A healthy appetizer that is vegan and gluten-free with a tasty peanut dipping sauce. Veggie Spring Rolls are nutritious AND delicious.Although Labor Day officially honors the American Labor Movement, it is unofficially considered the end of summer. Boo!! When I first entered the workforce, Labor Day was a welcome three-day weekend, filed with BBQs, family, friends and much time spent at the beach. When my kids were younger, Labor Day was the signal to get ready for the beginning of a new school year. This year, Labor Day Weekend will usher in a new era for our family, as both my kids venture out into their own apartments in Boston. I can’t imagine it means that I’ll spend any less time in the kitchen though!!
Veggie Spring Rolls: Healthy Finger Food.I thought I would share this recipe for Veggie Spring Rolls with you this week because they are a perfect finger food to serve at your Labor Day gathering this weekend….or, if you’ve been invited out, your hostess will really appreciate it if you bring a tray of these! One of the beauties of spring rolls is that you can alter the filling to suit your taste, or your supplies! Almost any filling will do…..you can choose any veggies you like. My goal is always to go for colorful and crunchy…..though I have been known to decide what goes inside based on what’s in my fridge!
Delicious Homemade Peanut Dipping Sauce.The secret to these delicious rolls is all in the sauce. Yup! The flavor (and the fun) is in the dip…..which is why I recommend cutting the rolls in half so you can start again with the dipping. Alternately, place a spoon in the sauce bowl, so it can be drizzled over the rolls once the first bite is taken! This sauce is so tasty you’ll want to make a double batch. Store the extra in the fridge to use as salad dressing, dipping sauce for chicken satay, or as a reason to make more veggie rolls. I’ll tell you straight up, it takes a bit of practice to get the rolls smooth….but those practice rolls will be perfectly edible and tasty too! Just fare warning—-make a few for yourself before sharing with friends. Or, just dump the contents of the “practice” rolls into a bowl, toss with the dipping sauce as a dressing, call it a salad and call it a day!! Once you get the hang of it, these take no time to make, but they sure do look impressive!! However you choose to celebrate Labor Day, I wish you a peaceful time spent with family and friends and filled with delicious and nutritious food!
- ¼ head red cabbage
- 1 large carrot
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 cucumber*
- 2 scallions
- 1 Avocado
- Fresh cilantro
- Spring Roll Rice Wrappers**
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Tamari
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- ½ cup organic peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Make dressing: place all ingredients in bowl of food processor or blender and process until smooth. An immersion blender is handy for this type of job! This dressing will stay good in the fridge in a glass jar with tight fitting lid for a week…..so consider making a double batch to have on hand.
- Prepare veggies: cut scallion greens into long strips, use julienne peeler on carrots and thinly slice red peppers and cabbage. Peel and seed cucumbers, and cut into strips lengthwise. Halve and peel avocado and thinly slice. Wash and de-stem the cilantro. You can prep the veggies in advance and store in air tight container in the fridge until ready to wrap.
- Prepare a shallow dish with warm water. Rice papers need to be softened before rolling them. Dip each rice paper round into the water for about 10 seconds, or until softened and translucent. Remove and place on dry surface to fill and roll. The package will have directions that are easy to follow.
- Place filling into the lower edge of rice paper round and begin to roll, while tightening over filling. Fold the sides in and then continue to roll (like a burrito). Cut in half, if desired. Set each roll onto plate, seam side down, as you’re finished rolling, being careful not to overlap as they will stick to each other. Continue to roll until desired number of spring rolls are finished (or until you run out of filling ingredients).
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. OK to do this several hours in advance.
- Fill small bowl with peanut dipping sauce, sprinkling in crushed peanuts and red pepper flakes. Serve rolls with sauce and enjoy!!
* I used fennel in these photos rather than cucumber. Other veggie suggestions: fresh parsley, lettuce, arugula, greens, yellow or orange bell peppers, bean sprouts, pea shoots, celery, zucchini or yellow summer squash(use the julienne peeler), lightly steamed green beans, or whatever you like!
** Look for Rice Wrappers that are made with actual rice rather than tapioca starch.
**Optional Garnish: crushed peanuts, additional red pepper flakes
Serving Size2 rolls
Amount Per Serving Calories 155Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 1mgSodium 239mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 5g
If you’re looking for more healthy appetizer recipes, you should try:
Other great ideas to take to a party?