These summer kale rolls are crunchy and refreshing. The texture of the crisp veggies goes well with the tender rice wrapper. The flavor of the kale is enhanced by the nutty sauce. A super easy and healthy dish to enjoy in the summer!
Kale is a new ingredient I just discovered after arriving at Austin. I kept seeing kale recipes all the time, but I never found kale at vegetable markets in China. The first time I tried raw kale (just a few weeks ago), I thought, “Man, this is chewy!” But then, I realized I just had to chop it into smaller pieces, and its flavor and texture suddenly tasted better. I like the fact that it tastes great in both stir-fry and in salad, and can keep for a long time in the fridge. It’s my new favorite ingredient!
This recipe was actually inspired by a Chinese veggie wrap – a healthy and easy-to-cook appetizer in northern Chinese cuisine. It uses a piece of very tough and thin tofu to wrap a few veggies together to make a roll, and is served with a thick, savory, and salty paste made from soybeans. While I was planning to cook this dish at home, I couldn’t find the right kind of tofu at the biggest Asian market here. In the end, I used spring roll rice wrappers and served it with my favorite homemade hoisin sauce.
The outcome was surprisingly good. Although it uses so few veggies, the flavor and texture go wonderfully together. The juicy cucumber and crunchy kale were well enhanced by the pungent green onion and cilantro. The rice wrapper gave the veggies a gooey and comforting mouthfeel. I used the homemade hoisin sauce from the fridge for the dipping sauce instead of the usual soy bean paste, because I like its nutty and sweet flavor. They make the perfect combo!
Rolling a spring roll may look a bit challenging, but it’s actually super simple. The only thing you need to remember is not to soak the rice wrapper for too long. You should take it out while still tough, because it absorbs water quickly and will continue softening while you assemble the roll. While wrapping, press and tuck the veggies as tightly as possible, so the spring roll will come out with a nice shape and won’t fall apart.
In Austin it has finally stopped raining and we have unofficially entered summer this week. Isn’t this green veggie roll the perfect snack to start a healthy summer?
- 3 leaves kale
- 1 cucumber
- 3 green onion (green part)
- 2 cups chopped cilantro
- 12 (22 cm / 9”) spring roll wrappers
- 1/3 cup homemade hoisin sauce
- Chop kale into small pieces. Peel cucumber and cut it into thin long strips (about 6 centimeters / 2.5 inches in length). Cut green green onion into long sticks, the same length as the cucumber.
- Add water to a large skillet (big enough to fit a spring roll wrapper). Rinse a cutting board. Place all the veggies and spring roll wrappers nearby.
- Work on spring roll wrappers one at a time. Dip one wrapper into the water for about 10 seconds (it should still hold its shape without turning soft).
- Spread the wrapper on the cutting board. On the lower third of the wrapper, add 2 to 3 strips cucumber, a few chunks of kale, about 2 tablespoons cilantro, and one strip green onion.
- Fold the bottom side of the wrapper up to cover all the ingredients. Tuck the both sides of the wrapper to seal the ingredients in.
- Roll the ingredients towards the upper end, until they form a roll. Place the roll on a plate.
- Serve the rolls with homemade hoisin sauce as an appetizer.
The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 4 servings generated by this recipe.