Here in Argentina we’re right in the middle of spring, and the chillier days are giving way to warmer, brighter days. I suppose that as we tumble our way straight towards summer – the season of sunshine, warmth, golden rays and color everywhere you go – it only seems right to eat what our bodies crave during this period of humidity and heat.
I find myself longing for larger portions of salads and fresh fruits during this time – and probably so do many of you if you’re in the same season as I am. I search for bright, vibrant-colored vegetables to place on my table, especially the ones that come with a delicious crunch as you chew on them.
A visit to an Asian restaurant not too long ago awoken a sudden desire for more Asian recipes in my kitchen, and inspired by the Vietnamese rice rolls, I decided to make rainbow vegetable rolls and combine them with an irresistibly tasty and spicy peanut sauce.
Like most of my dishes, this is simple to prepare and assemble – and because it does not involve any cooking at all, I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of using the best and freshest vegetable produce you can afford to get your hands on.
As in the wise words of Julia Child, “you don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
With that concept deeply rooted in our minds, let’s begin preparing this dish.
Let’s start with the spicy peanut sauce:
Toast whole, peeled peanuts in a 350 deg Fahrenheit (175 deg Celcius) oven, for just about seven to ten minutes, until the peanuts are fragrant and have turned slightly darker in color. Once peanuts are toasted, let them cool and place them in a food processor or blender and pulse until they are finely chopped. Then we add cooking oil, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, water, honey and spicy chili sauce and blend until it is a thick paste – it doesn’t have to be completely smooth, in fact I like my peanut sauce slightly chunkier. Scrape the peanut sauce into a bowl and reserve for later.
Now let’s assemble the rainbow vegetable rolls:
You can use any type of sturdy vegetable you fancy for this dish, and I used what I had on hand – red and yellow bell peppers, white and red cabbages, as well as parsley leaves. Shred the cabbages as thinly as you can, and cut the bell peppers into thin matchsticks. With the vegetables prepared, soak the rice paper one piece at a time in room temperature water for around 20 seconds until soft. Place soft rice paper on a wooden board, handling it carefully so it does not tear. Place a small handful of white cabbage, red cabbage, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers and cilantro in the middle of the rice paper. Fold the paper from the both up, then fold in the sides, and finish rolling tightly. Repeat with the rest of the rice paper and vegetables until finished.
Slice each vegetable roll diagonally into two pieces, and serve with spicy peanut sauce, and enjoy!
Make rainbow vegetable rolls and combine them with an irresistibly tasty and spicy peanut sauce. This is simple to prepare and assemble.
- 1 cup of roasted, salted peanuts
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil
- 3 tablespoons of Asian sesame oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (approx 2 limes)
- 1 tablespoon of room temperature water
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of Siracha sauce or other spicy chilli garlic sauce
- 1 1/2 cup of finely shredded white cabbage
- 1 1/2 cup of finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro, leaves only
- 8 sheets of rice paper
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit (175 deg Cel)
- Pour the peanuts onto a dry baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven until they are fragrant and slightly darker in color, around 7-10 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don't burn.
- Remove peanuts from the oven, let them cool, and place roasted peanuts in the bowl of a food processor or a blender.
- Pulse peanuts a few times to chop them finely, then add cooking oil, sesame oil, chopped garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, water, honey and siracha, and process until the mixture has become a fine but not completely smooth paste. If too thick for your liking, add a bit more of water until smooth enough.
- Scrape the spicy peanut sauce into a bowl and set aside.
- Shred cabbages and slice bell peppers into matchsticks, then set aside.
- Soak the rice paper once piece at a time in room temperature water for around 20 seconds until soft, place the rice paper on a dry wooden board, and place a small handful of white cabbage, red cabbage, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers and cilantro in the middle of the rice paper. Fold the paper from the both up, then fold in the sides, and finish rolling tightly.
- Repeat with the rest of the rice paper and vegetables until finished.
- Slice each vegetable roll diagonally into two piece, and serve with spicy peanut sauce.