Fresh Rolls

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A couple weeks ago, I was up in Vermont with my family, and my mom just whipped up a batch of these to bring to a friends house for dinner, and ever since then I have been craving them!  Fresh rolls can be SO SO easy, super healthy, and are the type of dish that looks like you put in a ton of effort because they are so beautiful!  And as if these couldn’t get any better, we are going to dip them in a peanut butter dipping sauce…which really just makes everything 10x better.  My mom used a sweet chili dipping sauce for hers, but I live and die for peanut butter dipping sauce, and the recipe below I could literally just eat it with a spoon.

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If you’ve ever rolled a burrito, it’s kiiiind of like that. I’m sure everyone has their own way to roll them, but this is what works for me, and I’m a bit clumsy when it comes to delicate things, so if it works for me, you should be FINE. The other night, I used shrimp, vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrots, red cabbage, mint and butter lettuce.  These can be vegetarian, they can have chicken in them – really you can roll whatever you want into these babies and they will probably be good. In my opinion it’s the noodles and that peanut sauce that make it so good,  but what do I know!  Figure out what works for you!

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INGREDIENTS (that I used, but again – add whatever you want!)

ROLLS:

  • 10 spring roll rice paper wrappers – I used Blue Dragon Brand
  • Carrots (I bought a bag of matchstick carrots…because I was feeling lazy lol)
  • Purple Cabbage (again…bought it pre-chopped – because it’s just easier!)
  • 3 scallions, sliced very thin
  • 1 ounce cooked rice noodles/rice vermicelli
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • handful fresh mint (my sister also uses fresh basil which sounds pretty delicious)
  • Lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce), torn in half
  • 10-12 medium cooked shrimp, peeled and sliced in half length-wise (if you will be cooking them at home, poach them, and let them cool completely before using)

PEANUT BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE (a.k.a. sauce sent from heaven)

  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.
  • warm water to adjust consistency
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or chili-garlic sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped toasted peanuts (optional)
  • key to this…mix in everything except the water, then add water to create the consistency you want.  I add more hoisin or pb, maybe less sriracha based on what flavor I’m looking for.  It should be dip-able without pulling the ingredients out of the roll.  

DIRECTIONS:

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Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package directions – mine soaked for 10

minutes in hot water, then remove them from the water and let them cool.

Each rice paper will soak in warm water for about 10 seconds, or until it’s flimsy.  Place it flat on your prep surface and get to work!

Place all your ingredients piled up 1/3 of the rice paper wrapper. I usually put the ingredients on the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper so it’s easier to roll up. Biggest rookie mistake?  OVERFILLING THE ROLLS! This will take a bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it within a roll or two.

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Again, you are going to roll this like a little delicate burrito. Gently pull the bottom of the rice paper up and over the filling, tucking it just under the filling – don’t be afraid to pull at it a little – it should roll tightly.  Then fold the sides up, and roll baby roll.  Keep tension on the rice paper, but remember, its very thin, and can tear if you pull too hard.  Sometimes this does happen, but an easy fix is to just roll another rice paper wrapper around it!

Once rolled up, place them on a serving plate (I like to place them seam side down just so they don’t try to unravel. If you are making them in advance, just cover them in Saran Wrap, but they are best served within a couple hours of being made.

 

 

Have fun with these – they are great for summer, great for impressing guests, great for just an excuse for that peanut butter dipping sauce, great for just about any situation.  They can be made as an appetizer, lunch, dinner, you name it!

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Let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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I know, I know…this isn’t really acorn squash season, but whatever – it’s delicious. This was actually a recipe I made a while back, but never posted – and thought you guys might like it! I’m a huge fan of foods that carry other foods. Soup served in bread bowls, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, tacos…lol.

I love acorn squash. It just feels like comfort food. No matter how you cook it, it’s just makes you say “mmmmm” and smile a little. It’s naturally quite sweet, but still takes on so many rich flavors. I love pairing it with earthier sides like barley, wild rice, quinoa, etc to balance it’s natural sweetness. It doesn’t need a ton of seasoning, but when done right, it elevates to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Typically, I slice up my acorn squash into cute little half moons, sprinkle them with whatever flavor profile suits my cravings – sometimes sweet with maple syrup (that’s definitely a treat), sometimes curry, or cinnamon, sometimes a kick with some chili or chipotle thrown in there.  But when I made this, I decided on stuffing the bowl with Quinoa, spinach, chopped up portobello mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Topped with a balsamic glaze, and it was pretty phenomenal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 Acorn Squash – halved, & seeds scooped out
2 Medium Cloves Garlic – minced
1/2c. Quinoa – uncooked
1c. Baby Spinach
1 Portobello cap – chopped into small pieces
1/4c. chopped red onion
1/2c. Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
1T butter
*little bit of shaved parmesan (optional)

 

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DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat meat of the squash with 1 tbsp oil, sprinkle with pinch each salt and pepper and place meat side down on a large baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions
  • when the quinoa is almost done, add 1T olive oil and butter to a small skillet, add garlic until aromatic, then add mushrooms until they begin to cook through, and onions until they become soft.  Lastly, add the spinach until it begins to wilt. This should all take about 5-6 minutes or so.
  • Once quinoa is done, mix this in with the mushroom/onion/spinach mix and mix around on SUPER low heat, this is just to let the flavors all mix together and stay warm.  Take off the heat and set aside until the Squash have finished cooking.
  • Remove the squash from the oven, flip them over, and fill them with the mixture, sprinkling the optional shaved parmesan on top.  Put them back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or so.
  • While they are back in the oven, you will make the balsamic glaze.  In a small pan, add 1/2c. balsamic vinegar, and wait for it to boil.  Once boiling, lower temp and keep at a simmer for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let it get all saucy.  I found that it was almost ready after those 8 minutes – I prefer mine to be a bit runnier though.
  • Remove squash from the oven, and drizzle glaze over the top, and enjoy!

 

 

Garlic Hummus

Surpise, surprise!!  GARLIC!!  lol.  You may have caught on by now, that I will be happy IMG_3654 2with just about anything flavored with garlic.  YOU CANNOT GO WRONG.  However, if you are not into it, you can leave the garlic out for a more traditional flavor of hummus. Here’s the great thing about hummus though.  1) It usually leads me to make better choices with my food/snacks.  If I’m eating hummus, I’m probably dipping a veggie in it, or using it on a sandwich as a spread (usually instead of mayo), on a burger, you can put it on pizza instead of sauce, and the best part is, with all the flavor options you can create with this versatile spread, you can get pretty creative with how you want to use it!

Hummus is one of those things that is SUPER easy to make, but so many people don’t make it, and it’s usually because they don’t have one of the ingredients…tahini.  Every other ingredient you for sure have in the house already.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and you are set with a batch of hummus that will taste better than what you get at the store!  So here it goes!

INGREDIENTS:IMG_3652
1/4c. Lemon Juice
1/4c. Tahini (I used Sesame King Roasted Tahini)
2-3T Olive Oil
1 large clove Garlic – minced
1/2t. Salt
1/2t. Cumin
1/4t. Black Pepper
1 can Garbanzo Beans (chick peas) rinsed and drained
2-3T water

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a food processor, combine lemon juice and tahini.  Turn on and process for about 1 minute until it becomes light and creamy.
  • Add the olive oil, garlic, salt, cumin, and black pepper.  Continue to process for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the food processor, then process for another 30 seconds.
  • Add half the garbanzo beans, process for 1 minute, scrape down sides.  Process for another 30 seconds.  Add the other half of the beans, process for 1 minute, scrape down sides.  Add water as needed to make the hummus a bit creamier if it is too thick, but this is personal preference.  Start with just a little, then keep adding small bits – remember, you can always add more, but if you add too much water, you can’t take it out!  Once the desired amount of water is there, process for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve in a bowl, or store in an airtight container.  If serving, garnish with a little extra olive oil, or some fresh herbs.

I added my hummus to this delicious sandwich packed with veggies!
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