I love the end of spring and beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is always filled with the anticipation of all the good things to come… Sunshine. Farmers market bounty. Picnics. Beach trips. The best action movies of the year. And all of the amazing summer food.
As the weather starts warming up, I naturally start craving lighter foods and wanting to spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. Can you relate?
And that’s where these fresh rolls come in. Fresh rolls are a popular Vietnamese dish and I love them in summertime when fresh basil and cucumber are are season. These fresh rolls involve thin strips of crispy tofu combined with quinoa for a hearty, protein-rich snack or side dish. I love enjoying these with a simple green salad while lounging in the sun. Hooray for (almost) summer.
Once your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to roll! You’ll need a large bowl of warm water that your rice paper wrappers can comfortably fit in. Begin by soaking the paper in the water for about 3 seconds to soften. (The amount of soaking time depends on the thickness and size of your rice paper, but it usually takes 2 – 5 seconds.) When you pull the rice paper out, it might still feel a little firm, but it will continue to absorb water and soften as you add ingredients and roll.
This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. For a peanut-free recipe, sub almond butter in the sauce and for a sugar-free version, omit the maple syrup.
These are best eaten immediately. If you are planning to serve these for later, keep the ingredients separate and assemble the rolls just prior to serving. The ingredients listed below are approximate as they might vary depending on the size of your rolls.
- 1 package organic extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 package rice paper wrappers (usually 8 - 12 inches in diameter)
- large bowl of warm water
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch red radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 2 english cucumbers, seeded and cut into matchsticks
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 large bunch fresh basil
- ½ cup natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice tofu into long thin strips, about ¼ inch wide (see ingredient photos above). Toss with coconut oil and lay flat on baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, until tofu is crispy on the outside, turning every 10 minutes as necessary so each side is evenly browned.
- Meanwhile, add quinoa and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes, or cool in the refrigerator if serving cold.
- Lay out remaining ingredients, including rice paper wrappers and large bowl of warm water. Begin by soaking the paper in the water for about 3 seconds to soften. (The amount of soaking time depends on the thickness and size of your rice paper, but it usually takes 2 - 5 seconds. When you pull the rice paper out, it might still feel a little firm, but it will continue to absorb water and soften as you add ingredients and roll.)
- Start at the bottom ⅓ of the rice paper and add your lettuce and a small amount of the other ingredients. Be careful not to overfill your roll as it will cause the delicate paper to burst.
- After you add the fillings, tuck the edges of the rice paper in and begin to roll the paper, pushing away from you, until it is wrapped up. (It should be similar to rolling a burrito.) Then slice in half.
- Mix the peanut butter, warm water, tamari (or coconut aminos), garlic, lime juice, and maple syrup. Serve with the fresh rolls for dipping.