, and cucumber. Sprinkle mint and cilantro across the pile.
- Fold in sides of wrapper with the least amount of space, creating a rectangle with two rounded ends. Next, fold in one of the rounded sides of the rectangle to tightly wrap around the filling; continue rolling until the roll is closed. Place a damp paper towel on top of rolled spring rolls so they don’t dry out before serving.
- Repeat steps 2-6 until all ingredients have been used.Serve spring rolls immediately with both dipping sauces. Recommended drink pairing: traditional mint mojito.
- In a small bowl, combine the peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, and chopped peanuts. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
Sriracha Fish Sauce
- In a separate small bowl, whisk fish sauce, water, lime juice, minced garlic cloves, sugar, Sriracha, and sesame oil to combine. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
Recipe inspired by All Recipes.