A refreshing appetizer or party food, this even healthier version of a Vietnamese favorite uses quinoa to add whole grain goodness. So it’s gluten-free, and can be served to vegans, too.
Traditional Vietnamese spring roll wrappers (made from rice flour) might only be found at international markets, or online at Amazon, but can be a worthwhile investment, especially for those with gluten intolerance.
SPRING ROLL INGREDIENTS
- 3/4 pkg. spring roll wrappers (about 24)
- 1 c. quinoa, red or other *
- 2 c. boiling water (less if quinoa is pre-soaked)
- 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil
- 1 TBS. fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp. dry)
- 1 TBS. chopped garlic
- 2 TBS. soy sauce
- 1/2 TBS. rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 1 c. roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
- 2-3 carrots
- Butter lettuce, Napa cabbage, or other favorite (bean sprouts, shrimp, etc.)
- 1/2 bunch of favorite herbs (any or all of the following: cilantro, fresh mint, basil)
SPICY PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS*
*For Variations, see “Alternative Peanut Sauce”, bottom of page
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 1/4 c. sesame or peanut oil
- 1/4 c. peanut butter
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. pepper flakes (or hot pepper oil or Tabasco, to taste)
- Optional: 1/4 c. chives, chopped (or green onion)
- Optional: 1/4 c. red pepper, finely chopped
1. Prep quinoa a day ahead if possible, as it’s best for it to soak, to remove the bitter (and slightly toxic) saponins. As easy method is to soak it overnight (or for several hours) in a bowl with plenty of water. It will triple in size, so use a big enough container. Strain and rinse the quinoa. If soaked, cook it using less water, and for a shorter length of time.
2. Earlier in the day, cook quinoa. To a 2 qt. pot, add: > 1 c. soaked red quinoa (or other) > 1 c. boiling water
3. If the quinoa hasn’t been soaked, rinse it under cold water for a minute or two, then cook it in a 2-quart pot, adding: > 1 c. rinsed red quinoa (or other) > 2 c. boiling water
4. Cook the quinoa about 15 minutes (longer if not pre-soaked), until light and fluffy. Set aside to cool.
5. Prep veggies to use in assembling spring rolls. Peel carrots, “shaving” large, thin strips off with a potato peeler. Use: > 2-3 carrots
6. Rinse and drain cilantro and other herbs: > 2 c. or so total of favorite herbs (cilantro, mint, and/or basil)
7. Slice lettuce into strips: > 1 head Butter lettuce (or Napa cabbage, or other favorite)
8. Season quinoa by mixing into it, the following ingredients: > 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil > 1 TBS. fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp. dry) > 1 TBS. chopped garlic > 2 TBS. soy sauce > 1/2 TBS. rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
9. To assemble the spring rolls, soak each wrapper in warm water for about 30 seconds, until pliable. In the lower center of each wrapper, add the following: > a few pieces of herbs > a few strips of the thinly sliced carrot > a few strips of lettuce (or cabbage) > a sprinkling of chopped peanuts > about 1/3 c. quinoa mixture
10. Wrap up as if wrapping a burrito. Repeat, to make 24 or so rolls. Cut the spring rolls in half diagonally, if desired. Serve with Peanut Sauce (or even without!).
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1. Warm the following to steep the garlic some. Microwave 1-2 minutes in a small bowl, or heat in small pan: > 1/4 c. honey > 1/4 c. white vinegar > 1/4 c. peanut or sesame oil > 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2. Whisk in until smooth: > 1/4 c. peanut butter > 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or hot pepper oil or Tabasco, to taste)
3. If desired, stir in the following, to add color: > 1/4 c. chives, chopped (or green onion) > 1/4 c. red pepper, finely chopped
ALTERNATIVE PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 1/2 c. coconut cream
- 1/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric (for health- it doesn’t add much flavor)
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1/2 tsp. curry (or other spices- ginger, cumin powder, etc.)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Alternative Peanut Sauce- Preparation
1. Heat in small pan until sugar’s dissolved: > 1/4 c. sugar > 1/4 c. white vinegar
2. Add to the sugar syrup in pan, stirring in until smooth: > 1/4 c. coconut cream > 1/4 tsp. turmeric > 1/4 tsp. cayenne > 1/2 tsp. curry > 1/4 tsp. salt
3. Last, blend in: > 1/4 c. peanut butter
4. Ready to serve- makes a thicker sauce, which is easier to dip into, without drips!
* For reference, 1 c. quinoa will multiply in size, yielding 5 c. or so after cooking
Oh, I totally forgot about rice wrappers and peanut sauce! Thanks for reminding me! Yum-yum, good stuff!
“Sunset & Flowers”- you are so welcome! I was surprised at how easy they were to make. Well, lots easier than deep-frying ’em like old-fashioned egg rolls, that’s for sure 😀