There’s a great Pan-Asian place just off-campus where I love grabbing a quick lunch during the workweek. They make the best fresh basil rolls around, and they’re just over 2 bucks. That’s not half bad for a light lunch. I’d never attempted to make my own fresh rolls, believing them to be firmly in the realm of “foods that just aren’t worth it.”
To my surprise, spring rolls are easy to assemble, and you can fill them with practically anything. Try adding any type of fresh greens or herbs, shredded vegetables, apples, slaws, leftover meats, etc. You can buy the spring roll skins at both Kroger and Natural Grocer here in Denton, they usually cost between $2-4 per package, and they keep for a very long time.
My daughter prefers a simple roll: red pepper, greens, and sometimes baked tofu. If I’m being honest, the only thing that really matters is the red pepper and making sure there’s plenty of peanut sauce for dipping. These rolls don’t last long, and you MUST wrap them up airtight to store them in the fridge, otherwise the skins dry out. I wrap them in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and they go great in a kid’s packed lunch.
Fresh Rolls with Baked Tofu and Micro-greens
1 (16-oz) block extra firm tofu
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS minced fresh ginger or ginger juice
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS lime juice
2-3 drops liquid smoke (optional)
1 package Spring Roll Skin/Wrapper
1 bunch fresh microgreens
2 red peppers, sliced
½ cup unsweetened (or natural) peanut butter
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS fresh minced ginger or ginger juice
zest and juice of 1 lime
1-2 TBS honey to taste
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
½ to ¾ cup warm water
For Baked Tofu
- Cut tofu into half-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on top of a paper towel covered cutting board. Put more paper towels on top and another cutting board. Place something heavy on top to weigh it down. This helps get rid of some of the moisture in the tofu so it cooks quicker.
- Whisk the remaining ingredients together. Add pressed tofu to a shallow dish and cover with marinade. Let sit for 20 minutes to 48 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Arrange marinated tofu on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes, flipping tofu ever 10 minutes so it cooks evenly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cook.
For Fresh Rolls
- Fill a large mixing boll with warm water. Arrange the fresh roll fillings on a cutting board and make sure you have a clean working surface. The rolling part goes quite fast, so you want everything to be handy.
- Soak a fresh roll skin in the bowl of warm water for 15-25 seconds, or until it loses most of it’s stiffness. You still want it to have the strength of wet fabric, though, so don’t let it sit too long or it will tear when you’re rolling.
- Remove the moist skin to your working surface and quickly arrange your toppings toward the bottom, as if your were filling a burrito. I find 2 strips of baked tofu, 3 or 4 red pepper slices, and a small bunch of microgreens is plenty.
- Roll and wrap the ingredients inside the skin, tucking in the edges as you roll, like you would a burrito. Set the finished rolls to the side while you make more!
- Serve immediately with peanut sauce.
For Peanut Sauce
- Combine all ingredients except warm water in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly whisk in the warm water until all ingredients are incorporated together and the sauce thins to the consistency of gravy.
- Serve at room temperature.