If you're looking for something fun and healthy, try these fresh vegetarian spring rolls. They can be tedious to make, but I cannot get enough of these gems, and I believe they are 100% worth the effort. Make extras to have on hand for a snack the next day. Mark, my boyfriend, and I made 40 for a party the other weekend and they were a definite hit. We decided to make them only with veggies, but you're welcome to add fish, chicken, lamb, beef, pork, or tofu for added protein.
4 rice paper wraps
1 cup rice noodles, cooked
4 asparagus stalks, blanched
Assorted sweet bell peppers, julienne sliced (red, yellow, orange) - you'll only need a half total, so go with one if that's all you have
1/4 poblano, julienne sliced, seeds removed
1/4 carrot, julienne sliced
1/4 cup cilantro and/or mint
1/2 cup baby kale, torn into bite sized pieces
Peanut sauce - or other dipping sauces of your choosing
(Mark made the peanut sauce. Maybe I can convince him to share his recipe...)
1. Make sure all your ingredients are laid out, cut, and accessible. I find it easiest to use a place for rolling, but some prefer to use a cutting board or countertop.
2. Fill a wide pan big enough to lay your rice paper wrap inside without breaking; 10" frying pan works great! Gently lay one rice paper into the warm water and allow to soften. After a couple minutes, remove from the water and put onto your work surface.
3. Begin layering the ingredients in the lower middle of the wrap leaving enough space to fold the edges and roll, about 2" from the edges. Start with your herbs, greens, then rice noodles and veggies. Careful not to overfill the rolls; less is more.
4. Now, the folding part...this is where I wish I had taken step-by-step photos...alas, I'll do my best by explaining. The innards of the roll is ideally placed 2" from the lower left, bottom and right edges and 5" from the top of the wrapper (farthest from you). Fold the uncovered sides in and over the filling, then lift the bottom (closest to you) part of the wrapper on top. Roll and tug to tighten until it's complete.
Suggested Flavor Combos:
lobster with carrot, parsley, cucumber
shrimp, cucumber, mint, basil, cilantro
ginger tofu, carrot, bell pepper, cilantro
Words of caution: rice paper is delicate; be nice and gentle.