I love Vietnamese fresh spring rolls and got the hankering this weekend to try making them when I noticed how much thai basil we’ve got growing our garden! My sister makes them frequently and she makes it look very easy to make them. So, while on the phone with her yesterday, I tried to make them following her instructions. I got all the filling items prepared: rice vermicelli cooked, cooled and seasoned, and vegetables, tofu and herbs chopped. When it came to the rolling up of the rolls, things quickly went down hill. The rice paper wraps stuck to my fingers, and they stuck to the counter, and they stuck to themselves. After several failed attempts, which ended up in throwing away several smushed up balls of sticky rice goo, I decided to go a different route: eliminate the rice papers altogether. The best part is the filling anyway. So I ended up with a bowl of salad/vermicelli with peanut sauce dressing and liked it so much, I made it again today for lunch. It was refreshing, filling, and delicious!
1/2 package of rice vermicelli noodles
1 Tbl sesame seeds (white or black, to taste)
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup diced firm tofu
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup thai basil, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbl (or more depending on taste) peanut sauce.
Cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package (each package will vary slightly). Rinse the noodles with cold water and drain. Toss the noodles with the sesame oil, tamari, and sesame seeds (I used a white/black mix of sesame seeds). Chop the lettuce, carrots, cucumber, green onions, basil, and cilantro in bite size pieces. Dice the uncooked firm tofu into 1/4 inch cubes.
Divide the seasoned noodles into two large-ish bowls (depending on the package size, this may be a lot and so adjust to serve what you want to eat–the rest will keep in the fridge):
Divide the toppings in half and on each bowl sprinkle the vegetables, herbs, and tofu on top of the noodles (I actually forgot to chop and add the lettuce, so just try to imagine it’s there–Oops!):
Top with peanut sauce dressing. You can certainly make your own, there are tons of recipes out there for great peanut sauces, but I’ve been determined to focus on school work this week, so I bought a bottle of peanut sauce, which turned out to be pretty freakin’ delicious (be warned, I got it home and realized it does contain a little honey, but otherwise it’s vegan and gluten-free):
And voila! A quick and delightful summer meal. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a belly full of rice noodles, tofu and vegetables! Now, back to work!