My favorite form of research is scouting new food products on grocery shelves. Spring rolls and rice paper aren’t new to the market by any means, but to me it is novel. Intriguing. Rice paper is like a thin, brittle, and fragile tortilla. However when placed in water it becomes flexible, transparent, and virtually tasteless. Why are people drawn to it then?
If you do a quick Google search on rainbow spring rolls, you will find a collection of multi-colored fruits, and vegetables rolled in a delicate clear wrapping. They’re commonly paired with a peanut lime sauce. Come on, that’s even pretty in imagination.
That is what rice paper is most famous for. Rightfully so- it’s beautiful looking and tasting. However, there is so much more that is overlooked. GF, Vegan, and healthy replacements for doughs or wraps are big ones. It is also great for vegetarian meals, and desserts.
Below is a crash course that may change your week, your life, and realistically your grocery list.
- Rolling and Storing Technique
- Egg Roll Alternative
- Wrap it Up
- DIY Sushi
- Make it Sweet
- Unique Uses
Rolling and Storing Technique:
No matter what is inside the rice paper, it’s always rolled the same way as an eggroll. Fold the bottom of the rice paper up ⅓ of the way, fold the two sides inwards, and then continue to roll up towards the top. Dip your finger in water and run it across the seam to seal.
These rolls are best eaten immediately after preparing them. Too much time in the fridge can cause the rice paper to become chewy, so it’s best to prep all your fillings and assemble the roll directly prior to eating.
Egg Roll Alternative:
Rice paper rolls are a great gluten free alternative to egg roll wrappers. Whether you are gluten intolerant, or trying to watch your weight, rice paper is your new best friend. You don’t necessarily need to cook the rice paper after it’s soaked, but in this case you can toast your roll in a frying pan with oil to get the crispy crunch of an eggroll.
Wrap it up:
Repurpose yesterday’s dinner into today’s lunch. Think of these as mini wraps. Spread your favorites on the rice paper surface. Fresh lettuce, quinoa or rice, raw or roasted veggies, protein, tofu, roasted chickpeas, anything else you find and roll it on up.
Elevate your basic spring roll by adding in some fresh herbs when filling. Basil, cilantro, even mint can bring it from delightful to delicious.
Wrap it up Part II:
Don’t forget those sauces. In the case of rice paper it’s better to have a dipping sauce on the side rather than drizzling one inside to avoid sogginess.
Annual subscribers to Prep and Rally get access to hundreds of recipes in addition to the meal plans! IF you are a subscriber, here are easy sauce shortcuts. Cilantro sauce, Satay Sauce, Tahini maple sauce, sriracha lime mayo, and avocado dip These are perfect pairings for spring rolls and can all be found on prepandrally.com!
No need to have nori on hand. You can make the most beautiful looking at-home sushi spring roll (no small feat).
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds in a horizontal line toward the top of your rice paper. Arrange sliced avocado on top. Then pile your favorite sushi fillers in the space underneath the avocado. Press a layer of rice on top of that (you can skip this if you don’t have any prepared), and roll it from the bottom up. Your avocado slices will be displayed clearly on the top of the roll, and you’ll be questioning yourself on how you’re so professional.
Cut into slices, or dunk it into spicy mayo in log form, and take a big bite!
Make it Sweet:
Apple turnovers have never been easier. Combine sliced apples, brown sugar (or coconut sugar), and cinnamon in a bowl. Use this as the filling for the rice paper and choose your baking preference: baked in a well greased pan in the oven, fry, or deep fry. You’ve now got a homemade, modified and healthier version of an apple turnover than you can find in any bakery.
You can also stay simple and colorful by using any fruit as fillings. Mango, kiwi, strawberry, and dragon fruit are all delicious paired with a yogurt based dip.
Where us Prep and Rally’ers thrive.
Presentation Cups: Use this method to bake rice paper sheets into fancy cup shapes and fill them with whatever you like.
Grease cupcake tins and press rice paper into each slot. Bake for about 15 minutes until hardened. Fill them with scrambled eggs and cheese, guacamole and chips, chili, pasta, poke bowl, the possibilities are endless! Your presentation game goes way up with this one simple addition.
GF Franks in Blanks: This is a great alternative to pastry dough. Brush your favorite mustard on top of the rice paper and then add your pre-cooked hot dog. Roll it up, brush the top with honey mustard if desired and bake in the oven. Slice into nice sized chunks.
You can load these up even more if you’d like! Think: pickles, hashed potatoes, chili, chips, dipped in BBQ sauce!
Are you a spring rolls pro yet?