RECIPE: Pea Shoot Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

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This recipe features microgreens, a fresh and fun ingredient you can grow at home. For more information and microgreen resources, read “Microgreens: Grow Them on Your Sunny Windowsill.”

Light, refreshing, and full of veggies, these spring rolls will disappear quickly. Serve on mini-appetizer or salad plates with this homemade peanut sauce or a prepared sweet chili sauce (or both sauces), so people can dip in their own sauce before each bite. These are best enjoyed the day they are made. About 20 spring rolls.

package of spring roll rice wrappers (8- or 9-in. round or square)

4 to 5 cups pea shoots, washed and spun dry

½ package rice sticks or Chinese rice vermicelli (see note below for cooking)

2 to 3 carrots, peeled and shredded using food processor shredding disc

1 English cucumber, peeled, cut into matchsticks 

approx. 1 cup red cabbage, sliced razor-thin 

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

¼ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced or chopped, but not minced

Have all ingredients cut and ready in bowls. Wet a clean dishtowel, wring out, and place on a cutting board. 

Fill a skillet with water and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers, turn heat off. Quickly dip 1 rice paper wrapper in warm water, making sure it’s submerged. When flimsy, in a few seconds, transfer wrapper to the dampened dishtowel.

Place a small handful of pea shoots on the bottom third of the wrapper. Top with a line of rice noodles, some shredded carrots, 5 to 6 matchstick cucumbers, a few pieces of red cabbage, and generous pinches of both the cilantro and mint. Starting with end closest to you, roll the wrapper tightly around filling. When it’s rolled halfway up, fold the sides of the wrapper toward the center and continue rolling to the end of the wrapper.

Place the spring rolls on a plate, and cover immediately with plastic wrap to prevent from drying out. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best consumed the same day as making.

Cook’s Note: Cooking rice noodles is like cooking regular pasta. Boil them in a pot of salted water and taste until the noodles are the right consistency, a bit al dente, usually 2 to 3 minutes. After straining, run cool water over the noodles to stop the cooking. 

Peanut Dipping Sauce

⅓ cup smooth peanut butter

¼ cup water or coconut milk, or more for consistency

1 tsp. fresh minced ginger

2 tsp. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey

4 to 5 drops hot sauce, or to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more water or coconut milk until a dipping consistency is reached. Don’t refrigerate the day you are using, or it will thicken too much.

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Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers is a freelance writer and author of four cookbooks. “Now that I’ve learned to grow my own microgreens, my goal for 2021 is not to buy another plastic laundry or dish detergent container, thanks in part to my discovery of GoGo Refill in Portland, Maine.”

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