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There’s hardly a dish that tastes of spring more than one with fresh basil and mint leaves. These vegan gluten free spring rolls have both, all wrapped up in a soft rice paper with crunchy vegetable fillings. But there’s no need to have to wait for spring to make them — these rolls would make great game day grub, fun finger food, picnic fare or snow day can’t-wait-for-spring munchies, too!
I like to grill or sauté tofu to add protein, but feel free to make these rolls without. Crisp spears of cucumber and carrot, contrasted with the soft rice vermicelli, avocado and sautéed shitake mushrooms make these spring rolls a perfect way to celebrate the season, deliciously, and all are available year round in most any supermarket. Feel free to use other vegetables or what you have on hand — there are no right or wrong ingredients, just what suits your tastes.
Use a sweet gluten free dipping sauce like Thai Peanut Sauce for these gluten free spring rolls, or feel free to use gluten-free tamari/soy sauce, hot mustard, sriracha, or any other sauce that you especially like.
Drain and press tofu by wrapping in paper towels and press between heavy plates; replace paper towels and press again, as needed, pressing 30 minutes to drain. Slice pressed tofu into 6 strips, approximately ¼-inch thick.
In a small bowl, combine Sriracha and kefir. Place tofu strips in a single layer in the bottom of a flat-bottomed bowl and pour in enough Sriracha mixture to cover strips. Roll strips in marinade to thoroughly coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Grill: Once marinated, generously spray grill with oil and preheat to medium hot. Lay marinated strips directly onto hot grill. Brush tops with remaining marinade, if necessary, to keep strips moist. Grill until golden brown; flip to cook briefly on the other side, brushing with marinade, if necessary.
Sauté: Lay strips in a non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Turn to fry both sides until lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes per side on medium-high heat.
Once cooled, cut each strip lengthwise into 3 to 4 thinner strips, approximately 3 inches long.
To prepare rolls, cook rice vermicelli according to package directions. Rinse and drain. Then cut into 3-inch lengths. Boil shitake mushrooms in a large pot of water for 5 minutes. Then dice. (If using dried mushrooms, soak them in cold water 15 minutes to rehydrate before boiling.)
Cut cucumbers, carrots and avocado into very thin strips, approximately 3 inches long.
Fill a flat-bottom pot with very warm water. Dip rice papers into water one at a time, soaking 5 seconds or until soft and pliable. (Use a pan with a large enough bottom so paper lies flat while soaking; try not to let the paper wrinkle.) Gently remove softened papers to a plate and spread them flat.
To construct rolls, imagine paper circles as a clock face. At 12 o’clock, vertically place a small amount of cut vermicelli noodles, mint and basil leaves, lettuce, mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots and avocado. Top with 2 to 3 strips of tofu. Repeat ingredients over tofu. Pick up the paper at 6 o’clock and bring it up toward 12 o’clock, folding it over ingredients. Then take the paper at 9 o’clock and wrap it tightly around the ingredients. Roll up the wrap all the way to 3 o’clock. The rice paper will stick to itself in this tight roll shape.
Serve chilled with your favorite gluten-free sauce like San-J Thai Peanut Sauce.
Yield: 8-10 rolls.