Summer rolls are the perfect alternative to your usual lunchtime salad. They’re filled with colorful, crisp vegetables and served with a rich, creamy sauce. Plus, you’ll get a full assortment of nutrients by loading up on the full rainbow of produce we’ve added to these rolls! Use this recipe freely, rotating seasonal vegetables into the rolls for a vegan-friendly lunch or snack staple year-round.
Tahini knows best
Tahini is the star of the creamy dipping sauce served with these spring rolls. Tahini is made by grinding up whole sesame seeds, similar to the process of making any nut butter. It is known for its heart-healthy benefits, much like the Mediterranean staple, olive oil. We love serving fresh vegetables with a healthy dose of fat like you’ll get from tahini. Many nutrients (specifically A, D, E, and K) are known as “fat-soluble,” meaning they absorb fully only when consumed with fat. Tahini contains a high dose of polyunsaturated fats, plus you’ll get amino-acid rich protein from the sesame seeds.
Eat your water
All of the vegetables in these summer rolls are high in water content making them great for a boost in hydration during warmer months and into fall. We especially love cucumbers for this reason. We recommend keeping the peel on when you use cucumbers since this is where the majority of nutrition lies. The skin of cucumbers is rich in antioxidants, which helps prevent oxidative damage in the body. Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals and can lead to a slew of chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
Carrots are another crunchy star of these spring rolls. Carrots are a slightly sweet, carbohydrate-rich vegetable that won’t mess with your blood sugar. Thanks to their dense nutrient profile and fiber content, your body digests carrots slower than other, simple sources of carbohydrates. Plus, when you pair them with healthy fats like avocado and tahini, you slow the digestion even further, so you’ll keep blood sugar stable, stay fuller longer, plus boost the body’s ability to actually absorb the beneficial micronutrients.
Cabbage rounds out the color assortment of these vegan spring rolls. It belongs to the Brassica family, along with cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. It’s loaded with nutrients like vitamins K and C, plus folate, calcium, and potassium (just to name a few). The vitamin C content is especially high in cabbage. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, helping to boost immunity and helps reduce inflammation in the body.
8-10 rice spring roll wrappers
4-5 butter lettuce leaves, halved
2-3 large carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 purple cabbage, thinly sliced
Optional: a handful of cilantro
1/2 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lime juice
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon tamari
Sprinkle of cayenne
Optional: 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
Step 1: Add all sauce ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Note: You may need to add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time if you’re working with thick tahini. Continue to add hot water until your sauce will easily blend into a creamy, smooth mixture. Pour sauce into a small container and cover until ready to serve.
Step 2: Cut all vegetables according to the ingredient list. Thin slices and small cuts will make for easier-to-assemble summer rolls.
Step 3: Using the directions on your rice wrappers, prepare summer rolls. Typically, wrappers need to be soaked in hot water for 10-30 seconds before they are easy to work with. Once soaked, the wrapper becomes delicate, so work with soft hands. After soaking your wrapper, lay it out flat on a cutting board. Gently layer a few slices of each vegetable in the center of your wrapper. Then, fold in the sides, fold up the bottom, and roll like a burrito until veggies are secured in the wrapper.
Step 4: You can keep your summer rolls whole, or cut in half for small portions and to expose the rainbow of vegetables inside). Serve alongside your sauce for a delicious lunch or healthy appetizer!
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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