Today I decided I wanted to make a vegetarian meal without cooking anything but I am avoiding just making simple salads for this learning project.
I love Vietnamese-style food, especially dishes made with rice vermicelli noodles. Vietnamese fresh rolls (some call them summer rolls) are so easily suited to an individual’s personal preferences when it comes to vegetables. In many Vietnamese restaurants, fresh rolls are made with either pork or shrimp and vegetables. It is easy to eliminate meat from these and choose what you want to include in the rolls.
There are plenty of recipes online with suggested fillings for the fresh rolls – I decided to choose which vegetables I wanted to include but referenced both Minimalist Baker’s recipe and Food Network’s recipe. I made quite a few alterations to suit my taste- no tofu, no mushrooms, no cilantro, and I decided to make my own sauce.
First, I got together all the ingredients I wanted to use in my fresh rolls:
I had two different kinds of rice vermicelli but decided I would use the brown rice noodles for this recipe – you can get these at most grocery stores. I also found two different sizes/shapes of rice paper – I used the round rice paper for this recipe but it does not make a difference in the end.
I then had to chop up all the vegetables – I chopped most of them into thin, long slices and shredded the carrot. For the noodles, I boiled water in kettle and poured over the noodles in a large bowl. I let them soak for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with cold water. I picked from fresh basil from the garden and bought some mint to add as well.
For the sauce, I mixed together peanut butter (you can use natural peanut butter for a more health-conscious sauce), hoisin sauce (one of the best ingredients ever), rice vinegar, soya sauce, sesame oil, lime, sambal oelek, chopped peanuts,and water.
For the vegetables, I used celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, yellow bell pepper, carrots, bean sprouts, basil, and mint. Some people like cilantro but all I taste is soap from that herb!
Once all this was done, I heated up some water in a pan on the stove. I then dipped the rice paper, each end, into the water for 10-20 seconds (until softened) and then lay it down on the cutting board to begin filling and rolling.
Very easy and tasty on a hot summer day! With so many options to choose which fillings you want to include, these fresh rolls can easily be vegetarian or not, gluten-free, vegan, etc.
For some step-by-step instructions on how to roll the fresh roll, check out this video I found on YouTube-