Vegan Summer Rolls are rainbows packaged into hand-held bundles. Eating the rainbow has never been tastier!
Snow is no where to been seen in the forecast and the cherry blossoms are blooming overnight. That can only mean one thing: Spring is here! In the same way I’m swapping out my parka for a lighter coat, I’ve been craving less hearty stews and more fresh vegetables. These vegan summer rolls are the perfect light (yet filling) meal. And might I say, gorgeous too!
Perhaps mid-April is a bit early to be thinking about summer. Since entering university, my internal calendar has shifted a bit so that May to August equals ‘summer’. This makes April that awkward month where I’m busy thinking about summer travels (less than 1 month until Hawaii!) yet also trying to create spring themed recipes. Chew suggested making spring rolls because ‘spring’ is situated right in the name. But we settled on summer rolls instead because they 1) don’t require any cooking and 2) you get to dip them in PEANUT SAUCE. I’m all about eating nut butter at every meal of the day.
LDOC (last day of classes) was just a few days ago and it hasn’t really quite hit me that 3 years of university has passed. And that I didn’t find out what ‘LDOC’ meant until this year. The person I was in first year was so different than who I am now. My ambitious have changed, my mindset has shifted, my friend group has expanded, and all for the better. My heart is fuller and I feel like my personality is more vibrant, just like these vegan summer rolls! (I have never compared myself to a summer roll, but I guess there is a first for everything…)
I’ve told many friends this: It’s the first time, probably ever, that I don’t know exactly what I’m doing beyond the next month or two. I’ve always been that person who meticulously plans her days and knows exactly where my life is headed for the next 4 years. My planner is always filled to the brim with pencil notes of to-dos, deadlines, and events. The moment I switched academic paths was both freeing and anxiety-inducing. I was anxious because the plans I set for myself 6 years ago were no longer valid. I’m teaching myself to be comfortable with uncertainty, and to be okay with progressing through the next few years with trial and error. Friends that know me will know this is very unlike the highly conscientious person I usually am!
Despite all the loathing Chew and I have towards our student life, there is however, one undeniable joy university has brought us, and that would be new friends.
My second, and perhaps final, term as an executive member on our faculty’s undergraduate society has come to an end. The experience of being a student leader has been rewarding and humbling. I’ve befriended students from all walks of education and my heart hurts to think that I won’t be seeing their lovely faces on a weekly basis anymore. Even the idea of not having to bus to campus just for meetings several times per week is odd. Our exec team was wonderful this year; whether we’re powering through long meetings at 8am on a Friday morning or taking over the dance floor at the grad dinner, we always get along and get things done! I have so much love and respect for my fellow executives. Please don’t disappear from my life forever!
Oh and our Castle family would have never been formed had it not been an intertwined web of mutual friendships. This alone is worth all my hours of studying.
Back to the vegan summer rolls though. I spent way too much money on a watermelon radish at Whole Foods, but seeing how beautiful these summer rolls turned out, I have no regrets. The cashier also said she wouldn’t judge me either, haha! If you aren’t a crazy blogger lady who is willing to shell out $5 for a single radish, it is totally okay to omit it. Flexibility and customization are defining features of this recipe; fill it with your favourite veggies or whatever you have on hand. Having a bomb.com sauce is what’s most important. And fret not, the recipe for my favourite ginger peanut sauce is included below too! This peanut sauce can be poured on everything from salads to tofu stir fry, but let’s start with vegan summer rolls.
- 7 to 8 large rice paper wraps
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 3 Persian cucumbers, julienned
- ½ red bell papper, julienned
- ⅓ very small head of red cabbage, thinly shaved
- ⅓ large watermelon radish, sliced paper thin
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 210g smoked tofu, cut into sticks about 1cm wide
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter (I like crunchy best, but smooth will do!)
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (or more if you like ginger)
- Juice of ½ lime
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Water to thin, as needed
- Set up your summer roll-making station: Pour hot water into a pie pan (or a similarly sized large and shallow dish). Have a wooden cutting board ready and all the fillings nearby.
- Submerge one rice paper wrap into the hot water until it starts to get bendy but still has integrity, about 15 seconds. Lay it flat on your cutting board.
- Fill the centre third of the wrap with chopped vegetables and tofu. I like to lay down a row of radish or avocado first then top with a pinch each of carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, cabbage, and 2 sticks of tofu. Fold the wrap up lightly like a burrito. Repeat with remaining wraps until you run out of filling.
- To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Adjust sweetness, saltiness, sourness, and viscosity to your liking.
- Serve summer rolls immediately with dip or cover the rolls with a damp tea towel until ready to eat. Best eaten the day of.