Paired with spicy peanut dipping sauce, these tofu spring rolls make the perfect appetizer or light meal. It’s the ideal food for warm weather, when cooking a hot meal is the last thing anyone wants to do.
I have a confession to make: sometimes I get so busy that I buy pre-made food. Gasp! I know that people think because I’m a health coach and a food blogger, I must be in the kitchen at all hours prepping and cooking fresh food, and my fridge is probably a wonderland of kale salads and quinoa pilafs. And sometimes that is true. But other times, I go to the store and stock up on premade meals. The busy times are usually when I’m coaching students for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I only have half an hour between group phone calls for meals. I like to have meals and snacks at the ready so I can just grab something to eat and relax for a few minutes.
I live around the corner from a Whole Foods Market, but for some reason they’ve become less and less vegan friendly (despite my many emails to the manager), so I like to hit up Trader Joe’s for pre-made meals. They have several vegan salads (although I would like to see more) and a few wraps that I like. They also have super tasty tofu spring rolls that come with spicy peanut sauce.
I recently had a hankering for spring rolls, but Trader Joe’s was out of them, so I decided to make them at home. It’s more economical when I make them myself, and I can use whatever I’d like to fill them with. I made my own baked tofu and peanut sauce, but if you’re in a pinch, you can use store-bought ingredients.
I like to serve these spring rolls alongside a salad as a meal, but they’re also great for snacking on. They’d be fun at potlucks, too! They’re incredibly versatile, so you can fill them with whatever fresh veggies you happen to have on hand.
Rice paper wrappers are delicate, and they can be a little tricky to work with the first time, but it just takes a little practice and patience. It’s very similar to rolling a burrito or wrap, but you just need to keep in mind that the wrapper isn’t as tough as a tortilla or flat bread.
- 8 9- or 10-inch rice paper spring roll wrappers
- 14-16 ounces baked tofu, cut into 16 strips
- 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce, about 6 leaves
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage, about ¼ of a small head of cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrot, about 2 medium carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- ½ cup spicy peanut sauce
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and have a place to put your rice paper wrappers ready to go. They will stick to wooden cutting boards, so use a plastic board or a ceramic plate.
- Give the rice paper wrapper a quick dip in the water, and then lay it down flat on your cutting board or plate. The wrapper will become soft pretty quickly.
- On the bottom third of the wrapper, place two of the tofu strips, and about two tablespoons each of the lettuce, cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper. If your wrappers are small, you’ll want less filling – you don’t want to overstuff the rolls or they might tear.
- Gently lift the bottom the spring roll and fold it over the filling ingredients. Gently roll everything away from you, using your fingers to tuck the ingredients in. After the initial roll, fold the sides over to seal the ends of the spring roll. Continue to roll everything, using your fingers to hold the filling in place as you go. Since the wrapper is sticky, it will automatically seal itself when you get to the edge.
- Make the rest of the spring rolls the same way.
- Serve with spicy peanut sauce for dipping.
- These can be stored in the fridge for a day or two before serving, but they’re best when eaten soon after making them. Keep in mind that they might stick together and then tear when stored, so you may want to separate them with parchment paper.