Sorry for the lack of posts last week. If you follow me on facebook, you know last week was my first week at my new job! I’m now working full time at an in house photography studio for a major U.S retailer. My first week went really well and I am beyond ecstatic to have this incredible job in my field. I keep wondering what’s the catch. Really? You’re going to pay me money to do what I love? Really?! So I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity. Life is wonderful right now. The only problem with working full time is having less time to cook. I found myself too tired at the end of the day to be creative in the kitchen and most nights we ended up doing very basic meals such as casseroles and grilled chicken. Not exactly blog worthy. Thankfully by Friday I adjusted to my new hours and when I got home I couldn’t wait to create a new recipe for you!
It seems most parts of the country have been experiencing hot weather, Texas style. AKA 100 degrees in the shade with air so thick you could almost drink it. I don’t know about you, but when it gets this hot the last thing I want to eat is a warm and heavy meal. On days like this in Ottawa, mum and I would often drive to the cottage, stopping at the Carp farmer’s market on the way. We would almost always pick up a few fresh Thai spring rolls there to enjoy for lunch at the lake. With fond memories in mind, I decided to try making my own. Typically the filling includes grilled chicken, but I opted for tempeh to make them vegan friendly.
I was surprised at how easy the process was. The only difficulty I had was with the rice paper. After it is soaked, it’s quite delicate so the first one ripped during the rolling process. I got the hang of it by the second try and before no time I had eight beautiful spring rolls for dinner. This meal really takes advantage fresh summer produce and is very affordable to make. Most restaurants charge 3-5 dollars a spring roll where as making them at home will cost you about $5 for eight! You can also make them ahead of time and have lunch or dinner ready in a jiffy!
What’s your favorite hot weather meal? I’d love to know since the mercury will only continue to rise in the next few weeks! Happy first week of Summer!
Thai Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Serves 4 (Yield 8 spring rolls)
- 1 8oz. package tempeh, sliced into 8 long strips
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil, divided
- 1 drop chili oil (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. sriracha
- 2 oz. vermicelli rice noodles
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced into long thin strips
- 1 cup romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 large carrot (or 4 baby carrots), sliced into long thin strips
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into long thin strips
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- 8 rice papers
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
- 2 tbsp. coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 drop of chili oil
- In a bowl, combine minced garlic, one tablespoon of sesame oil, chili oil and sriracha. Stir to combine. Coat the tempeh strips with the sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In the meantime wash and slice the vegetables and drizzle with rice vinegar.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add vermicelli noodles. Remove from heat and soak for 8 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- When the tempeh is finished marinating, heat remaining tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh strips and cook for 3 minutes without moving. Turn and cook the other side for another 3 minutes without disturbing. Remove from heat.
- Fill a shallow bowl with lukewarm water. Place one rice paper in the bowl and soak for 30 – 60 seconds. Carefully transfer the rice paper to a cutting board or large plate. Top the rice paper with a few pieces of lettuce and basil.
- Add a few strips of carrots (I used purple heirloom carrots, but any carrot will work fine). Top with a few strips of cucumber.
- Add a few strips of red bell pepper. Top the vegetables with one piece of cooked tempeh.
- Top the tempeh with some cooked vermicelli rice noodles. Carefully lift the sides of the rice paper and fold it over the ends. Rice paper is very delicate and may stick to your plate. I found moving slowly helped the rolling process.
- Lift the top of the rice paper and roll it over the filling, tucking in the sides as you go. Roll as tightly as possible without ripping the paper. It may take a few tries but you should get the hang of it after the second one.
- Repeat steps four through eight until you have eight spring rolls. Refrigerate until cold.
- In a small bowl combine peanut butter, coconut milk, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili oil and chili flakes. Whisk until smooth and fully combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve spring rolls cold with spicy peanut sauce.
If you like this recipe, you may also like:
- Sesame Ginger Soba Noodles
- Spring Rolls with Carrot Ginger Miso Sauce by Kelsey and Shaun from Happyolks
- Sweet Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Spring Rolls by Erin from Naturally Ella
- Simple Fresh Spring Rolls by Sonja and Alex from A Couple Cooks
- BLT Spring Rolls by Todd and Diane from White on Rice Couple