Cinde’s Vegetarian Spring Rolls

“Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices” came out in October 2010, and my recipe for baked Lentil cheeseburgers made the cut! Old news, I know, but over the holidays I had time to test out some of the other recipes from the cookbook, including a delicious pumpkin-chile soup. Even though I love (love!) all of the recipes I tried, I have to say that my favorite from the cookbook are Cinde’s  Vegetarian Spring rolls with Thai-style peanut sauce. I had the opportunity to meet Cinde and taste her delicious spring rolls at the the NYC launch party for the book. Inspired, I decided to turn this appetizer into a dinner for two — David and I literally chowed down on 20 of them!

Ingredients

Thai-style peanut sauce
1/2 cup warm water (I used a lot less, about 1/4 cup)
11/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
11/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste (spicy or sweet, as preferred)
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped (I just used minced garlic)

Spring Rolls
11/4 cups dry rice vermicelli (thin rice noodles), or enough to yield 1 cup cooked
11/4 cups shredded carrot
11/4 cups shredded cabbage
2 scallions, thinly sliced
15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup peanuts, crushed (I really like peanuts, so I used about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
11/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (I used a bit more)
30 (8-inch) round spring roll wrappers (made from rice or tapioca)

Directions

1. To make the sauce, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, whisking until smooth and well blended. Set aside and serve at room temperature.
2. To make the rolls, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice noodles. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and opaque. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds; drain again. Cut into 1-inch lengths and transfer to a large bowl.
3. To make the filling, add all of the remaining spring roll ingredients except the wrappers to the noodles and mix well.
4. Prepare a bowl of warm water large enough to dip the rice papers. Working with one at a time, dip the rice paper in the warm water until it begins to soften. 8 to 10 seconds. Transfer to a flat work surface (I used a large baking sheet covered in wax paper). Working quickly, put about 1/4 cup filling on each wrapper. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling and then fold each side toward the center. Roll from the bottom to the top of each roll, as tightly as you can without ripping the wrapper. (Since they are so delicate and break easily, I used two wrappers for each spring roll, so after I roll the filling in one wrapper, I wrap it again with a second wrapper). Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Serve at room temperature with the peanut dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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