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The Active Pursuit Of Joy

I believe in compassion, kindness, and self-love. I seek joy through generosity to others and myself. I love swimming, biking, books, music, and cooking delicious food for my loved ones.


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Salad Rolls

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Hello friends! Today, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite things to prepare: Salad rolls! When I eat salad rolls for dinner, my body feels amazing and my mouth does a happy dance. The peanut sauce is seriously mind blowing. This is happy joy food. A serving of 3 salad rolls and a good ½ cup serving of dipping sauce is only about 325kcal, which is super awesome! This can also make a great salad if you don't want the rice paper wraps.

This recipe is pretty inexpensive to prepare, especially if you get in the habit of keeping salad staples in the fridge. I usually keep cabbage, cucumber, carrots, and apples in the fridge as a general rule, so I can always throw together a quick salad on the cheap. The costs included below are based on my estimates as a portion out of a bag of veggies, rather than buying them individually by weight, which will be more expensive.

Rice paper wraps may be the only tricky part of this recipe to find, but they are in the Asian section of the majority of grocery stores. If you’re in a city that has an Asian market, you’ll definitely find them there, normally for between $1-2 for a pack of 50. They go a LONG way.

I love serving salad rolls for dinner parties, because I like doing what I call “cooking to the lowest common denominator” when I’m cooking for a crowd. I put all the fillings out, and people can choose what to put in their own wraps. If you don’t put any of the meat in, these are vegan and gluten free. Obviously I’m not vegan, but that just means that this meal can make just about anyone happy.

I usually start by cooking my chicken or beef, (or sometimes I cook it ahead of time and chill it) and then get to work chopping my veggies as the meat cooks. I also set a pot of water to boil on the stove for the vermicelli noodles. When the water boils, place the noodles in the boiling water, remove from heat, and let sit for approximately 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to chill.

Wrap Recipe (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
(Note: this is what I used this time, I sometimes will toss in basil, avocado, mango, whatever. Really, the world is your oyster, but this is my cheaper version)

  • 3-4 Rice paper wrappers per person
  • ½ head Red leaf lettuce leaves, whole or broken in half (or iceberg or romaine)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ¾ cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • ¼ English cucumber, in match sticks
  • 1 green apple, match sticks
  • 1 cup vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and set aside to cool

Optional:
Protein of your choice. In this case, I used chicken, because chicken was on sale. Cook it however you like. Grilled, or pan fried is my usual go-to. You don’t need much for this type of meal though. I just used two small chicken breasts for four servings in this case. Note, you could also use shrimp, fish, tofu or tempeh, for non-meat eater options.

Peanut Coconut Dipping Sauce (serves 6-8)

Ok guys, this sauce is DEADLY. I mean it. Really really deadly. It’s a garlic party, for one thing, but I have seen people lick the sauce out of their bowl. I have seen them dip every item on the table into the sauce after the rice paper wraps are gone. You can use this as a stir-fry sauce as well, or as a salad dressing. Be forewarned: you will smell like garlic. I promise. Probably the next morning too!

Also, as a warning, I guestimate this sauce. It pretty much never turns out the same, but it always turns out great with these ingredients.

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Ingredients:

(This should make about 6-8 servings, but it depends on how much peanut sauce you like)

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • ½ cup of light coconut milk (or more to get desired consistency)
  • 5 garlic cloves (or more, if you want to get really crazy)
  • 1.5 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or cane sugar
  • 1 tsp of soya sauce
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • ½ cup cilantro

Put everything except the cilantro into the blender and mix well. If it is too thick, add some coconut milk. If it is too thin, add some more peanut butter. When the desired consistency is reached, add the cilantro and blend it until smooth. It should be slightly green in colour.


While you’re making your sauce, boil a full kettle of water.

Ok, now on to the fun part. Place all your chopped veggies, cooked vermicellis, and chopped meat (if used) in bowls or on a common plate on your table.

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Pour the boiling water into a plastic or glass bowl (don’t use a metal mixing bowl. It will be WAY too hot!) and let cool a few minutes.

To make the salad roll, quickly dip your rice paper wrap in a circular motion. When the water is very hot, you should be VERY fast about this. It should still be slightly crunchy when you put it on your plate, because it will continue to soften once wet. You don’t want it too soft to begin with, because then it is slippery and difficult to work with. As the water cools throughout your meal, you’ll have to leave your wrap in the water for longer as you turn it.

Place the wet wrapper on your plate, then place a piece of lettuce in the middle of the wrapper. This helps your wrap keep its shape and makes it easier to roll. You can skip this step, but it is generally more of a mess if you do. Put some vermicelli noodles on top of the lettuce, then dress your salad roll however you like it. I am not strict about these particular veggies. You can put whatever you like in them, really!

When you finish making your pile (tip, don’t make it too large, or it can be hard to roll!) fold the top and the bottom both in, then take the right hand side, pull it over, tuck it under, and continue to roll, like a fajita.

And there you have it! Delicious salad rolls! Dip in the peanut sauce and enjoy! Yummy!

Overall cost:
(Note I assume certain things are staples, like peanut butter, so I don’t include them in my overall cost)

  1. Coconut milk $1.49
  2. Garlic $0.20
  3. Chicken $3.00
  4. Rice paper wraps $0.25 (The pack is $1.49, but there are probably 50 in the pack)
  5. Cabbage $0.25
  6. Carrot $0.15 (I got a big bag of carrots on sale)
  7. Cucumber $0.50 (1/4 of 1.99)
  8. Green apple $0.25
  9. Vermicelli noodles $0.25
  10. Cilantro $1.00

Total: $7.35 for 4 servings, coming in at less than $1 for serving (assuming a serving of 3 rolls per serving).

Salad roll nutritional information (without peanut sauce) per 3 salad roll serving:

Peanut sauce nutritional information:


I used the www.caloriecount.about.com recipe analyzer tool to get the nutrition facts for my recipes. Thanks caloriecount! For so many things!

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The Active Pursuit Of Joy

I believe in compassion, kindness, and self-love. I seek joy through generosity to others and myself. I love swimming, biking, books, music, and cooking delicious food for my loved ones.

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