The first time I mastered the art of rice paper rolls, I of course shared the technique and recipe. That same foundation is also what spurred on countless recreations since that time in 2014 and here we are with my absolute favourite recipe yet!
Fresh rolls tick so many boxes for me when it comes to tasty, healthy and convenient eating.
First up, they’re super versatile and you can truly make them whatever you like! Secondly, they are far simpler to prepare than you think (promise!). Third, they provide the perfect vessel to include more fresh fruit and vegetables in our (often lacking) diets.
For me, this recipe provides the perfect balance of texture – crunch and creaminess; vibrant colour, variety and some serious flavour!
Less than 5.1% of Aussie adults meet the minimum requirements for daily fruit and vegetable intake.
As aa Nutritionist, and self-confessed lover of plant foods, I’m 100% behind the message of us eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each and every day.
But why? We know they’re good for us but why/how/what do they give us?
In an immediate sense, fruits and vegetables provide us with many of the required nutrients, namely B Vitamins for energy production in the body. So conversely, without them in our diet, we are likely to feel tired and lethargic.
The nutrients from fruit and veg are also key in the development of all blood cells in our body, try living without those right? And are key in the production of neurotransmitters so lacking these primary nutrients can see us experiencing issues with sleep, memory and mood regulation.
Not to mention a sluggish liver; the organ that processes every single compound in the body, and the overall gut health that we could expect to see compromised when we don’t consume at least the minimum recommended serves of fruit and veg. Say hello to your major source of fibre!
Fruit and vegetables also contain organic acids e.g. citric acid from citrus, which have an alkaline effect on the body and improve a variety of health outcomes including our electrolyte balance, especially important in hypertension which is both widespread and considered a risk factor of heart disease and stroke.
When we think of the goodness of fruit and vegetables, what’s often touted is their phytochemical content which in short, helps counteract free radicals from damaging our cells. More commonly known as antioxidants, these natural compounds are considered protective against inflammation and chronic disease including cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Is that enough? Pretty magic aren’t they?? At a minimum, we’re talking 2 serves of fruit & 5 serves of vegetables each day.
Standard serve of veg = 1 cup leafy, raw salad vegetables or ½ cup cooked green or orange veg like broccoli & sweet potato
Standard serve of fruit = 1 medium apple or banana or ½ cup berries
A large scale review published in the European Journal of Nutrition in September 2012, concurred that there is convincing evidence that a high daily intake of fruit and vegetables promotes health and that fruit and vegetable consumption are a preferable strategy to decrease the enormous burden of chronic disease in Western societies.
It would seem however, that fruit intake isn’t so much our problem; with almost 50% of the Australian adult population complying (ABS); though we’re not doing so well with veg intake; around 7%. The latter is certainly something we could use a little help with and if the above biochemical reasons, and their consequences, aren’t enough to motivate you, what about how delicious veggies can be?!
For optimal health and wellbeing, it’s best to enjoy a wide variety of real food including wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds and animal protein, in addition to fruit and vegetables – remembering that this is where balance and optimal nutrition is found.
- ¼ small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 small carrot, spiralised or cut thinly
- 3 small red radishes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 small cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 small red capsicum, sliced into thin strips
- ½ cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- ½ cup vermicelli noodles, prepared as per pack instructions
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- 8 rice paper rolls
- Fresh chilli, lime and fruit (optional to serve)
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¾ tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh, finely grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons water
- Prepare all roll ingredients as recommended
- Combine all sauce ingredients and leave aside
- Submerge rice paper roll sheet one at a time into a frypan full of hot water for 5 seconds
- Transfer to a plate & allow to soften for up to 1 minute
- Layer ingredients as you please onto rice paper roll sheet starting closest to you and being sure not to pack in too much
- Roll halfway, tuck in the sides and continue to roll
- Repeat the process with other sheets and serve with dipping sauce
NON-VEGETARIANS - you can add your chosen animal protein to the rolls such as chicken, salmon or anything else!
VEGANS - substitute the honey for maple syrup
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Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015, ‘National Health Survey First Results’, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4364.0.55.001, viewed 20 February 2017, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001>.
Boeing, H., Bechthold, A., Bub, A. et al. 2012, ‘Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases’, European Journal of Nutrition, vol 51: 637. doi:10.1007/s00394-012-0380-y, viewed 20 February 2017, <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-012-0380-y>.