My friend Kaitlin brought me dinner right after I had Adeline, and even though those early newborn days are blurry memory, I remember two important things from her visit. First, she gave me a heartfelt encouragement of “you can do this/yes, you will shower again someday” and second, she brought her fabulous homemade spring rolls. Not long after that I tried making a variation of her spring rolls, however, I dramatically ended up scrapping the whole thing because my rice wrappers kept tearing. My problem was that I was overfilling the wrappers (beginners naïveté). I also figured out that if you leave one end of the roll open, it’s infinitely easier to wrap them and also looks quite pretty. I’ve made quite a few combinations of fillings the past couple years, but this combo with the mango and sesame tofu is by far my favorite. Also, don’t skimp and not make the dipping sauce – it’s so easy and so delicious. We’ve eaten these nearly every week the past couple months and I’m glad to have them on regular rotation for the summer season.
RAINBOW VEGAN SPRING ROLLS WITH “PEANUT” DIPPING SAUCE
makes 12 spring rolls
12 thin slices mango
24 thin slices carrot
12 thin slices bell pepper
12 large basil leaves
12 slices sesame tofu (see below for recipe)
12 thin slices avocado
24 thin slices red onion
12- 6 inch rice paper wrappers, plus extra if needed for ones that tear or break
“Peanut” dipping sauce:
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons low sodium* soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sriracha
6-8oz extra firm tofu
toasted sesame oil
low sodium soy sauce
*if using regular soy sauce, use 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water
1. Whisk all “peanut sauce” ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Cut tofu into skinny strips (approximately 3 inches long). Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat and pour in enough toasted sesame oil until it thinly covers the surface of the pan. Lay the tofu strips in the pan and generously drizzle some soy sauce over the top. Flip the tofu when the bottom surface is a deep golden brown. Drizzle more soy sauce each time you flip the tofu over and remove tofu when all sides are deep golden brown.
3. Fill a wide bowl with a couple inches of warm water and set up a station with all your spring roll ingredients. Put one rice wrapper in the water, fully submerged, and let soak until softened but not so much that it tears easily (I check my wrappers every 15 seconds or so while soaking). You may need to experiment a little with the soaking time, as it varies by brand and also by how warm or cold your water is. Lay on your wrapper one slice of mango, two slices carrot, one slice bell pepper, one basil leaf, one slice tofu, one slice avocado, and two slices red onion. Roll up your spring roll so the vegetables are exposed on one end. See photos above for reference on my rolling technique.
4. Enjoy the spring rolls with your dipping sauce. The rolls are definitely best the first day, but you may prep your vegetables and sauce in advance.