If you're anything like me, you'd walk to the edge of the universe for a good spring roll. Or perhaps take the more effective route and call in a takeout order. But if you're really feeling frisky, you can try your hand at making spring rolls at home! They're easy and fun for the whole family, and you can put a wide variety of fresh produce in them. And don't get me started on the dipping sauce!
Since it's spring, it’s only appropriate that we enjoy spring rolls with fresh spring produce. It’s like eating chili when it’s chilly outside and popsicles when it’s hot. It’s just something we do. We spring roll in the spring.
I love spring rolls for a number of reasons. First, the tasty ingredients. This one includes in-season asparagus, butter lettuce, and avocado--a simple yet tasty combination with great texture. Second, the dipping sauce! For this recipe, I thought a light citrus dipping sauce would go well with the asparagus, but you can also make the peanut sauce from Kiersten’s Crispy Tofu Sandwiches with Ginger-Peanut Sauce recipe. Dipping sauces are as good as gold in my book. Third, spring rolls are like miniature burritos. Anything remotely resembling a burrito is also as good as gold!
If you’ve never made spring rolls, there’s no need to be intimidated! Although the spring roll wrappers can be a little tricky to get used to, they are very easy to work with once you get the hang of them. You simply heat up a saucepan of water to just below a boil and get one wrapper wet at a time. I’ve found that quickly rolling the edges of the wrapper in water works well and prevents the wrapper from collapsing onto itself.
You lay the wrapper flat on a cutting board or a piece of parchment paper and stack the filling ingredients on top of each other. You then take the top part of the wrapper and fold it all the way over the filling, followed by folding in the two sides of the wrapper, and then rolling the spring roll over the rest of the wrapper so that it’s completely encased. What happens next is a double-dipping spring-roll-ravaging fiesta of deliciousness.
Where do you find spring roll wrappers and vermicelli noodles? I got mine from the ethnic section at my local grocery store. If your local chain store doesn't carry them, you should be able to find them at an Asian grocery store or Whole Foods.
Whatever you fancy in your spring roll, roll it up!
For the Citrus Dipping Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce see note
For the Spring Rolls:
- 10 asparagus spears tough ends removed
- 20 leaves butter lettuce hard ribs removed
- 2 avocados sliced
- 2 ounces bean or rice vermicelli noodles
- 10 large basil or mint leaves
- 10 spring roll wrappers
To prepare the Citrus Dipping Sauce:
- Stir together all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the Asparagus and Avocado Spring Rolls:
- Add a few inches of water to a wide, shallow saucepan and bring to a full boil. Add the asparagus spears and cook until bright green but still crunchy on the inside, about 2 minutes. Drain the water and place the asparagus on a plate. Refrigerate until completely cool. Once cool, cut the asparagus spears in half.
- Fill the saucepan with water and bring it to a full boil, then add the vermicelli noodles. Cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the noodles are soft. Drain the water and keep the noodles in a colander.
- Fill the saucepan with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to almost a boil. Remove from heat. Carefully and quickly lay one spring roll wrapper on top of the water, just until the full surface of the wrapper touches the surface of the water and it becomes pliable. Remove the wrapper from the water and place it on a smooth cutting board or a piece of parchment paper.
- Place two pieces of asparagus in the center of the wrapper, followed by the vermicelli noodles, two thick pieces of avocado, and one basil or mint leaf. Roll up one lettuce leaf and place it on top of the avocado. Wrap the spring roll tightly. Repeat for remaining ingredients.
- Serve immediately with Citrus Dipping Sauce or wrap rolls individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate.