We could all use a little diet reframing this time of year, myself included.
December invites more indulgence than usual, and my body is all, “Hey, lady. Can a sister get some greens or what?”
My body is sassy. I can’t blame her. I’m a lot to deal with.
Origins of Fresh Spring Rolls
Fresh spring rolls (also known as gỏi cuốn or summer rolls) are a common Vietnamese dish, but the concept is believed to have originated in China. It’s thought that they may be a modification from Chinese egg rolls, but with Vietnamese flavors.
They are typically made with fresh vegetables, herbs, and protein that are wrapped in rehydrated rice paper and served with a dipping sauce.
How to Make Collard Green Spring Rolls
These are perhaps the prettiest 30-minute spring rolls on the block because the exterior isn’t traditional rice paper – it’s collard greens! I know. So cool.
Before you get intimidated and run the other direction, screaming, “What’s a collard green and what do I do with it?” – don’t. Collard greens make such a nice swap for traditional rice paper because they’re sturdy, bendable, and insanely healthy (plenty of vitamins A, K, + C).
Next comes an array of super fresh, filling ingredients like firm tofu, basil, red pepper, cabbage, carrot, and bean sprout. Roll it up into a spring roll shape – you got this – and then it’s onto the sauce.
The dipping sauce is nut-free (!) because it’s made with sunflower seed butter. It’s inspired by peanut sauce, which comes from Thai and Indonesian cuisine. If you’d rather, almond and cashew butter work well here, too. Look at that saucy goodness.
I hope you all LOVE these rolls. They’re:
Easy to make (30 minutes!)
These would make the perfect side or snack when you’re craving something healthy yet filling. Our Thai Noodle Bowls with Almond Butter Tofu would be an excellent main dish to pair with these rolls!
If you’re into spring rolls, check out our Rainbow Spring Rolls with Ginger Peanut Sauce, Pad Thai Spring Rolls, Banh Mi Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Crispy Tofu, Quinoa Spring Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce, and Thai Spring Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce.
If you try this recipe, let us know by leaving a comment, rating it, and tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see your spring rolls in action. Cheers and happy 2017, friends!
Collard Green Spring Rolls + Sunflower Butter Dipping Sauce
- 10 ounces extra-firm tofu* (optional to brush with tamari + roll in sesame seeds)
- 1 bundle collard greens (~11-12 large collards per bundle)
- 1 small red bell pepper (thinly sliced vertically)
- 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 cup packed basil
- 1 cup finely sliced red (purple) cabbage
- 3 medium whole carrots (peeled and very finely chopped // I used my mandolin with the medium blade teeth)
- 1/3 cup creamy unsalted sunflower seed butter
- 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
- 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
- 1/2 medium lime, juiced (yields ~2 Tbsp or 30 ml as original recipe is written)
- 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (or 1 thai red chili minced // or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake // amounts as original recipe is written)
- Hot water (to thin)
- Start by wrapping your tofu in a clean, absorbent towel and setting something heavy on top (such as a cast-iron skillet) to drain the excess liquid.
- In the meantime, prep the collard greens by chopping the stems off and using a small, sharp knife to slightly shave/trim down the thickness of the stems at the base of the leaf. This isn’t a necessary step, but it will allow it to fold/roll more easily.
- Next, prep vegetables and slice the tofu in long, rectangular cubes. Arrange on a tray or cutting board (see photo).
- Prepare dipping sauce by adding sunflower seed butter, tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili garlic sauce to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add enough warm water to thin into a thick but pourable sauce. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime juice for acidity, chili garlic sauce for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, or tamari for saltiness.
- Next, lay a collard green down on a flat surface, and near the stem, layer on basil, tofu, red pepper, cabbage, bean sprout, and carrot (see photo). Use your hands to fold the collard green over once so the fillings are secured inside, and then tuck in the sides of the collard green and continue rolling until you have a loose spring roll. Lay seam-side down on a serving platter and continue until all fillings are used – about 11-12 rolls (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- To serve, I sliced my rolls in half and arranged them in a serving bowl with the dipping sauce (see photo). But you can also just leave them whole!
- These keep extremely well in the refrigerator up to 3 days, and the sauce will keep for up to 5-7 days (stored covered, separately in the fridge).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with ~1 1/2 Tbsp dipping sauce per serving.