I have waxed on about how helpful it is to stay on track eating healthfully when you have things ready in the fridge. This usually requires a "cook day," where I just embrace the mess and make about six things that will keep a few days. Always a batch of granola, a treat (recently these! and I'm making these next!), some quick protein like this egg salad or the beach day tuna salad from our cookbook, and a sturdy green salad that can sit like this fabulous kale goodness. I have found this to be especially crucial when working from home (due to frequent grazing) and now having a mini person, simply because I am not always interested in making myself lunch and would rather eat another few handfuls of trail mix and a piece of toast than make a mess and wash dishes. I value home cooked meals, eating wholesome and seasonal dishes, I'm passionate about the art of cooking and the joy there is in feeding people well, but the ebb and flow of life just changes the pace at which I am able to do these things. I know the same goes for you, as I am flattered by the emails I receive from people asking me for recipes that are ideal for travel, to freeze, for sick friends, or to make ahead for busy work weeks. I know our recipe index here is not user-friendly at all and a website make over is totally on the radar, but in the meantime, I will say that summer rolls are sort of amazing for all said circumstances. They keep well for a few days, fit most dietary issues by being gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian and don't need to be warmed which makes them extremely portable.
The thoughtful couple, David and Luise, write the blog Green Kitchen Stories and I am a huge fan of their first cookbook Vegetarian Everyday. They've created a new (incredibly gorgeous and inspired) cookbook that showcases a collection of photos and recipes from their travels around the globe. It's the sort of book that takes you somewhere else and jump started me out of a bit of a rut that was happening in my own kitchen. I was flipping through looking for something that I could bring to my sister in law and her family who are welcoming home a new baby boy. We ended up keeping these rolls because I ate too many to warrant covering them for a full meal, but I will be packaging up a polenta mushroom situation from the book that is perfect as these nights are cooling down. All to say, I keep my cookbook collection pretty tailored and I'm proud to have this beauty on my shelf.
LEMONGRASS + COCONUT SUMMER ROLLS // Makes about 8
Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Travels
Maybe it is the California girl in me but I would add avocado next time. I like some creaminess with my veggie packed rolls, so just add some thin slices with your collection of other filling ingredients if you wish.
- 8 ounces extra firm tofu
- 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- juice of one lime
- // dipping sauce //
- 1/3 peanuts or 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 package rice paper
- 1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated
- 1 big handful of mint
- 1 big handful cilantro
- 1/2 a cucumber, cut into match sticks
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into match sticks
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
- 2/3 cup sprouts of choice or grated carrots
- sesame seeds, optional
Drain and pat the tofu dry. In a large dish, combine the lemongrass, lime, maple and soy sauce. Add the tofu and marinate for 30 minutes.
To make the dipping sauce, toast the peanuts and blend all the sauce ingredients together.
Arrange all the filling ingredients and prepare a large bowl of warm water. Dip a sheet of rice paper in the water to soften, and lay it out on a damp dish towel or cutting board. Layer a lettuce leafs, a pinch of mint, cilantro, a slice of tofu, cucumber, mango, coconut flakes and sprouts and/or carrots. Fold the top over the filling, then the sides and roll tight to close. Repeat with remaining rolls. Serve with dipping sauce. These will keep in the fridge under a damp paper towel for 2-3 days.