Spring rolls are kind of perfect. You can make just a few or a bunch, you can throw them together last-minute, and you can fill them with anything you have on hand. Oh, and they are delicious. Here's how I made them for a quick weekend lunch.
Spring roll wrappers
4 ounces thin round rice noodles (I use Dynasty Maifun rice sticks, which are available at my regular grocery store)
1 block extra firm tofu
1 bell pepper
Canola cooking spray
Lettuce leaves, bean sprouts, and any other vegetables, if desired
Spring roll dipping sauce (recipe follows, or use any sauce you prefer)
Preheat oven to 375°. Drain tofu, and place block on a cutting board. Cover with a paper towel, then rest another cutting board on top. Place something slightly heavy, like saucepan, on top. After about 5 minutes, remove the weight and pat the tofu dry. Slice the tofu into thin slices about an inch wide. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Place the tofu slices on the pan, and spray the tops lightly with the cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bottom is golden but not crunchy, then flip each piece and bake for 15 more minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the rice sticks according to package directions. Slice the bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and avocado into thin strips.
Spring roll dipping sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter (any kind will do; I used Jif creamy, but I also like it with natural crunchy peanut butter)
1/2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust to taste. Garnish with peanuts if desired.
recipes and text by Kathleen, photos by Tamsen