I would like to tell you that spring has sprung here in the alps, that the snow is melting and the birds are chirping and the buds are – budding(?), but (sigh) its snowing again and winter seems to be hanging around for a little while longer. We’ve had a few glorious days under a warm spring sun – its so energizing to feel the heat on your face and everyone seems to come alive after the long winter months. I’m looking forward to many days like this in the near future, and making these spring rolls was my sort of raindance to bring some sunshine into a very grey day. Today is very grey – so I made spring rolls and cut some old jeans into shorts . Spring – I’m ready for you!
These spring rolls make a great appetizer – you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge, but I find they are best served within a few hours of being made. I used the vegetables I had here in the house, so feel free to do the same – avocado, peppers or sprouts would all be really nice in here too. The most important part is to cut the ingredients into slices that are all relatively the same length to make the assembly easier. Working with rice paper rolls can be a bit tricky, but after the first few I really got the hang of it, so don’t worry if you mess up the first ones, they will still taste delicious!
VEGAN SPRING ROLLS WITH CRUNCHY SESAME TOFU + TAHINI COCONUT DIP
Makes 10 fresh and crunchy rolls. Vegan & Gluten Free.
200g firm tofu or tempeh
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 medium carrots
1 english cucumber
1 cup spinach
Handful fresh mint, basil and cilantro leaves (about 10 each)
10 circular rice paper rolls
A few cups of boiling water
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 – 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 gloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Slice the tofu into long, thin rectangular pieces, this will end up being the same length you will cut everything else to and determines the length of the rolls.
Poor the melted coconut oil on a plate and the sesame seeds on another plate. Take one piece of tofu and dip both sides lightly in the oil, then coat in sesame seeds and place on the baking sheet. Repeat for all pieces and bake in the oven until the seeds are browning, about 20 minutes. You can put them under the broiler for a few minutes on both sides if you want them really crispy
While the tofu is baking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the carrots and cucumber in thin strips (julienne) and tear the spinach into small pieces. Set aside.
Make the sauce – place all the ingredients in a small blender and blend until smooth. Start with 1/3 of cup of coconut milk and add more until you get the consistency you want. Mine was thin enough for easy dipping but thick enough to stick to the rolls – I used just less than 1/2 cup in the end. Put the sauce in the fridge while you make the rolls.
Once the tofu is brown and crispy, remove from the oven and let cool.
Put a full pot of water on to boil and lay out all your ingredients for easy assembly
Poor the boiling water in a large bowl wide enough to dip your rice paper into and bring to the assemble area
Take one rice paper roll and dip it quickly in the hot water while rotating it so the whole thing gets wet but never on one side too long. Its ok if the paper is still a little firm, it continues to soften as you work with it.
Lay the wet paper on a plate, place a mint leaf, basil leaf and a bit of cilantro in the middle of the paper. Top the herbs with a piece of tofu, then the carrots and cucumber and finally the spinach on top of all that. Fold the edge of the paper closest to you over all the fillings, then fold in the sides of the paper – then roll it up by rolling it away from you. Repeat for each roll. At any point you can dip your fingers in the water to help the rice paper stick together at the corners and creases.
Keep store in the fridge in a tupperware until ready to serve. Dip and enjoy!
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!