Healthy Low-Calorie Spring Rolls
I love taking spring rolls to potlucks or serving them at gallery receptions. They are as healthy as the ingredients you roll up inside the rice paper wrappers. They require no cooking (unless you opt for vegetarian rolls with steamed spinach — or my favorite — shredded chicken breast marinated in a soy-sesame-ginger dressing.) Anyway, I for this batch, used pre-cooked crab so they were super easy to make.
They’re also unusual at potlucks, so likely to be a big hit. And if there are any leftovers, they’re great for lunch the next day if you wrap them tightly so they don’t dry out.
Get all of your ingredients ready before you start rolling these. Once you get the hang of rolling them tightly, assembly goes quickly. There are different ways to roll spring rolls: two open ends, one open end (as in the photo at top) and closed ends (as in a burrito.) See the notes at the bottom of this post for some links that show how to roll spring rolls.
HEALTHY SPRING ROLLS
- Rice Paper Wrappers
- Cucumber, peeled and cut into long pieces (I cut the cuke in half crosswise, then seed it, then slice about 1/8 inch thick slices
- Cooked Crab, Shrimp or Chicken Breast (for chicken breast instructions, see below this recipe)
- Leaf Lettuce, washed and spun dry in salad spinner
- Fresh Cilantro
- Fresh Basil
- Green Onions (I use just the green part in the rolls, reserving the white ends for my dipping sauce)
- Thin Rice Noodles, cooked according to directions, then marinated for about 10 minutes in a soy-mirin dressing, and drained til dry. Cut the noodles into small pieces
- Prepare all of your spring roll fillings ahead of time and set on kitchen counter on plates
- Fill a large flat container with warm water. This is used to soften your rice paper wrappers, so the container needs to be large enough to accomodate the size wrappers you have. I used 12 inch diameter wrappers, and a 12″ stainless frying pan for my water
- Dip each wrapper in the warm water for just a couple of seconds, hold over the water to drain excess water off of the wrapper, then lay it on the counter. (I do two wrappers at a time)
- Assemble the fillings in the middle of the top half of the wrapper. I put down the meat and cilantro first because whatever is on the bottom of your pile of filling is what will show on the outside of the wrapper and I think that makes it look pretty.
- Put down one piece of crab or a couple of shrimp, a green onion, a couple sprigs of cilantro, some basil leaves, a slice of cucumber, a dab of rice noodles then a large lettuce leaf, torn in smaller pieces.
- Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the top half, then work from one side and tuck/roll tightly until you have a nice tight roll. The lettuce and green onion can stick out of the top of the roll.
- Repeat until you have rolled all your wrappers.
- If you have trouble with the wrappers not rolling you may not be waiting long enough for the wrapper to soften before trying to roll it.
- If you have trouble with the wrappers tearing when you roll them, you may be putting too much water, or waiting too long and they get too soft, thus tearing. Experiment until it comes easily, because if you do this process enough it’s something you can do in your sleep.
- Cover the spring rolls with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Serve soon after you make them.
- Make the dipping sauce. enjoy!
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 T coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 T sugar (or to taste – some like it sweeter)
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
Combine all ingredients and let sit for a few minutes. Serve in small bowls or tiny plates.
NOTES AND LINKS
- This is the best photo tutorial I’ve found for rolling burrito-style, closed-end spring rolls
- Lovely collection of spring roll recipe ideas … you really can put just about any filling in a spring roll. I’m intrigued by the bacon and grilled asparagus spring rolls. That’s next on my list!
- Diane Cu’s entertaining post on how her food blogging made her gain weight and spring rolls helped her slim down
- Diane’s recipe for pork and shrimp spring rolls with photos showing how to roll her two-open-end rolls