These vegan spring rolls are filled with fresh, light ingredients. This recipe serves 2 but is easily scaled up for more people.
- 8 oz firm or extra-firm tofu
- Garlic powder
- Red chile powder
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1-2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2-3 sheets of rice paper per person
- 1 package of rice noodles
- 1/2 pear, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- A few leaves of green- or red-leaf lettuce cut into ribbons
- 1 carrot, peeled and shaved into thin ribbons
- 1 handful of chopped cilantro
- 1 handful of fresh basil, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh mint, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 serrano pepper, seeds and veins removed, then chopped finely
- 1/2 avocado, sliced thinly
- 1 green onion (both green and white parts), sliced thinly
- 1 lime, wedged
- Chile garlic paste
First, prepare the tofu. You can cook it any way that ends up with thin strips of tofu (baking, deep frying, pan frying, and so on). The simplest way is pan frying, so that’s what I’ll mention here. Squeeze excess water out of the tofu and pat dry. Slice into long strips about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the strips with garlic powder and red chile powder. Coat your skillet or griddle with a thin layer of oil, then fry the tofu strips over medium heat. When they start to turn a little golden, flip over and fry the other side. Don’t fry too long on either side or you’ll end up with tough strips that tear your rolls up instead of soft strips that blend in smoothly.
Make the peanut sauce by mixing the three ingredients and stirring up into a paste. Add more water as needed to get to the desired consistency. If you are allergic to peanuts, you could try substituting almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter.
Finally, put together the spring rolls. Chop/prepare all of the ingredients as specified. Individually dip the rice paper into a container filled with lukewarm water (I find that a mostly flat cake stand works well). Once the rice paper has softened enough so that you can easily bend it without risk of breaking, pull the wrapper out of the water. Let the water drip off of the rice paper and lay it flat onto a plate.
Add a thin layer of rice noodles and all of the vegetables and tofu that you desire. Make sure that you don’t stuff then too full and that the paper still has at least 1 inch of an edge on two of the sides (remember, we still have to fold these). Add a squeeze of lime, some peanut sauce (if desired), and the chile garlic paste.
Fold two ends in toward the veggies. Carefully take one of the other ends and stretch it over the vegetables toward the other side of the roll. Take the last side and stretch it over the roll, sticking the last end onto the other sides. The rice paper wrapper is very fragile so be patient when wrapping them. This is definitely the most difficult step.