Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lunch in a Box: Vegetable Spring Rolls

I wrote about the Easy Lunchboxes that I bought a few weeks ago, and I am still really enjoying using them. They help with portion control, and the 3 compartments inspire me to fill them with a variety of things. I often post pictures of my lunches on Instagram and Twitter, but enough friends have asked for "recipes" of the things that I make- so I thought I would share some of my favorites.

It has been years since I made vegetable spring rolls, and now I remember why. They take quite a bit of time to make, but the effort is totally worth it. The recipe is really flexible, and you can make as many or as few as you want. I used the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod as inspiration, but adjusted it as needed. I also made my own peanut sauce, using the things that were already in my pantry.

This is a 3-step process. Cook the rice noodles, assemble the rolls, and then make the peanut sauce. Ideally, they store for about 3 days. I was able to stretch mine to 4. Three rolls made a perfect "girly" sized serving, but I was sure to add a few things to the meal to make it substantial. For this particular lunch, I added a quick and easy edamame salad and sliced mango for dessert.

Vegetable Spring Rolls:

1 red bell pepper, cut into narrow strips
1 zucchini, cut into narrow strips
shredded carrots
romaine lettuce
fresh cilantro, chopped
rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
rice paper sheets (and a shallow dish for soaking them in warm water)

Get all ingredients into an assembly area. Dip rice paper in warm water until softened, and then place on wax paper for rolling. Tear off a piece of romaine to cover about 1/3 of the rice paper, and use it as a base for the other ingredients. Take a small handful of noodles, and then layer 2 strips each of peppers/zucchini, and then a sprinkling of carrots and cilantro. Roll tightly, tucking in the ends as you go along.

Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

Peanut dipping sauce:

2-3 T almond (or peanut) butter
3 T low-sodium Tamari
3 T rice vinegar
Sriracha to taste
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 T Agave Nectar (mainly because I used too much Sriracha)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. I'm sure I ended up adding more liquid, but this is my best guestimate. Just taste as you go, and adjust as needed. 

Edamame Salad:

1-2 T vegetable broth
1 cup frozen corn
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen edamame
salt and pepper
1-2 T lemon juice
fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray lightly with no-stick spray. 
Toss the veggies with enough broth to coat, spread out on baking sheet, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Remove from oven to cool, and then toss with lemon juice and cilantro to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.

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