It’s been hot hot hot in the NYC area this week, and predictably my palate has been leaning toward simple, cooling and raw foods. Enter the spring roll! These little roll-ups are as fun to make as they are to eat, and they’ve super versatile, too, making a healthy and summery light meal, appetizer or snack. All that’s required is to julienne some favorite fruits and veg, soak a few rice wrappers and blend up a quick dipping sauce. The slightly trickier part is rolling them into aesthetically pleasing forms (I still have some practice to do in that area :). But you know what? Even if your spring rolls aren’t perfectly rolled, they’re still delicious! Especially when dipped into a spicy miso tahini sauce that might make your eyes roll back in your head (just a little).
I recently discovered brown rice spring roll wrappers at a local natural foods store, and this was my first time trying them. Good texture and flavor, and I like that they are closer to a whole food than white rice wrappers; only downside is that the wrappers are beige so the colors of the fillings don’t show through as vibrantly. Not a deal-breaker for me, but feel free to use regular white rice wrappers if you prefer.
My favorite spring rolls balance sweet, tangy, crisp, juicy, crunchy and creamy flavors and textures, so for these I decided on mango, cucumber, orange bell pepper, and avocado as the fillings. Black sesame seeds and edible flowers give the rolls a little extra decorative flair, but are no means necessary if you don’t have them around. Cilantro leaves are nice, too.
And, if you have all of the filling ingredients but not the wrappers, make a spring roll bowl instead: toss your julienned mango and veg on top of some leafy greens, drizzle on the sauce (thin it out a little more with extra lime juice to get a drizzle-able consistency), sprinkle some sesame seeds and cilantro leaves on top and feast away! (Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes a trip to the crowded grocery store to pick up one measly ingredient is just not going to happen — so I’m all about the workaround.) Rolled or bowled it’s a too-hot-to-cook win win.
Mango, cucumber & avocado spring rolls with spicy miso tahini dipping sauce
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan
Makes 6 spring rolls and about 1/2 cup of dipping sauce. Extra sauce makes a delicious creamy dressing for a salad, grain bowl or noodles — thin it out with a little more lime juice or water until it has a drizzle-able, honey-like consistency.
2 tablespoons unsalted tahini
1 tablespoon mild miso paste, such as chickpea miso or mellow white miso
juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
1 teaspoon coconut nectar (or raw honey or agave syrup)
1 teaspoon hot chile oil
pinch of salt (optional)
6 spring roll wrappers (I used Star Anise Foods brown rice wrappers)
to decorate your spring rolls (optional): black sesame seeds, edible flowers, cilantro leaves
1 mango, julienne sliced
1 bell pepper, julienne sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Combine tahini, miso, lime juice, coconut aminos, coconut nectar, and chile oil in a small blender (I like to the use the Magic Bullet for this). Blend until creamy. (Alternatively, whisk them together in a small bowl.) Taste and add a pinch of salt, if desired. Set aside.
To make spring rolls, fill a large, shallow pan with water (I like to use a 9 x 13-inch Pyrex baking dish). Submerge a spring roll wrapper in water until flexible (for the brown rice wrappers this took about 15 seconds; white rice wrappers may take less time). Place the wrapper on a flat surface such as a cutting board.
If desired, sprinkle your wrapper with sesame seeds, or arrange a few edible flowers or cilantro leaves in the center of the wrapper. Arrange cucumber, mango, pepper, and avocado in the center of the wrapper (on top of flowers or cilantro leaves, if using). Roll the edge of the wrapper closest to you over the filling, bring sides inward, and continue to roll away from you until you have a cigar-shaped roll. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Serve immediately or chill for up to 4 hours.