I love salad rolls. Sometimes they’re called summer rolls. Or fresh rolls. Or spring rolls. Which is confusing, because sometimes spring rolls are fried. Get it together, restaurants! Salad rolls can sometimes be a bit of a bummer, though, because they don’t have a whole lot of “salad” in them. Maybe some iceberg lettuce, a few bean sprouts, and a wan slab of tofu. If it weren’t for the tasty dipping sauce, they’d be a letdown. Also, they’re usually about $5 for two rolls. Yikes!
One day after enjoying a salad roll, an idea struck me. What if I could make a salad that had all the components of a salad roll, and the dipping sauce as the dressing? No laborious roll assembly required, and I could add as many veggies as my heart desired. After a couple of trials, I’m very pleased to present to you, Salad Roll Salad!
Salad rolls typically have thin rice noodles in the filling, so I started there. All they need is a bath in boiling water for about 20 minutes to get good and tender. While the noodles are relaxing in their spa, you can prep the veggies and the dressing.
And lo, we have purple cabbage, shredded broccoli stalks (leftover from dinner!), shredded zucchini, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, and carrots. In another trial, I added edamame as well. You can go nuts with the veggies, it’s a salad for Pete’s sake! Who is Pete, anyway? Does anyone know? Add your thoughts in the comments. 🙂
Next up, the dressing! This was quite an achievement, if I do say so myself. It’s so good I was drinking it. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and coconut milk? You can’t. You just can’t. Ok, maybe if you’re allergic to peanuts, not so good, but you know what would also be super tasty? Almond butter! Do it.
Also, I heart immersion blenders. I use mine ALL THE TIME. I recently discovered that it fits perfectly in a wide mouth mason jar, so you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be making all my dressings in mason jars from now on. Did I mention that I might have a mason jar addiction?
“Hi, I’m Beth. It’s been 3 weeks since I bought a mason jar.”
Blend that goodness up for just a few seconds, and you have yourself a lip-smacking dressing that can easily double as a stir-fry sauce. I have visions of perfectly cooked tofu and veggies layered over fluffy brown rice, slathered with this sauce. Someone help me get up, I just swooned.
Ok, so you have your veggies ready, your dressing is all blended up, it’s time to get your noodles out of the bath and under some cold water so that they stop “cooking” in the hot water. Drain those bad boys really well, because nobody likes a watery salad. I mean, maybe somebody does, but they’re weird. Then, since the noodles are really long and the veggies are shorter, feel free to cut the noodles into smaller pieces so everything in the salad is around the same size. I used scissors, it was oddly fun!
Chop up some scallions and mint, throw everything together in a nice big bowl, and mix it up until the dressing is coating all the veggies and noodles. If you don’t know what to do next, I’m not sure how I can help you.
I hope you try this and get creative with your veggie selections! If you’re on Instagram, tag a photo of your Salad Roll Salad with the hashtag #eatwithinyourmeans so I can see it! Thanks a bazillion!
All the flavors of a salad roll in salad form – chock full of veggies and a flavorful dressing.
- 8 ounces thin rice noodles (vermicelli style)
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce (shredded)
- 1/2 head purple cabbage (shredded)
- 2 carrots (shredded)
- 2 small zucchini (shredded)
- 1 red bell pepper (shredded)
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 green onions (thinly sliced on the bias)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 in chipotle pepper adobo (see notes for additional options)
- pinch of salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
- Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for 20 minutes. While the noodles are soaking, prep the vegetables and dressing.
- Combine all ingredients in a wide container and puree with an immersion blender. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a standard blender.
- Test the rice noodles to make sure they are thoroughly cooked, soaking for an additional 5 minutes if they are not cooked through. Once cooked, strain under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain noodles well, patting with a towel to remove as much excess water as possible. Cut the noodles into smaller pieces, if desired (scissors work well!). Combine noodles, vegetables, and dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine until the dressing is evenly distributed.
This salad can be adapted to include/exclude other vegetables. Suggested additions are shredded broccoli stalks, edamame, pea shoots, shredded greens such as chard or spinach.
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or 2 teaspoon sriracha can be substituted for the chipotle pepper if desired.