Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Football fans unite! Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest game of the season, is almost here. Loaded nachos, fiery wings, juicy sliders, and a big bowl of chunky guacamole are all up for grabs. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, game day food is something that unites us all. 

The game day spread is every bit as serious as the game itself, so it’s no wonder that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-highest eating day for Americans. Thanksgiving is still number one, but knowing your crowd has this much interest in eating calls for some strategy. 

Get creative with your crudité and put out a veggie option that will get some cheers. These Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce are crisp, crunchy, healthy and fresh. Filled with vibrant veg, a plate of these will add a bright pop of color to your game day table and will help to balance the other football fare that can be a bit heavy. They have that grab and go vibe that game day food needs, and will score big points with the plant-based fans and other eaters, too. I have seen more than one meat-eating he-man inhale a few of these because they’re just so good. Don’t be surprised if they’re the first thing to go.

Put these on your buffet table at kick off, or you can bring them out later for a winning pass as the game plays on. These are best served chilled, but don’t worry about them sitting out. They can sit at room temperature without any worry about keeping them hot or cold for food safety.

Chop and shred your veggies to prep ahead, so that all of your ingredients are ready for you to assemble and roll. The peanut sauce can be made ahead, too, and it’s so good you will want to make extra. You can dunk chicken, veggies, or tofu in it, or use it to toss a quick noodle salad or stir-fry, so go ahead and double or triple the recipe. Add the brown sugar and chili sauce sparingly, and taste as you go. You can make this more or less spicy or sweet to your liking.  

Besides the directions below, here are a few tips for making your spring rolls. Start by thinly slicing and cutting all of your vegetables, aiming to get your carrots and cucumbers around 4 inches in length. Use a 9 1/2-inch pie plate filled halfway with warm water for your rice paper. It’s the perfect size and shape to let you submerge the paper, just for a few seconds, to barely soften it. Use a large cutting board as your work surface, and if you notice that your rice paper is sticking, placing a wet paper towel on your surface really helps. Remove the hard center of your leaf lettuce and just use the ruffled edges, for neat, easy rolling. Keep a small bowl nearby for any veggie scraps as you are working. You don’t want to waste and these are perfectly good for tossing into your next salad. 

I had the best results placing my fillings about 2 to 2 1/2 inches from the bottom edge of the rice paper, and then rolling as snugly as possible so that everything would stay tightly together. I also found that rolling a bit and then folding the sides in just before the final roll worked best. These are extremely easy to make, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rolling like a champion.   

Spring rolls are best served immediately, but you can also cover them with damp paper towels and a loose cover of plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator. I tried holding them overnight like this and they were still vibrant and fresh looking 17 hours later, however the rice paper didn’t have the same delicate feel to it as when they were freshly made. This didn’t affect the taste, but it did make them more sturdy. The fillings held together better and they were easier to pick up. My advice is to make them as close to serving time as you can, but if you don’t want to be rolling them on game day, I definitely think you could make these on Saturday night and be just fine. Just remember to cover them with the damp paper towel and plastic wrap. You can drizzle a bit of the peanut sauce and sprinkle a few chopped peanuts over the top of them just before serving, if you like.  

Best of luck to both teams. Enjoy the game! 

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 8 to 10 10-inch rice paper wrappers
  • 5 green leaf lettuce leaves, torn into large pieces
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and cut into long matchsticks
  • 1 avocado, halved, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped roasted and salted peanuts 

peanut sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Peanut sauce

Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce and ginger together in a small bowl. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached; set aside.

Spring rolls

Working one at a time, wet rice paper for a few seconds, then transfer to a work surface. Place lettuce, basil, and cilantro in the center of each wrapper; top with carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, cucumber and avocado.

Bring bottom edge of the wrap tightly over the filling and then roll, folding in the sides, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the rice paper. Slice in half, then transfer to a plate (or quarter sheet pan) and cover with damp paper towels. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Serve with peanut sauce and chopped peanuts. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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