Summer rolls are one of my favorite, healthy Asian restaurant options. I usually see them prepared with shrimp, thin rice noodles, cilantro, cucumber, carrot, and lettuce. I had a package of extra firm tofu in the fridge for a while and decided to experiment with it–thus vegetarian summer rolls were born. These are incredibly healthy, low in fat, low in carbs, easy to make, and the best part… you can eat a lot of them. While I really enjoyed my invention (recipe below,) I would encourage you to try any combination you like.
Vegetarian Summer Rolls with Brown Sugar Tofu
Servings vary based on spring roll wrapper size and how stuffed you like them.
1 package extra firm tofu
1 package of spring roll skins or wrappers
1 tbsp. granulated brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced and smashed
1 inch of peeled fresh ginger, grated on a microplane grater
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro
1 package baby greens (or any small lettuce leaves)
Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar
Mix rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, thinly sliced thai chilis or red chili flakes
Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin
- Remove tofu from package and gently squeeze to let out extra liquid. Place tofu on a few paper towels, cover with a few more paper towels, and rest a heavy pan or brick on top. Let rest for at least 10 minute to drain excess liquid.
- Slice drained tofu into ½ inch slices. Then slice each slice into ¼ inch strips. Whisk the brown sugar, garlic, garlic, soy sauce, and vegetable oil together in a medium size bowl. If mixture is too thick or pasty, add a dash or two more of the soy sauce and/or vegetable oil. Add the tofu strips to the mixture and toss around to coat evenly.
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with cooking spray or a trace amount of vegetable oil, and fry the tofu strips, turning frequently, until all sides are golden brown. Once cooked, set tofu strips aside and allow to come to room temperature.
- Assemble the summer rolls: In wide bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper in the water, 2 seconds per side. Don’t soak for over that 4 seconds, even if the paper is still a bit hard, it will continue to absorb water as you assemble the summer roll. Place on a flat work surface and fold in half. About one-third in from a side of the rice paper wrapper, layer a few small lettuce leaves, 3 tofu strips, 2 or 3 carrot and red pepper matchsticks, a sprinkle of scallions, and 2-3 sprigs of cilantro. Now take the smaller third of the roll and fold it over the tofu and veggies. Roll tightly until all comes together and the spring roll paper is sticking to itself. Voila, that’s it! Make lots of them and dip into sauces as you like. These pack up great for work lunches too.