Spring Roll Salad

I love Crescent Dragonwagon’s cookbook The Passionate Vegetarian. I have said that before and I will say it again. It is a fab book. (and yes, I bought it on my own and no she didn’t pay me to say so. It is just a great cookbook.)

I also admit to being lazy in the kitchen. While I love Vietnamese Spring Rolls, I am not so hot about rolling them after the first couple. Enter my adaptation of her “Quasi-Vietnamese Spring Rolls” into a salad. (This page is seriously battered and stained in my copy of the cookbook-all of you know that means it is a seriously good recipe worth revisiting.) The first time was a mistake. We had extra salad and no child left willing to roll them into spring rolls. I ended up dumping the extra dipping sauce onto the leftovers and calling it done. It made a fine salad and lasted a few days in the fridge. So here is the secret…now, unless I want to be fancy about it…I skip the rolling into spring rolls part altogether.

Try it. It is an easy, light refreshing vegetarian meal or side dish.

10 leaves crisp romaine lettuce-cut into slices
3 green onions, roots removed, slice whites and green
About 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves (we tend to leave this out since my mother won’t do mint)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (wash well! Cilantro is some dirty stuff I heard lately)
About 1 cup Thai basil leaves (ok, I cheat here too and end up with whatever basil I can get my hands on)
2 coarsely shredded carrots (I use a small bag of pre-shredded carrots–like I said lazy)
1 package Thai style tofu cut into 1/4 inch strips. I can’t find this around here and end up draining firm tofu, throwing some 5 spice powder on it and baking it for about 30 min. Tempeh works too.
3 oz bean thread noodles
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Follow the directions to cook the bean thread noodles. (usually soak in hot water for about 10 minutes or drop into boiling water for 2 minutes–super fast and easy) Break them up or chop them afterwards or they get too bunchy in the salad.

Mix the other ingredients. Add in noodles.

This is a blend between the Vietnamese restaurant style dipping sauce and Light Savory Dipping Sauce in the cookbook.

2 parts hoisin sauce
1 part sriracha sauce (Rooster Sauce)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup Tamari or Soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
A healthy teaspoon of chopped garlic

Stir together until smooth. Taste and play with it a bit until it suits your taste. You may want to add a bit of sugar or lemon juice.

Toss with salad and refrigerate until serving. That’s it–all the taste of spring rolls with none of the fussiness.

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