A perfect vegetarian starter! Fresh, not fried, veggie filled rolls.
- 1 bag baby salad greens (about 5 ounces)
- 1 ½ avocados, peeled and cut into thin slices (about 18 pieces)
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 block (6.5 ounce package) fried tofu (you can find already fried tofu in Asian markets or substitute fresh firm tofu)
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater or shredded on a mandoline
- ½ bunch cilantro or basil, or a mix
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- 8 pieces of dried rice paper (available at specialty Asian markets)
- ¼ cup fermented Chinese black beans
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
- ½ cup warm water, divided
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 stems scallions trimmed and roughly chopped
- ½ cup neutral oil
Make the Sauce:
- To make the dipping sauce, put the beans in ¼ cup warm water and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Drain the beans before continuing.
- Put the drained beans, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, remaining ¼ cup water, sugar, and scallions into a blender. Blend until smooth.
- With the blender running, add the oil slowly to make a rich creamy sauce.
- The sauce can be made ahead and keeps covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For the rolls:
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for a couple mins. Add the oil, the mushrooms, and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally until they have released their juices, 2-3 mins.
- Continue to cook for a couple more mins. until the pan is relatively dry and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Put the mushrooms aside in a bowl to cool.
- Cut the tofu in half widthwise to create two thinner pieces and then cut the tofu into thin strips. Put the tofu into a small bowl.
- Clear an area on your kitchen countertop to start rolling the spring rolls. Put all of your filling ingredients in front of you so they are easy to reach.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and submerge the rice paper into the water completely, just for a moment. Let the excess water drip back into the bowl and then put the rice paper rice on the counter (it will soften within a couple seconds). Repeat so you have two pieces of soaked rice paper, side by side. Use a paper towel to dab any excess water sitting on the rice paper.
- Place a small handful of the lettuce in the center of each rice paper. Add a tablespoon of mushrooms, a couple strips of tofu, 2 pieces of avocado, a few sprigs of herbs and 1 tablespoon of grated carrot. Roll the spring roll tightly to form a fat cigar-like roll.
- Continue preparing and rolling with the remaining sheets of rice paper. You will yield 8 pieces.
- After your rolls are finished, cover them with a slightly damp paper towel and plastic wrap. The rolls will keep for several hours in the refrigerator. Serve with the sauce on the side.
*The best part of fresh spring rolls is the chewy texture, which tends to harden in the fridge. I do not recommend making the rolls too far ahead of time. I also think leftover spring rolls are not as delicious. Instead, you can make the sauce and prep the ingredients ahead of time.
*Only roll what you can consume in one sitting and roll more with your leftovers the next day. Feeling too lazy to roll again? Take your leftovers and put them into a bowl. Pour the sauce over everything and dig in!