I remember those extremely busy days for my husband and I back between 2010 and 2011. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we are always busy, but I mean at that time we were just so busy that sometimes we couldn’t fathom the thought of cooking.
Yes, those type days exist, even for gluten free vegans…
That was an okay time though to be super busy, yet hungry because at that time we were living in Santa Cruz where you could find “fast” healthy food (if that makes any sense), relatively easy.
So if we didn’t or couldn’t cook on a specific day, we had a lot of healthy options to choose from still!
I know… for 98.9% of the USA, this is not the typical scenario.
Whatever the case, our go-to quick meal was always a basket of fresh vegetable spring rolls with sweet red chili sauce.
Yes, we use to love them with peanut sauce, but that was too high calorie, and when we discovered that the restaurant used Skippy regular peanut butter we were absolutely not interested (we watched the Thai restaurant get their order in for their peanut butter one day).
Anyway, so we always ordered spring rolls.
They were so good that honestly being hungry and sharing 4 spring rolls soon turned into us both getting our own basket, and of course then that was too much!
The good times.
Well, since that time, we no longer live a hop, skip, and a jump from Sawasdee Thai Restaurant and Star of Siam, and we now have to make our own spring rolls.
That is perfectly fine though, because now we can save the $7.99 for one basket of four spring rolls, and can make about 20 or more spring rolls for around the same price.
Of course that does not help us if we are too busy (now we just find vegan sushi), but when we get those spring roll cravings we do just what I want to share with you today.
So here is the recipe for some good Thai style spring rolls with a sweet red chili sauce.
6 to 8 rice paper wrappers (8 1/2 inches in diameter)
1/2 cup glass/bean thread noodles or rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
Chopped lettuce leaves (one leaf/ spring roll)
1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 1/2 to 2 Haas avocados, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced length-wise
3/4 cup shredded matchstick carrots
4 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsps fresh basil
1 tbsp mint leaves (optional)
Warm water in a glass pie pan to soak rice paper wrappers….
Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp sugar, or to taste
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp garlic chili paste
1 red chile pepper, deseeded and minced
1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp organic corn or tapioca starch + 2 tbsp cold water
For the Spring Rolls
First, prepare vermicelli noodles according to instructions on packaging (basically, boil noodles in a stock pot for 3-5 minutes and remove promptly and rinse off well).
In a bowl of warm water, add one piece of rice paper, and allow it to soak for 15 to 30 seconds until moist and pliable.
Once moist, carefully place rice wrapper on a plate (not a paper plate), and begin adding to the center, a little of each ingredient, balancing them all because you have to stretch ingredients across 6 to 8 rice paper wrappers.
When the ingredients have been added (to your liking), click here to find out how to fold the spring roll perfectly. It’s a pretty little infographic for folding in a simple way. Start with step 6. And don’t worry about the egg wash. You will not need that for rice wrappers because they are sticky by virtue of getting wet from water :)
For the Sauce
In the high powered blender, purée all the ingredients except for the corn/tapioca starch and 2 tbsp of water.
Once blended, place the blended mix into a sauce pan and allow it to come to a boil over medium heat. Allow it to thicken for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, mix thoroughly the remaining two ingredients to create what is known as a “starch slurry”. There should be no lumps.
Pour the slurry into the sauce pan as well now, and mix well for another two minutes, making sure there are no lumps.
Once well congealed, remove from heat, and allow to cool (settle) in the refrigerator.
Serve the spring rolls with the sauce :)
Don’t have time to make a sauce? Here is my #1 go-to recommendation: Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce <– Click the link for details!