One of my favorite things about living in Orange County was the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants.
Fun Fact: Orange County, CA has the largest Vietnamese population in the US.
And because of that we were blessed with delicious (and inexpensive) restaurants.
Over the last four years, I’ve become obsessed with the Vietnamese Spring Rolls. It’s almost a rule that I must order them any time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant.
I’m sure there have to be amazing Vietnamese restaurants here in the Bay Area, and I will do my best to discover them, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep the memory alive with some spring roll inspiration.
These aren’t really Vietnamese spring rolls. They don’t include rice noodles or shrimp or pork. They’re just vegetables, which is why I call them salad spring rolls. Despite not being like the tasty ones I get at restaurants, this has become my new favorite way to eat salad.
They pretty quick, easy and tasty. The other wonderful thing is you can make them with whatever you have on hand.
Here are some suggestions for filling your spring rolls:
Red Bell Pepper
For Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1-2 tbsp peanut butter, natural
1-2 tbsp sriracha
1-2 tbsp water
To assemble, cut your vegetables into match tickets (i.e. carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) and wash your lettuce and thai basil. You’ll need to get rice paper. You can probably find it at any Asian grocery store (or on Amazon).
Wet your rice paper by dipping it in water for about 3 seconds and you’re ready to go (do one at a time, don’t wet them all at once, because they’re very sticky). I have a rice paper water bowl, but it’s not essential, and shallow dish to submerge the paper in will work.
Then you can start assembling your spring rolls. Place some of the vegetables toward the bottom of the circle, like such:
Fold the right and left sides toward the center, then the shorter side up and roll to cover. I couldn’t take photos of this process because it requires two hands and I only have two, unfortunately (or fortunately). But this blog has an awesome tutorial! Check it out!
Once your spring rolls are rolled and ready, make your quick dipping sauce. Combine hoisin, peanut butter, sriracha in a bowl. Start with 1 tbsp of each, taste it and adjust to your liking.
You don’t have to use this dipping sauce, you can also mix fish sauce with water, a bit of sugar and chili garlic sauce and dip! Or since these are salad rolls, feel free to dip in your favorite salad dressing. We’re not being authentic here, so anything goes.
But seriously, this hand-held salad options is awesome. I served it with some mustard rubbed chicken and it was a hit (to Jesse and me, that is, but I think we have ok taste). I think this is my new favorite summer meal.