A quick lunch that I have started making more often is salad rolls. They are quick and easy to make, but also a light and refreshing lunch.
A new outing I have enjoyed is taking cooking classes. In Calgary I have taken cooking classes through Atco Blue Flame Kitchen and The Cookbook Company. Through the Cookbook Company I took two Vietnamese cooking classes. This is where I learned to make salad rolls. Although they are not very hard to make, I never truly knew their versatility until I took the cooking class. Initially I never thought of putting other kinds of protein in a salad roll because I have only seen shrimp used at Vietnamese restaurants. In the cooking class our instructor suggested other proteins, such as left over turkey after thanksgiving or Christmas! In the class we grilled beef that we marinated and put that in our salad rolls with Asian herbs (I.e. Thai basil).
This week I had some left over soup and pasta but didn’t feel like I wanted that for lunch. I didn’t have any type of meat cooked that were left overs so I defrosted some shrimp. Once defrosted I used garlic, soy sauce, and a bit of Siracha hot sauce to season the shrimp before pan frying it.
In my rolls I used spinach, red pepper, cucumbers, vermicelli noodles, and the cooked shrimp. When cutting your veggies you want to make sure they are cut thin and just short of the length of your rice paper wraps.
For your noodles the package may say to boil them. I actually don’t boil them but let the amount I want to soften sit in warm water to rehydrate them.
Most friends that I talk to seem to have the most difficulty with the rice paper wraps. The trick is not to hydrate them too much because then they get slippery and hard to work with. I fill a large mixing bowl with warm water and don’t soak the sheets for very long. I do the sheets one at a time and let it sit in the water until it’s just starting to bend but not easily. The sheets will still rehydrate out of the water and on your plate so you don’t want to leave it in the bowl of water until they are easily bendable.
Once your sheet is ready, place it on a plate and start putting your inside ingredients in at the bottom of the sheet. Fold the sides inward and roll like a soft taco!
I put my salad rolls in a lunch container and separate them by wax paper so they do not stick to one another. A tip I learned from my cooking class is to put a slightly damp paper towel with your salad rolls to prevent them from becoming dry.
As you may know from visiting Vietnamese restaurants, salad rolls also come with a dip! Usually a peanut sauce is used. I made a spicy “peanut” sauce out of almond butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and hot garlic chili sauce.
A good step by step, but I don’t soak my wraps as long. This recipe also includes the other sauce often used for salad rolls: Salad Rolls
Sauce: Peanut Sauce
You may also find other recipes you prefer by doing your own search! I choose recipes based on their ingredients or prep time. Sometimes the same dish will have several different ways to make them and different ingredients.