Vegetarian spring rolls with tamarind sauce

Spring rolls are something you can easily order at a restaurant or pick up at your grocery store. But, let me tell you… the experience making them is so much better! Plus, it’s easy and fun, I promise. I made these while listening to music, hair in a big bun and my workout clothes on. Cooking is a workout, right?


The biggest lesson in making spring rolls is the prep. If you have everything prepared and make an assembly line of sorts, then making spring rolls is a snap. You can put just about anything you want inside your rolls. I made vegetarian ones with lots of fresh veggies and good flavor, like these scallions.


Mung bean noodles, which are also called “cellophane” noodles are such a great addition. They have a great texture, and hardly any flavor so they soak up the flavor from the sauce really well. And to cook them, you literally pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 20 minutes.


Then they look like this! While you’re waiting for that to happen, make your sauce and prepare your veggies.


I used Terry Walters’ recipe for Tamarind Dipping Sauce from her “Clean Food” book. It’s great if you haven’t read it! This sauce has tamarind concentrate, garlic, and lime juice. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and added fresh ginger.


I blended it in my Vitamix until it looked like this. Prepare this, then let it sit in your assembly line.


My assembly line looked like this: romaine lettuce leaves (not pictured), sauce, noodles, green onions, veggies and bean sprouts.


There is a balance to the rice paper. The water should be boiling when you pour it from the kettle into a wide-bottomed bowl, but then let it cool slightly. That way you won’t burn your fingers during this stage. The rice wraps need only a few seconds in the hot water until they are pliable.

Place the wrap on a plate or cutting board. Start with the lettuce, then sauce, noodles, veggies and sprouts. If adding meat or fish, add it on top of the sauce, after the lettuce.


The ingredients should be placed on the bottom third of your wrap. Once they’re all in, roll from the bottom, then fold in the sides. Continue rolling just like your favorite burrito.


They’ll all be different. That’s good! They are homemade. Your friends will be impressed.


Top with sauce, or dip the rolls into a bowl. Enjoy!


Recipe, inspired by Terry Walters’ “Clean Food“: 

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tamarid concentrate (I used seedless)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or smashed
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or sucanat
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (you can use peanut butter, too)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. (Can be made ahead)

For the rolls:

  • Mung bean threads/noodles
  • Lettuce (I used Romaine)
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts, or other sprouts
  • Rice or tapioca spring roll wrappers. I used rice.
  • Shallow, wide bowl filled with hot water
  1. Prepare noodles according to package. Set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare all vegetables.
  3. Prepare an assembly line: bowl of hot water, plate/cutting board for rice wrappers, lettuce, sauce, noodles, vegetables can be in any order you choose, sprouts.
  4. Working one at a time, dip the rice wrapper into the water for a few seconds until soft and pliable. Place on your cutting board.
  5. Load the wrapper, starting with the lettuce. Place veggies in the lower third of your wrap. Begin with lettuce, then sauce, then noodles and so on. Once the veggies are in, roll the bottom up, then fold in the outer edges before rolling again.
  6. Place completed rolls on a plate to the side.
  7. Refrigerate before serving if not serving immediately. Pack the leftovers for lunch and make your co-workers jealous!

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