Best-selling healthy blogger and cookbook author Kathryne Taylor has a new collection of recipes out that will revitalize your produce game like you never thought possible. Toss aside all preconceived notions of what it means to create a truly satisfying vegetarian meal and pick up this book. We’ll make these sesame soba spring rolls over and over.
Fresh spring rolls are Vietnamese. Soba noodles are Japanese. I’m sure I’m upsetting someone by mixing the two cuisines, but they go so well together! Rice noodles are common spring roll fillings, but I opted for soba noodles instead, which are made with buckwheat flour. They add some nutritious, nutty flavor to the rolls.
Don’t worry about the rice papers — they seem intimidating at first, but they’re fairly easy to manage. Working one by one, you’ll soak each brittle, translucent round in warm water for just a few seconds, and they’ll turn into pliable and stretchy skins right before your eyes. If you are already a pro at rolling burritos or swaddling babies, you have great potential when it comes to wrapping spring rolls.
Peanut Allergy Note: If you’re serving someone with a peanut allergy, substitute almond butter or sunflower butter for the peanut butter.
- 4 ounces soba noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, or more if needed
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 large carrot (1/4 pound)
- 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 small cucumber
- 6 to 8 rice papers
- 2 medium jalapeños, seeded, deribbed and cut lengthwise into long, thin strips
- 1 avocado, cut into long, thin strips
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 2)
- handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
For the spring rolls
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the soba noodles just until al dente, according to package directions. Rinse them under cold water, drain, and return them to the pot. Toss the noodles with the sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, tamari, honey, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes until well combined. If the sauce is too thick for dipping, stir in a little more lime juice. Set aside.
To prepare the spring rolls: Run a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler down the length of the carrot and cucumber(s) repeatedly, turning halfway, to create long “noodles.” Toss the carrot and cucumber noodles with the soba noodles.
Fill a shallow pan larger than your rice papers (a pie pan works great) with warm water. Fold a lint-free tea towel in half and place it next to the dish. Make sure your prepared fillings are within reach.
Place one rice paper in the water and let it rest for about 20 seconds. You’ll learn to go by feel here—wait until the sheet is pliable but not super floppy. Carefully lay it flat on the towel.
Leaving about 1 inch of open rice paper around the edges, cover the lower third of the paper with a handful of soba, carrot, and cucumber noodles. Top with a few strips of jalapeño and avocado in a row on top of the noodles, then sprinkle with green onions and chopped cilantro.
Fold the lower edge over the fillings, then fold over the short sides like you would to make a burrito. Lastly, roll it up, stretching the remaining long side around the roll to seal it. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Halve the rolls on the diagonal with a sharp chef’s knife (or serve whole) with the peanut dipping sauce on the side. If you have any peanut sauce left over, it makes a great veggie dip.