Pictures and text by Lindsey Rose Johnson.
Vegetable rice rolls are one of my favorite go-to gluten-free snacks, lunches, dinners. They are so versatile–you can put practically anything inside those papery rice wrappers and call it good. I prefer mine chock full of raw veggies, and sometimes even some slices of fruit.
Becoming gluten-free meant I had to get educated quickly on what I could and could not eat. There was a big learning curve. I thought it simply meant not eating bread or things made with flour. Not so, I quickly learned. As much as I missed bread and pasta and other delicious things, I knew it was going to be okay. I was going to survive and it might actually be fun learning some new recipes and ways of adapting my skills in the kitchen.
One great thing about vegetable rice rolls is that it’s something my family enjoyed already. I am not someone who requires special treatment for my diet needs.
I try to accommodate others, but knowing how difficult it can be, I tell other people not to worry about it. My family, of course, does not eat a gluten-free diet. And at times, that is challenging. When I find something we can all eat together, it’s really nice.
If you’ve never worked with rice roll wrappers before, it might take a few times of making rice rolls to get it just right. See how beautiful they are?
They require a quick dip in warm water to become pliable. Once they are wet, remove them from the water and place on a clean surface. They will soften almost immediately and have the feel of sticky wet paper. You want to be gentle with them, but they aren’t that fragile. Rice wrappers will stretch a bit and if they tear at all, the wrapper will easily stick back to itself, so little holes or tears don’t usually bother me.
As I said you can fill them with almost anything. I chose pea shoots for these rolls because it’s Spring and I love the delicate pea flavor of the shoots, plus the great crunch. :) You could also add in some leafy greens–thinly sliced cabbage or kale, lettuce, or spinach. Basically, put in what you like.
- For rice rolls:
- 3-4 oz. organic pea shoots, rinsed well and patted dry (I used some from Trader Joe's)
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned or cut into matchsticks
- 1 large carrot, julienned or cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled if waxed, julienned or cut into matchsticks
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- fresh organic mint leaves
- 8 large rice wrapper
- warm water, for soaking
- For coconut sauce:
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup light coconut milk
- a few tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. lemongrass paste
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- ½ tsp. agave nectar (or to taste)
- salt, to taste
- For rice rolls: Have all of the vegetables ready to go. Working with one at a time, dip a rice wrapper in warm water for about 5-10 seconds and place on a clean plate. The wrapper won't be completely soft when you remove it from the water. It will take a few more seconds.
- Layer the vegetables in the center of the rice wrapper and top with 4-5 mint leaves. Pull one side of the wrapper over the vegetables, pulling in to make it tighter. Bring the other sides in, like when making a burrito, and roll over. The rice wrapper will stick to itself. Repeat with the other wrappers to form 7 more rolls.
- Serve immediately with the dipping sauce, or refrigerate for up to 2 days wrapped well with plastic wrap.
- For dipping sauce: Whisk all of the ingredients together. Adjust to taste, making it sweeter or saltier as desired. Makes about ½ cup of sauce.