Midweek Health-kick: Veggie-packed Rice Paper Rolls

I admit it – I have been super lazy.  I looked at the weather report on my phone this morning and all I wanted to do was stay in bed; “3 degrees, feels like -3” does not lend itself to an energetic and productive Megan.

I know why bears hibernate for winter, they absolutely have the right idea…. on the other hand, I suspect they don’t like slow cooking various meats and baking cakes on their weekends, so I’m glad I get up for that at least.

Anyway, what this means is that I have a small backlog of recipes, which I’ll hopefully publish in the next few days….

First off the rank is a super healthy, flavourful midweek lunch.  Making rice paper rolls have a little bit of a knack and if you’re starting out you might want to make sure you have a few spare sheets.  But, with some practise these make for an incredibly quick, easy and satisfying lunch.

As I make these for my fasting days, I have omitted the rice noodles and in their place use shredded lettuce and bean sprouts – these honestly work just as well and I don’t miss the noodles at all.  With the measurements below, this meal (2 rolls plus dipping sauce) will come in at around 185 calories.

Veggie-packed Rice Paper Rolls (Serves 1 – 185 calories per serve)

Ingredients

  • Rice paper, 2 sheets
  • 1/2 packed cup cos or iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • 1/4 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/4 Lebanese cucumber, finely sliced lengthways
  • 1 tbsp chives, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 Thai basil or coriander leaves
  • 1/2 small green or red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts, preferably fresh
  • 40g skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp water

Directions

  • Bring a small pot of water to the boil.  This is to poach your chicken breast – while this recipe is for one, I will generally cook a larger portion of chicken and refrigerate the rest for another lunch, or a dinner such as my Chicken, Egg & Zoodle Soup
  • When the water is boiling, turn down the heat to the lowest setting you have and then place the chicken into the water.  Depending on how much you are poaching, give this from 5-15 minutes – keep an eye on it closely and the chicken will be done when you can tear it apart with a fork easily.
  • When the chicken is done, remove it from the water and shred into a small bowl.
  • Weigh out 40g of chicken, then add the soy, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar to it – mix through and set aside to cool.
  • Prep all of the vegetables so they are ready to assemble

Rice Paper Rolls (1 of 3)

  • Boil a kettle of water, and pour into a large bowl (something large enough to dip the rice paper in – I usually use a shallow pan as it’s roughly the same size as the rice paper)
  • Take a sheet of rice paper and quickly dip it into the bowl of hot water – I usually hold one side out of the water and spin the sheet around to make sure all edges have been wet.  Lay the sheet out onto your bench top – don’t worry if it still feels a little stiff, this will quickly soften.
  • Assemble your ingredients just a little off centre of the rice paper (so you have a little more wrapping room at the far end) – I usually start with the “drier” ingredients first, like basil leaves and lettuce, with the chicken, cucumber, carrot in the centre, and chilli, chives and bean sprouts on top.  If the outside gets too wet, it will tear much easier and get soggy if refrigerated for a few hours awaiting lunchtime.

Rice Paper Rolls (2 of 3)

  • To roll, gently fold the front section of the rice paper over the fillings with your thumb, while at the same time pushing the filling toward you.
  • Fold the left & right sides over, then roll it away from you until the other end of the sheet is sealed over – this needs to be relatively tight, but not too heavy-handed otherwise it will tear… practise makes perfect.
  • To make the dipping sauce just combine the 3 ingredients together in a small jar or container, and mix with a teaspoon.
  • Add everything to your lunchbox and head to work!

Rice Paper Rolls (3 of 3)

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