Whoop! Spring is here and that calls for some delicious spring rolls. Spring Rolls are completely versatile and you can get real creative with what to put inside of em. If you’re not familiar with a Banh Mi, it’s a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with meat and pickled vegetables. Spring rolls are also popular in Vietnamese culture so I married the two ideas…. genus right? The tofu for this recipe is marinated in a lemongrass sauce and it’s paired with pickled carrots and jalapeños, spinach, and cilantro. I recommend eating these with Sriracha aioli (aka mayo). I like Hampton Creek Just Mayo which is a healthier, vegan alternative. What’s even better is this recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free. Now let’s embrace this warmer weather with some feel good healthy food!
In case you’ve never cooked with lemongrass before, here’s a little lesson. Lemongrass is a common herb used in Asian cultures. It has a slightly lemony scent and adds a great flavor to your dish. I found mine in the produce section of my grocery store and it looks like a giant blade of grass. To prepare the lemongrass, you peel back the outer layers, slice length wise, and mince.
Making pickled vegetables is so easy! It’s a great way to preserve vegetables and they add such a great flavor to dishes.
Spring rolls look pretty, but they can take some practice to perfect. Here’s some pointers I’ve learned about perfectly my spring rollin’ skills
- Have everything ready so you can work efficiently. I usually put all my ingredients in bowls so I can build my roll quickly.
- Dip rice paper in luke warm water. If the water is too hot it will be too loose to handle
- Pile toppings closer to bottom edge and be sure not to overstuff it with fillings. Start rolling with a “roll and tuck” technique. As you are rolling with your thumbs, use your other fingers to “tuck” the fillings in. This will help keep a tight roll.
- Next fold the sides in being careful to keep the fillings inside
- Finish rolling and viola!!
Banh Mi Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Tofu
For the tofu:
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 lemon grass bulb minced
- 1 inch ginger knob minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons liquid aminos (can substitute with soy sauce)
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the pickled vegetables:
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 jalapeno sliced
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
For Spring Rolls:
- 6 rice paper rolls
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 bunch cilantro
Sriracha mayo (optional)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2-3 Tablespoons Sriracha
Remove tofu from packaging and wrap in paper towels. Place on a plate and put a heavy object on top. Let sit while preparing marinade.
Whisk together all ingredients for marinade in small bowl.
Cut tofu in strips. I sliced the tofu vertically and cut those strips in half. Place in marinade and let sit for 15 minutes.
Start preparing pickled vegetables. Add cane sugar to warm water and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add vegetables to jar and pour water sugar mixture as well as the vinegar in the jar.
Close jar and shake well. Set aside.
Heat small pan on medium heat and drizzle some oil on pan.
Cook tofu for 3-5 minutes until light brown.
To assemble spring rolls, gather cilantro, spinach, tofu, pickled vegetables, and rice paper rolls.
Get a large bowl of warm water and dunk rice paper in for a few second. Lay rice paper roll on plate.
Add a few sprigs of cilantro and a small handful of spinach.
Add 3 tofu strips and top with some pickled vegetables
Roll bottom of rice paper roll away from you one time until all the fillings are tucked in.
Fold in both sides.
Finish rolling and press on edges of rice paper so they stick together.
Mix Sriracha and mayonnaise to make dipping sauce.