You wouldn’t guess it, but Alex and I love classical music. We listen to it on the radio whenever we are in the car together. Earlier this week, we went to the Hollywood Bowl to listen to the works of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schubert. There is nothing as romantic and picturesque as picnic-ing under the stars while listening to some of the great classics.
I love, love, love picnic-ing at the Bowl. Its one of the few places in LA where you are able to bring whatever you so desire to eat and drink, including alcohol. Most than often, venues don’t allow you to bring in food. Instead they want you to spend on overpriced not-so-good and not-so-healthy concessions stands. They Hollywood Bowl is different.
This week we decided to bring these fresh vegetarian spring rolls. They are delicious, clean, and refreshing. Esepcially with the mint and parsley. Don’t feel limited by the ingredients I have pictured above. You can fill these spring rolls with whatever you want. I’ve tried making rolls with Korean bulgogi (thin slices of marinated grilled meat), kimchi and lots of greens. I’ve even tried to make a California Roll spring roll (imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado).
I opted to use this teriyaki flavor baked tofu that I purchased from Trader Joe’s (one of the best markets, ever). When tofu is baked, it becomes firmer and absorbs a lot of flavor. This packaged one is baked and ready-to-eat. All you have to do is slice it into small strips. Its a great meat alternative and super tasty. However, if you cannot find baked tofu in your area, I suggest this great and simple recipe from The Kitchn.
It is important to have all your components ready before you begin rolling. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Working with one wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper into the warm water for 2 seconds to soften. Be careful not to soak the wrapper for too long because it will be very difficult to work with. Don’t worry if the wrapper feels too firm after 2 seconds. It will continue to soften and absorb water as you fill the wrapper with ingredients.
These spring rolls are so easy to make that you’ll wonder why you ever paid for them. Its a great way to up your herbs and vegetable intake. Not only are these spring rolls perfect for picnics at the Bowl, they’re a great way to impress your friends at your next potluck.
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Yield: makes 8 rolls
- 3 oz rice stick noodles, rice vermicelli
- 8 rice wrappers (8 1/2 inch diameter)
- 7 oz pressed baked tofu, sliced into 1/4'' strips
- 2 carrots, julienne, small strips
- 2 small seedless cucumbers julienne, small strips
- 8 leaves red leaf lettuce
- fresh mint leaves, as needed
- fresh cilantro, as needed
Peanut Hoisin Sauce:
- 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce, or more if desired
- 1 tsp finely chopped peanuts
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Generally, place rice noodle in a large bowl. Boil enough water to submerge noodles. Pour boiling water over noodles and let sit until noodles are tender. Drain noodles well, run under cold water to stop cooking, and drain again. Let noodles sit while you prepare remaining ingredients.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Working with one wrapper at a time, dip wrapper into the warm water for 2 seconds to soften. Do not soak the wrapper for too long because it will be very difficult to work with. Don't worry if the wrapper feels too firm. The wrapper will continue to soften as you fill it with ingredients.
- Place wrapper on a flat working surface, a plate or cutting board. Fill the wrapper. Begin by placing the lettuce at the bottom of the wrapper, closest to you. Over the lettuce, place the carrots and cucumber slices. Follow with the tofu and herbs. Take a small handful of the cooked noodles and place it over the rest of the ingredients.
- To roll, take the end closest to you. Gently pull the wrapper away from the plate/cutting board and fold it over the filling, similar to how you would roll a tortilla burrito. Fold the sides inward, and tightly roll the wrapper.
- Repeat with remaining wrappers.
Peanut Hoisin Sauce:
- In a small bowl, mis together hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and Sriracha sauce. Distribute among small serving sauce bowl and garnish with chopped peanuts.
The Little Epicurean