The typical Vietnamese Spring rolls usually consist of pork, shrimp, rice noodles, and some lettuce rolled up in rice paper. When I provided detox meals for local clients, I changed up the recipe quite a bit.
They were surprised at how delicious the rolls tasted.
So how do you make spring rolls healthier and easier to digest, as opposed to the original ones?
Pack as much raw vegetables as possible, add in avocado, and make your own sauce! (Don’t forget the avocado-it’s crucial!)
You can even use brown rice papers, which are now available at Whole Foods or Amazon.
How are these spring rolls healthier?
When you eat more fruits and vegetables that are in their most natural state, you take advantage of all the rich enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
All these nutrients are essential for your liver to process and eliminate toxins.
The benefits of eating raw food go beyond concepts like detoxifying or alkalizing the body. Whether you’re a committed vegetarian or a meat lover, adding more raw foods to your diet will give you the following benefits:
- Better digestion
- Weight loss
- More nutrients available (heat above 118F kills vital enzymes and nutrients)
- More energy
- Detoxification (eliminate toxins)
- Balance body pH (alkaline body is free from cancer, etc…)
- Overall vibrancy!
Remember, you don’t have to be a raw foodist to enjoy the benefits. It’s a matter of simply adding more raw foods in each meal. Every raw snack, side dish, or meal you add to your day will help you reach your health goals.
And these spring rolls are a perfect way to do that.
The beauty of spring rolls is that you can include just about any ingredient.
Add in your favorite vegetables and herbs, preferably in season, such as:
- Sprouts (very nutrient-dense!)
- Dill (pairs well with fish)
Fruits will work too, like:
- Avocado (a perfect dose of healthy fats)
Optional plant protein:
- organic tempeh (fermented tofu)
- hemp seeds
- sweet potatoes
If you must add meat protein, you can add:
- salmon or tuna
- baked chicken (non marinated, since you’ll be dipping them in a sauce)
If you notice in the pictures, the wrappers are brown. I used the first-ever brown rice wrappers, which is currently only found here.
Brown rice papers are optional.
How to roll these babies up!
- Have a large bowl of warm water ready. Soften the rice papers by dipping it in once, rotate and dip it in again. Don’t over soak these or you’re going to end up with holes later. Just dip it in for half a second and take it out. They will begin to soften up, promise.
- Lay rice papers on a large flat plate, or wooden cutting board. You only need one sheet per roll. In the case that the roll breaks, you can always layer another one on top of it.
- Fold the bottom sheet up about 2 inches. (You can do this before or after putting vegetables…it’s a matter of preference)
- Lay the vegetables in the bottom half. I would suggest putting lettuce or a larger vegetable first. Always leave about 1 inch on both sides.
- Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the rice paper. Tip: Push down as you roll away from you. Pack the ingredients tight as you roll.
- Great job, you’ve made your first roll. And it probably looks a little funny! 🙂 Who cares, all those delicious and fresh ingredients are all going to end up in your tummy anyway. Now go make your dipping sauce.
NOTE: Spring rolls are best you eat them right away. I usually prepare all my vegetables ahead of time and store them in tupperware.
Spring rolls can also be made a day ahead. Cover them with a slightly damp paper towel, wrap well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. If they are a little dry, wipe them gently with a damp cloth.
The secret to making a delicious spring roll isn’t in the technique. It’s the sauce. And interestingly enough, everyone has a different version of their own.
Bottled dipping sauces are readily available in Asian supermarkets but that would just defeat the purpose of a healthy spring roll. There’s no need to dip your fresh ingredients in a bowl of preservatives and extra sodium. Just make your own with the recipes below.
TIP: To “healthify” the dipping sauce, don’t use Hoisin sauce, which typically contains preservatives and excess sodium. If you decide to go with the peanut butter sauce, use an organic peanut butter (not JIFFY!)
Spicy Sauce #1
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter (optional: almond butter)
- 1 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup low-sodium tamari (no preservative, gluten free soy sauce)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional: 4 drops stevia or 1/4 cup maple syrup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoons hot chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional: 1 tablespoons rice vinegar)
- 1/2 cup water (optional: to thin out)
Spicy Sauce #2
Juice of 1 small orange (about 1/2 cup)
¼ cup tahini
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp organic rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
In a food processor, blend together the ingredients. You can even whisk it together by hand.
Tell me: What ingredients do you use in your spring rolls? What’s your favorite dipping sauce?