Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls

by Jen on June 2, 2013

*This Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls recipe is vegan if you omit the mayo in the dipping sauce*

In the past, whenever I go to Asian restaurants, I couldn’t resist a plate of deep fried spring rolls, deep fried wontons, deep fried chicken, deep fried tofu, and even deep fried bananas. See a pattern here? What’s the common thread? Yup, that they are all fried in a hot bath of gurgling oil! (Nowadays, I make wiser choices by avoiding these).

I’ve never – ever – given a dish like this fresh veggie summer rolls a second glance at a restaurant, because heck, there’s no cooking involved in this – even I can make this at home! But fried stuff? No, I can’t make those at home, because truly delicious deeply fried dishes always require a full vat of hot oil heated to the right temperature! Only professional restaurants can do such a beautiful job!

And that’s how my “restaurant logic” gave me trouble all my life.

As the years passed, I started to realize that my few pieces of fried-something-here and fried-something-there had added up to the excess fat hanging around my mid-section. Me and my mid-section…we are “frenemies!” Friends, because it carried me through 3 pregnancies even when I swore that all my ligaments and muscles were going to get ripped out (at my most pregnant, I had a 47-inch waist on my 5-foot frame). Enemies, because it’s the hardest part of my body to “shrink back” (those kids really did a number on me! Ha!)

So still, the belly blubber is adamant to stay with me just a little longer. How do I battle this problem? My genius brain told me that if you looked at every diet in this world, there is none that recommends feasting on deep fried foods! I’m S.O.L. Time to give up the crunch.

As an alternative to my favourite fried spring rolls then, I turned to these fresh veggie summer rolls for salvation. No nutrition or dietetics professional has declared fresh veggie rolls bad for you (ok, except maybe for Paleo, which will tell you to discard the rice paper). So, I am going out on a limb here to tell you that these fresh rolls are so good, so healthy, so nourishing! These rolls won’t be your “frenemies” – they’ll be your straight up friends for life!

Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls
4.9 from 10 reviews
Print
Recipe Type: Appetizer, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 10 to 12 rolls
Vietnamese-style fresh rolls with a shallot-horseradish mayo dip.
Ingredients
  • ~~ For the Fresh Summer Rolls ~~
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, preferably organic, cut into squares, ribs removed
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 avocado, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin batons or julienned
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons or julienned
  • 2 – 3 leaves red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pack 16-cm (6-1/2 in) rice paper rounds
  • ~~ For the Shallot-Horseradish Mayo Dip ~~
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise (QP)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon shallot oil* (see Notes section below on how to make)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish or freshly grated horseradish
Preparation
  1. Prepare all the vegetables for the summer roll.
  2. Next, prepare the rice paper by dipping it into a bowl with very hot water. Dip the rice paper into the water until it is soft and pliable, about 5 seconds. Remove the rice paper rounds from the water and spread it flat on the work surface.
  3. Lay the yellow bell pepper over the bottom third of the rice paper, flattening it with your palm.
  4. Then, lay the green leaf lettuce, then top with avocado, cucumber, carrots, and red cabbage.
  5. Fold in the left and the right sides on the rice paper, then lift the bottom edge over the vegetables. Tightly tuck and roll the rice paper away from you. Continue rolling as tightly as possible until the roll is closed. Set aside seam side down.
  6. Place the roll on a plate and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out the paper. Repeat with the remaining paper and fillings.
  7. Refrigerate the rolls, covered with the damp towel or with plastic wrap until ready to be served. Can be kept in the refrigerator up to 2 to 3 hours before serving.
  8. To make the shallot-horseradish dipping sauce, mix together the QP mayonnaise, lemon juice, shallot oil (see Notes for recipe), and prepared horseradish. Whisk or shake in a mason jar vigorously until well-combined.
  9. To serve, cut each roll crosswise, into desired size. Drizzle with sauce or serve on the side.
Notes

*To make the shallot oil, thinly slice 1 French shallot. In a small saucepan, heat a neutral oil (like grapeseed) to 275 F (135 C). Add shallots and fry until golden light brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Then, place a fine mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl; set aside. Next, go back to your saucepan and increase heat to high until it reaches 350 F (180 C), then cook the once-fried shallots for the second time. Cook until they are crispy and a deeper brown, about 1 to 2 seconds. Watch that the shallots don’t burn. Pour the shallot and oil through the sieve. On this recipe, we only utilize the oil, so you can save the crispy shallot as garnish for other dishes.

 

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) June 3, 2013 at 12:09 am

Yes please! I could live off these rolls all summer (and I might have to, just to offset all the fruit desserts I’ve been eating ;) ).

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Priscilla | ShesCookin June 3, 2013 at 12:26 am

What Laura said :) These are beautiful, Jen! I’ve wanted to make similar rolls for weeks, have the wraps and everything – now I’m totally inspired to just DO IT!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com June 3, 2013 at 3:11 am

I usually order fresh rolls whenever we eat it. Hate the fried version. This looks so fresh, colorful and yum! I want :)

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Mom-Friday June 3, 2013 at 4:23 am

Ooh lalala! Looks so delish! I love the mix you put in the roll. J and I love fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, it has shrimp and the dipping sauce is peanut-based. That’s the closest we can get to “fresh”… we have not attempted to make them at home though. We do the traditional Chinese fresh lumpia our A-mas used to make! =)

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Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet June 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

These summer rolls sounds fantastic, Jen! Love fresh and colorful dishes like this!

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Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic June 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

Oooh these look great – a fresh and light take on lumpia! ;)

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Heather June 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

There is nothing I love more than making fresh spring rolls at home- it is actually one of my dinners I have planned for this week- perfect for those nights when you don’t want to turn on the grille or stove!

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Valerie June 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

For as much as I love that crunchy, fried, food – I’d much rather have something fresh, clean, and beautiful! These summer rolls are scrumptious works of art! So much colour, and happiness – who can resist? Besides, frying is messy, and makes the house smell like an oil vat for several days. :D

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Choc Chip Uru June 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

There is a Thai restaurant actually which sells spring rolls just like this – except I think yours look even more beautiful and delicious :)

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

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Andi June 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Not only does this look delicious, it’s a feast for the eyes as well!

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Patty June 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm

These have to be the prettiest veggie wraps I’ve seen! I would much rather feast,ha-ha-I meant enjoy a light meal, on your fresh summer rolls than anything fried ever ;-)

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Eha June 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Well, it may be the fourth day of winter Down Under but I love these and may just have fun and make them for lunch tomorrow: + a glass of dry white and my face in the sun outside :) ! Well, yogurt may enter the equation somewhere along the line of making dipping sauces :D !

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Suzanne June 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

Your so cute Jen, kids do have a way of turning our once firm bodies into well…less than firm :) bodies. I love how you stacked up the fresh veggies in these Spring rolls um sorry Summer rolls. I was just thinking of making some tasty fresh Summer rolls and now you’ve got me motivated.

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Sandra's Easy Cooking June 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

I am guilty too of eating that beautiful golden crunch of anything fried, and I still do from time to time, but not nearly like before…yea kids did # on me too and even though i was never skinny-skinny flat broken tire don’t seem to go away completely no matter how hard I try. Your summer rolls are beautiful, colorful and perfect for the season.

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Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} June 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I do love a fried spring roll. BUT I am a bit more drawn to these thai style spring rolls with a bit of peanut dipping sauce. Good for you and tasty. Love your photos and your perfectly cut veggies you put into each roll. :-)

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

How fresh and colorful are these? Love them, they are perfect for summer – and you still get your crunch factor!

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The Café Sucre Farine June 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

These looks so vibrant and sound so fresh and delicious. I wouldn’t miss anything fried if I had these to look forward to, YUM!

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Lora @cakeduchess June 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I’ve been eating more rolls these days. Your rolls are so fresh and fun and fabulous, Jen! I know what I will be making this weekend:)

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Raymund June 6, 2013 at 1:43 am

Very nice, I totally feel the coming summer over there. Light, healthy and tasty. Mmmmmmm

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Nami | Just One Cookbook June 6, 2013 at 1:53 am

Ahem. To be honest I’d probably have a hard time to give up on some fried stuff like tonkatsu and tempura but I have been cooking less (if that’s helping haha). I love rice paper rolls and always have two packages in my pantry to make sure we have enough while I’m making! I especially love this mayo dressing. I never thought of eating/dipping the rolls into mayo base sauce! Wow, I’m curious now. I don’t eat horseradish (or wasabi!), so I have to tweak a bit, but can’t wait to try it out! p.s. You are 5 ft too? Your lifestyle has been very healthy, Jen!!

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sippitysup June 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I always find spring rolls a bit lacking. Your delicious and just decadent sauce may have been what they have always lacked in my mind. GREG

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Jean | Lemons & Anchovies June 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm

But deep fried food is so good! I used to ignore fresh spring rolls, too, but when they’re made like this, I wouldn’t miss the fried stuff. The sauce makes it (and I use Vegenaise now so it would still be vegan. Tastes just like regular mayo).

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Tessa @ Feral Kitchen June 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

Great looking summer rolls! So bright, fresh and crunchy. I love the shallot horseradish dip!

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Monica June 9, 2013 at 10:18 am

Hi there – love your gorgeous pictures and delicious-looking food!
I totally agree with you – I never looked at these summer rolls in the past, preferring the fried hands down. But then I got older, had a child, and it seems the metabolism will slow down and the tummy will expand. : ( I’ve changed the way I eat in the past couple of years and now I love tons of veggies. My sister and I just ordered some of these rolls at a restaurant recently but it wasn’t great – the wrappers were so tough and dry. Now, yours look stuffed to perfection and super satisfying! I’ll have to add it on my to-do list. : )

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amy @ fearless homemaker June 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I loooove fresh rolls and yours look SO wonderful. I could go for some right now – YUM!

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Laura June 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Glad to find a fellow spring roll lover! I posted my version on my blog and am actually having them for dinner tonight using my newly purchased seaweed!

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Katie June 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

All of these fresh veggies sound absolutely stellar!

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Candi July 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm

These look great! I like to put big beautiful basil leaves in mine, too…

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Crystal July 12, 2013 at 11:04 am

Where can I find Japanese Mayo? Walmart? Or does anyone have a recipe for Japanese mayo and can you make your own rice rills too? Does abyone know a good recipe for that? I am trying to get my son and I on a healthy all organic home grown homemade diet as much as possible. Monsanto is kilking us with bio engineered foods and pesticides. Thanks all♥

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Jen July 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I usually get my Japanese mayo from specialty Japanese stores or even in bis Asian supermarkets. I’d like to refer you to my friend, Nami of Just One Cookbook blog…She has a wealth of knowledge in all things Japanese!
P.S. I know what you are saying about Monsanto! It’s very hard to escape their Frankenfoods these days! I’m so mad!!! I truly believe that GMO’s, pesticides, and other sneaky agri-business practices are what’s killing us, as reflected in the high rates of cancer we are experiencing today!

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Sara @ Tried & Twisted July 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

This looks so yummy and healthy! Thank you for sharing. I’ll have to pin this for later.
Toodles,
Sara

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Lynnette September 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

These look so awesome! How well do they hold up if they are made ahead and taken in a lunch or to a potluck where they would be eaten later?

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Jen September 24, 2013 at 7:43 am

Hi, Lynette! Sorry for the late response. They hold up well for picnics as long as you have a cool place to store them. I also suggest slicing them to pieces at the last minute or just before serving!

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