Healthy spring rolls with peanut sauce

I always forget how much I enjoy these easy to make spring rolls. The last time we made them was for a party at our house, everyone loved them. I came across a partial package of spring roll wrappers while cleansing my cupboard of all the bad things I should no longer eat. Although the spring roll wrappers are essentially rice flour, they are thin and healthy when filled with plenty of veggies.

Although I planned to manipulate a recipe we’ve used before, I couldn’t find which cookbook it was in. Hmmm, next on my list should be a cleansing of my bookshelves. I mainly wanted the dipping sauce recipe but decided to improvise. My improvisation turned out just as good, if not better.

Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 clove minced garlic

I used an immersion blender to puree all of these ingredients. You can also use a blender or food processor. The sauce is slightly thin and is loaded with a spicy, peanuty flavor. I could drink it with a straw!

For the peanut butter, I used the Smart Balance brand which has a better blend of poly-unsaturated and mono0unsaturated fats along with a boost of omega-3. Surprisingly, it tastes really good :-)

Last time we made the spring rolls we filled them with cooked vermicelli, beef, mint, and bean sprouts. Tonight, I decided to use beef, cilantro, lettuce, and roasted vegetables. There are so many combinations you can create — I love meals like this.

I started by roasting 1/2 lb. asparagus, 1/2 red onion, and a couple carrots. I drizzled with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and roasted for 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until tender. Allow the roasted vegetables to cool before using.

For the meat, I used a lean 3/4 lb. flank steak which I marinated with a tablespoon of minced garlic, tablespoon of minced ginger, a couple tablespoons of the peanut sauce (see above). I let it set while the vegetables roasted, then turned the oven on to broil. Depending on the thickness of your flank steak, it may take 3-5 minutes per side to achieve medium. Allow the meat to cool for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain. And if you don’t want to use meat, just substitute plain or roasted tofu.

You’ll also need some fresh cilantro and lettuce to add to the rolls, just wash and pat dry. I used a mix of baby greens and they worked quite well.

So, once you have your veggies, meat, lettuce, and cilantro it’s time to begin assembly. The spring roll wrappers are a Vietnamese dried version, which you can find in most Asian markets. Our Vietnamese friends have always advised us to ‘buy the brand with the rose on the package’.

If you haven’t worked with these wrappers before, you’re in for a treat. You dip them one at a time into warm water for about 10 seconds. They begin to soften and by the time you’re ready to roll it up, the wrappers are the perfect consistency (fully reconstituted). The package cost only .99 cents and probably contains 50 or so wrappers — a bargain meal!

Wet a wrapper and place on your work surface. I begin by adding about 4 or 5 leaves of cilantro, two pieces of asparagus, a piece of carrot, a piece of onion, a strip of meat and a few leaves of lettuce. Place the mix on one half of the wrapper, leaving an inch of space all the way around. Begin rolling and fold the edges inward as you roll. The wrapper will automatically seal itself since the wrapper becomes a bit tacky as it dries. Repeat process about 20 or so times until you’re out of filling.

If you don’t plan to eat the rolls immediately, cover and store in the refrigerator. The spring rolls will dry out pretty quickly if left sitting out for too long.

Joe was happy when he came home and found this meal waiting for him. I served the spring rolls with a bit of fresh mango on the side. The spring rolls are satisfying, a nice mix of textures and flavors. It’s a great way to add a bit of meat without going overboard, you get just a little in each bite.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • toontz May 7, 2008, 8:22 pm

    Those look so good! I am going to keep a look out for those wrappers, I have never seen them before. The recipe sounds absolutely scrumptious.

  • Peter G May 7, 2008, 8:59 pm

    Absolutely delicious Allen! I love these fresh, soft spring rolls and you’ve done a great job filling them with healthy ingredients. I have the same brand of wrappers btw!

  • Manggy May 7, 2008, 11:25 pm

    Great dish! (Don’t get excited, I’m not talking about gossip, heh) Diane of White on Rice Couple would be so proud :) You know, it just occurred to me that I’ve never seen spring roll wrappers being sold! What we have here are fresh wrappers (to be refrigerated at all times) that are blotchy and starchy (and meant to be fried), not translucent and silky. I’ve always wondered where our vietnamese restaurants get theirs :)

    Incidentally, the niacin in peanuts helps to lower LDL too. Good job.

  • Peter M May 8, 2008, 2:55 am

    They sound dlish Allen and you’re providing yourself with a new cooking outlet, healthy options for all of us without compromising taste.

  • Chuck May 8, 2008, 3:21 am

    The spring rolls look fantastic! I was wondering where you were (haven’t seen you twittering) and now I know why.

    I’m glad you are feeling better and are continuing to make great (and healthy) food!

  • Arundathi May 8, 2008, 4:55 am

    Allen, I used to buy the wrappers in the Japanese market and you’re right, they dry out so quickly that you have to work fast.
    Love these spring rolls and usually order a plate for myself and don’t share! :) I make mine veggie with carrots, vermicelli and bits of scrambled egg.

  • Patricia Scarpin May 8, 2008, 6:42 am

    Allen, I have never eaten these, and they look so light and fresh!
    My friend Valentina loves spring rolls made this way.

  • Allen May 8, 2008, 9:25 am

    Toontz: Thank you! I hope you find the wrappers, they are worth seeking out.

    Peter G: I love that the wrappers basically last forever, so they are perfect for a quick meal.

    Manggy: Well … Diane wouldn’t be proud if she saw the quality of my rolling close-up :-)

    Peter M: My biggest fear in monitoring my food intake was sacrificing ‘flavor’ (i.e. butter makes everything taste better). I have to think a little more when preparing meals, but it’s possible to eat healthy AND have wonderfully flavorful food.

    Chuck: Haha, I’ve been avoiding twittering — it’s a dangerous tool when you work from home. I found myself getting sucked into and needed to step back — I’ll poke my head back in soon :-)

    Arundathi: Oh, I like the idea of using egg — yum!

    Partricia: They are definetly light and fresh – you’ll have to try them sometime and invite Valentina over!

  • Fearless Kitchen May 8, 2008, 9:52 am

    These look great. I don’t know that I’ve seen spring rolls with meat before, but I bet it tastes fantastic.

  • Erin May 8, 2008, 10:16 am

    This is a bit off topic, but you know what I really love. Reduced fat Skippy crunchy peanut butter. It’s yummy. Like…sneak spoonfuls when your mom isn’t looking good ;)

  • farida May 8, 2008, 11:39 am

    I love rolls, but I’ve never made them. Your recipe sounds like it is fun to make some of your own. I am sure homemade tastes even better. Great recipe! Healthy too:)

  • Jerry May 8, 2008, 7:03 pm

    I love the rolls. They sound great.

  • RecipeGirl May 8, 2008, 8:54 pm

    Ah, you’ve reminded me that I’ve been meaning to make these. I made them in a Vietnamese cooking class a year or so ago and they were so much fun. I’d love to set them up at a party so that everyone could choose their own ingredients and make their own.

  • Kevin May 8, 2008, 9:02 pm

    Those spring rolls look good and the peanut butter dipping sauce sounds really tasty!

  • White On Rice Couple May 8, 2008, 10:43 pm

    Wow, these look fantastic!! You made them just like the pro’s and I am so proud and pleased to see that all these Asian dishes come so natural to you!!

    Your spicy peanut sauce has so much flavor, it’s brilliant!

  • Camille May 9, 2008, 2:32 am

    I cannot believe I have been buying my wrappers from Wal-Mart for 3.99 for a package of 15. I feel so stupid. thanks for the tip.

  • Clare May 9, 2008, 9:26 am

    We must be on the same wavelength; I just made these myself! I love how healthy these are and the variety they offer. I put some shrimp and tons of veg in mine and used a spicy chili sauce for dipping. Yum!

  • michelle @ TNS May 9, 2008, 9:46 am

    these look great – i love things rolled up in other things. and i’m always on the lookout for a good peanut sauce recipe!

  • Allen May 9, 2008, 12:34 pm

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these spring rolls since we had them the other night. I decided to make them again for lunch today — the extras will store in the fridge as snacks.

    You can fill the wrappers with anything you like, so I’m using it as a way to use up a few veggies from the fridge. I’m roasting up asparagus and carrots which I’ll combine with fresh baby greens and wedges of crisp cucumber. Yum!

  • worldfoodieguide May 12, 2008, 3:28 pm

    Thanks Allen for this. I have all the ingredients, except for the essential wrappers, which I’ve never used before. So I look forward to the experiment!

    Helen Yuet Ling

  • Christie @ fig & cherry May 13, 2008, 12:29 am

    Great photo Allen! I’ve never used steak in a fresh roll before – great idea!

  • Dawn May 13, 2008, 4:12 am

    Wow, first time you your blog. Delish recipes, gorgeous photos, very informative. I will be back. Any tips on where to find some of your specialty products like the rice paper. Sometimes the brand makes all the difference, where do you shop?

  • Deborah Dowd May 13, 2008, 5:28 am

    I love these spring rolls, they are just perfect for those hot summer days!

  • May 14, 2008, 3:54 am

    They are the best! These, particularly look delicious. I must make some soon.


  • Ben May 16, 2008, 6:42 am

    Where have I been that I missed all these delicious and healthy posts?

    I am glad to see you are back and with great recipes. I will definitely try to make something with spring roll wrappers. It’s one of those items that is always at the bottom of my list, but now it’s moving to the top.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Bellini Valli May 16, 2008, 8:10 am

    I would be happy to come home to these healthy spring rolls too:D

  • Foodaholic May 16, 2008, 1:17 pm

    These are one of my favorites as well. So refreshing and best in the summer when all the greens are fresh from the garden. I love them with shrimp as a filling.

  • Dondon May 19, 2008, 2:16 pm

    Those rolls were great and it really looks yummy..

  • Deborah Dowd June 7, 2008, 7:31 pm

    These sound wonderful- I love spring rolls! They are especially great in the summer since they are light and fresh-tasting- just perfect for those hot and humid days. And they are so versatile-add watercress and beef, or
    napa and shrimp, the possibilities are endless!

  • Gwen August 28, 2009, 3:17 pm

    I started making these about a year ago and couldn’t believe how easy it was to put them together. I did some research on the internet and after about 20 rolls, I was a pro. I often put leftover marinaded tofu and lots of veggies in mine and always, always use peanut sauce!

    These are great for anyone who has to follow a gluten-free diet too.

  • Sarah October 26, 2009, 11:58 am

    These sound AMAZING. I can’t wait to make them. For anyone wondering where they might be able to get the wrappers – I got a large package of them (100?) at Whole Foods for just a few dollars. Hope that can help someone out!

  • Emily December 30, 2009, 4:33 pm

    I made these last month for my birthday after mentally drooling over that picture for more than a year. I did my own version of the spring rolls, but followed the sauce recipe pretty much to a T. I had to make a second batch of sauce because I knew one batch wouldn’t be enough. (I couldn’t stop “sampling” it and probably ate an entire batch before the party started.) Everyone loved it!!

    I’m back again for the sauce. Tonight, I’m using it with some chicken I’ve got marinating for supper. Thank you for this. I’ve made a few other recipes of yours and they never disappoint. :)

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