Spring has sprung, and I am SO looking forward to the lighter food and fresh produce that warmer weather brings. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I wanted to make something that tasted like summer. I had just finished a shopping spree at Nature’s Fare Market (a health-foodie’s dream), and with a package of tofu and a pile of spring roll papers (why I bought so many is beyond me), I set off to create a healthy, vegetarian protein-packed delicious version of a spring roll.
Now, my husband isn’t exactly the tofu-eating type, but I’m on a mission to make every effort to eat more plants and less animal protein. I made a batch of these and silently winced as he took his first bite in anticipation of his reaction. Sweet success, he devoured them and declared them to be the best spring rolls he has ever had.
The marinade for the tofu (which transforms into a dipping sauce) really makes the dish, that stuff is gold! I’d almost be tempted to double it… up to you of course! If you plan on cutting these beauties, make sure you use a sharp knife like this one (pictured above). I thought I had good knives until this one landed in my knife drawer – it is INCREDIBLE! A couple of good sharp knives are one of the best kitchen investments you will ever make.
Makes about 20 spring rolls
- 2-350g. packages extra firm tofu
- 1/4 c. black rice vinegar*
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3″ piece of ginger, peeled & cut into thin pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
*you can substitute 1/2 white rice vinegar and 1/2 balsamic vinegar if needed
- Cut the tofu into 3″ x 1/2″ slices (doesn’t have to be exact) and place in a medium shallow dish.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, and over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer for 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the tofu, gently combine to coat all of the tofu, and let the tofu marinade for one hour.
- 12 spring roll rice wrappers
- 250 g. rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 bunch of cilantro, larger stems removed
- 1 c. grated carrot
- 1/2 long english cucumber sliced into thin pieces length-wise
- 3 green onions, sliced into long thin pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- 1/2 c. roughly chopped peanuts
- Sriracha and Hoisin Sauce for serving (optional)
- Peanut Dipping Sauce for serving (recipe below)
- 1 Tbsp. each sesame oil and vegetable oil (for frying the tofu)
To assemble the spring rolls:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the rice vermicelli according to the instructions on the package and immediately drain into a fine sieve and rinse with cold water. Place the cooked vermicelli into a small bowl and set aside.
- Prepare a shallow dish that will accommodate the rice wrappers with warm water.
- Prepare the other toppings for the spring rolls and set aside.
- Empty the marinade from the tofu into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until it is slightly reduced (about 2 minutes) and set aside in a small serving dish. You can keep the ginger in for ginger fans (I did).
- In a large frying pan (preferably a grill one with the ridges), heat the sesame and vegetable oils on medium heat. Cook the tofu (in batches depending on the size of your frying pan) until the tofu is golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes a side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Repeat until all of the tofu is cooked.
- To assemble the spring rolls, prepare your rice wrapper as per the instructions and layer in the middle of each paper a slice of avocado, vermicelli rice noodles, carrot, cucumber, green onion, tofu and a sprinkle of peanuts. Roll up in a burrito style, tucking the ends in half way through the roll, and repeat.
- Serve with the peanut sauce, sriracha (if desired) and the reduced marinade as condiments.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 c. creamy natural peanut butter
- 1/2 c. warm water
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together or place in a blender or mini-food processor and blend until smooth.
- Set aside.