If your goals are similar to mine (to eat more vegetables), it’s likely you’ll need to venture out into ethnic foods where vegetables run the show. For many Americans, this may be a foreign concept (haha). Most American food is “meat and potatoes,” salad, and casserole dishes. When you get into ethnic cooking, you will find vegetables are more interesting than their counterparts.
These Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce have especially high nutrient levels without a lot of calories. In fact, most of the calories are in the peanut sauce, which you can portion control pretty easily. These are great as an appetizer, a meal with some protein fillings, or work/school lunches.
The Nutrients of Sweet Potato Spring Rolls
I talked about Sweet Potato in my Sweet Potato Burgers Chickpea Burgers with Rosemary Fries recipe, so I’m going to talk about some of the other fillings here.
Kelp Noodles: There are many noodles you can use here, but none pack quite the punch that kelp noodles offer. Kelp noodles have a soft crunch to them, the best I can do is compare them to roe–a little squishy with a crunch. They contain minerals, trace minerals, and all 21 amino acids. Personally, I love that they have iodine for metabolism and magnesium for anti-inflammation. They are also considered a perfect food for raw foodists.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers have lots of vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin C and minerals. They also keep you hydrated, promote a healthy brain, contain an anti-inflammatory plant flavonoid called fisetin, and even freshen your breath. The list goes on and on. Cucumbers are not currently on the dirty dozen list, but because of the heavy waxes that are put on cucumbers before washing them, it is definitely important to buy these organic according to Mercola. The cucumber skins are the most nutritious part of the cucumber and it would be a shame not to eat them. 🙁
Basil: I don’t think I realized just how amazing fresh herbs were until about 5 years ago. Now that I understand the benefits, I treat them like greens and buy them regularly. Luckily for me, I have a lovely pot of basil so I don’t have to pay for it anymore! Basil is a pretty great summer plant.
Basil’s nutrition may surprise you as much as it surprised me! Did you know it has calcium? Omega-3? Lots of vitamin K? Iron?
Basil has a lot of flavonoids that prevent oxidation to your white blood cells and is rich in antioxidants. That means eating basil will keep you young and wrinkle-free. Ummmm…yes please!! It also has anti-bacterial properties that will actually reduce your risk of the raw food bacteria, Shigella (1). So, if you don’t eat hot stuff to kill bacteria, basil is your new best friend!
Cilantro: Cilantro is another magical anti-bacterial herb and it fights salmonella (2). If you are looking for sources of vitamin A that aren’t orange, cilantro is a great source! It also provides a great amount of vitamin K, vitamin C, trace minerals and macro minerals.
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup liquid aminos, soy sauce, or whatever you prefer
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 inch piece of ginger, I usually wash and keep the peel on
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- about 8 Rice Wrappers (white or brown)
- 3 carrots, chopped in sticks
- 3 cucumbers, chopped in sticks
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 sliced avocado (as much like a stick as you can)
- 1 sweet potato, roasted (can be cubed, scooped in, sticks, depends on how "wet" of a sweet potato texture you like. I did cubes)
- kelp noodles (you can use vermicelli but I prefer kelp)
- fresh Basil, however much you like
- fresh cilantro
- fresh mint
- *Optional additions: baby kale, spinach, fried tofu, mushrooms or whatever protein you like
- Throw all the ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor
- Blend until smooth
- Dip each rice wrapper individually in a bowl of tepid water for 5 seconds, or run under the faucet quickly. You only want the wrapper to be barely damp, just enough that it won't fall apart or chip when you fold it.
- Fill the spring roll with your chopped ingredients.
- Fold the top and bottom sides in and then roll the spring roll up like a burrito.
- Serve with the peanut sauce.
Peanuts: You can use roasted, or raw, or raw and soaked. I have done it all 3 ways and it always turns out well. I use a high speed blender, but I'm pretty sure a food processor will be sufficient. If you do not have a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking your nuts so they are softer and turn into butter more easily.
Sauce: 3 cups of sauce is a lot! I use it all week usually. It makes a great salad dressing by adding oil and vinegar (I like sesame, olive oil & balsamic), stir fry sauce, and pad thai sauce. Or freeze half for later!
I think the most complicated part about this recipe is really pretty easy, unless you’ve never used rice wrappers before! So, let me make it even easier by giving you some how-to pictures for your Sweet Potato Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce.
Once you have your wrappers out, grab a bowl of warm water and dip the spring rolls in the water until translucent. I prefer about 5 seconds, but if wrapper is still stiff, I will dip it another 5 seconds on the other side.
Then you fill the wrapper with your favorite ingredients. I change my ingredients based on if I want a low-calorie appetizer or a filling meal.
Fold and roll! I like to put paper towels under the spring rolls if I’m traveling with them. That way they don’t dry out as much. Totally preference on that one!
Let me know how they turn out in the comments below!
1. Bagamboula CF, Uyttendaeleand M, Debevere J. Inhibitory effect of thyme and basil essential oils, carvacrol, thymol, estragol, linalool and p-cymene towards Shigella sonnei and S. flexneri. Food Microbio 2004 Feb;21 (1):33-42. 2004.
2. Kubo I, Fujita K, Kubo A, Nihei K, Ogura T. Antibacterial Activity of Coriander Volatile Compounds against Salmonella choleraesuis. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3329-32. 2004. PMID:15161192.