This has been the year of the all-rainbow-everything trend. From Starbuck's elusive Unicorn Frappuccino to bright cakes, sandwiches, toasts and salads, eating by color has never been more popular.
The good news is that incorporating colorful fruits and veggies into your meals gives your body and immune system the fantastic health benefits it needs with a powerful punch of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. But we already knew all of that. The hard part is making this beautiful rainbow of produce taste delicious -- not like something that is part of a "diet," but rather something you actually want to enjoy and would order off a restaurant menu.
Following my mantra of having fun with food, these Rainbow Spring Rolls are not only delicious and nutritious, but really easy and a blast to make (i.e., get the kids involved).
There aren't many rules to this recipe, but rather a loose set of guidelines to follow. Each spring roll should have five or six types of colorful veggies, cut into thin strips or bite-sized pieces. A life hack for weeknight cooking is to go check out the salad bar at you local grocery store and use its pre-cut veggies to save some time. My choices here included: red, orange and yellow bell peppers, sweet corn, green onion, celery sticks, fresh greens and herbs, beets, carrots, cabbage, avocado, alfalfa sprouts and roasted butternut squash.
Really, the options are endless, so use any vegetables you like. Beans, cooked grains (i.e., rice, quinoa), thin slices of meat, shrimp and tofu also make great additions to these fresh rolls.
Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer, chef instructor and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/ yourpersonalchef.
Rainbow Spring Rolls with Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
Ingredients for rolls
1 package rice paper spring-roll wrappers (6-8 inches in diameter)
1 red bell pepper, julienne-cut strips
2 stalks celery, julienne-cut strips
3-4 green onions, julienne-cut strips
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup of each of the following:
* shredded beets
* shredded carrot
* shredded purple cabbage
* roasted butternut squash or sweet potato, diced
* fresh bean or alfalfa sprouts
Fill a baking dish or large bowl with about 1 inch of water. Dip a spring-roll wrapper into the water so that it is completely submerged. Soak for 2-3 seconds, and immediately remove the wrapper form the water and place it on a clean cutting board.
Place a selection of ingredients into a little pile the center of the spring roll wrapper. Roll the wrapper over the filling, folding the sides in as you roll, like a burrito. Put the spring rolls on a serving platter with a little space in between each roll to avoid sticking.
Serve with Peanut Dipping Sauce.
Ingredients for dipping sauce
2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sesame oil
pinch red chili flakes, as desired
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
Serve alongside Rainbow Spring Rolls.