Veggie Spring Rolls with Sweet Cilantro Dipping Sauce

It should be known that we watch a lot of cooking shows around here.  Giada de Laurentiis feels like part of my family sometimes, to my daughter Olivia too who regularly asks to watch her show and make her recipes…that is when she’s not watching Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony.  Well, the other night Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen came on when I was doing dishes and I walked into the living room to find Olivia sitting on the couch absolutely enthralled.  She proceeded to tell us that she thought Nadia G was beautiful and that she loved her kitchen!  (To those of you who have never seen this show click here to have a good laugh.)  I will go ahead and say this show is not appropriate for young children but I gave in and let her watch her make Thai-Italian Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce.  So, per Olivia’s request, we made something similar today at my parents’ house for Memorial Day minus the meat and peanuts (my dad’s allergic.)

Veggie Spring Rolls (makes 8 rolls)

You’ll need:

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 scallions, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • handful sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 1/2 english cucumber, julienned
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, leaves cut into 4″ strips
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • soy sauce
  • 8 rice paper sheets

First, slice the block of tofu into 1/2 inch slices.  Blot tofu with paper towel to get most of the moisture out.  Season tofu with soy sauce, just sprinkle each slice liberally and pat a little to help tofu absorb the soy sauce.  Drizzle some olive oil onto a non-stick grill pan and grill the tofu for a 3-4 mins on each side or until each side has nice grill marks.  Next, cut the tofu into 1/4″ – 1/2″ strips.  Set aside.  Have all of your julienned veggies ready to go before you start to prep your rice paper.  Fill a pie dish or something of similar size, with hot water.  Have a damp tea towel spread out over a cutting board and another slightly damp tea towel ready to go.  Soak 1 rice paper sheet in water for 20 seconds, until pliable, and carefully place on damp tea towel.  Carefully blot rice paper with other damp towel to remove excess moisture.  Now you’re ready to place your veggies and tofu.  Mentally divide rice paper into 4 bands.  In the 2nd band, apply each ingredient in a thin strip leaving about 1 inch of space on each side.  Tuck in sides and delicately roll up, trying to keep the roll tight.  It’s a little tricky the first time, but it gets easier with practice!  Cut each roll in half and serve!

Sweet Cilantro Dipping Sauce (makes about 1 cup)

You’ll need:

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • agave nectar (to taste) – I used about 1 tablespoon
  • splash rice wine vinegar
  • juice and zest from 3 limes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • dash of toasted sesame oil – seriously only a couple of drops
  • sea salt to taste
  • olive oil

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse everything together while streaming in olive oil until you get the consistency you want.  Should be like a thick vinaigrette.  Season with salt.

Olivia COULD NOT believe I let her eat as many of these as she wanted!

Lovin the sauce.

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