This take on spring rolls (a.k.a. salad rolls) highlights the "spring" in their name with fresh asparagus, snap peas, radishes, and green garlic, as well as sprouts and tender lettuces. Add slices of baked tofu, shredded roast chicken, or poached shrimp if you want to tuck in some protein and heft, or leave them in their all-veggie state.
The success of these rolls depends quite a bit on taking the time to cut everything fairly thinly. Nothing magical—just a sharp knife and a steady hand will do the trick!
- 4 stalks asparagus
- 2 handfuls snap peas
- 1 bunch radishes
- 2 slim carrots
- 2 stalks green garlic (or 3 green onions)
- 1 bunch mint
- 4 ounces pea sprouts (or what sprouts you like!)
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- Optional: 8 ounces baked tofu (or 1 cup shredded chicken or 1/2 pound poached shrimp cut in half lengthwise)
- 8 large rice paper wrappers
- 4 tablespoons dipping sauce (choices below)
As you prepare all of the ingredients, set them aside on a large cutting board or another clean work surface.
- Trim off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus by snapping or peeling the ends. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into thin slices.
- Cut the snap peas on the diagonal, too.
- Trim the radishes, cut them into thin slices, then cut those slices into matchsticks.
- Peel and trim the carrots. Cut them lengthwise into thin slices, then cut those slices into matchsticks.
- Trim the green garlic or green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths, and cut those lengths into slivers.
- Remove the mint leaves from their stems.
- Set out the sprouts and arugula, and the tofu, chicken, or shrimp, if using.
- Fill a rimmed plate or large bowl with a bit of water. Working one at a time, soak a rice paper wrapper until it's pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lift it out of the water, let excess water drip off, and lay flat on a work surface. Arrange 1/8 of each of the ingredients down the center of the wrapper in as much of a log shape as possible.
- Wrap and fold like a burrito: lift one edge over the long edge of the ingredients, tucking the wrapper along the ingredients as much as possible; fold in the side edges; roll the whole thing into a long cylinder.
- Set aside and repeat with the remaining wrappers and ingredients.
Cover and chill, if you must, but these are best served right away. Serve with the dipping sauce of choice—two favorite options are below, but feel free to be creative.
Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 minced green onions, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens. Add 1 cup water, 3/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1/4 cup cider vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let sit until cooled to room temperature.
Nuoc Cham: In a medium bowl combine 1 minced chile, 1 clove minced garlic, 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup fish sauce, and 2/3 cup warm water.
Add more chile, lime juice, or fish sauce to taste. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.