rainbow fresh rolls with thai almond sauce
‘EAT MORE RAW FOODS’
One of the few intentions I set for myself in 2016. As a nutritionist and vegan it is easy to romanticize the mountains of raw rainbow salads, smoothies and juices I’d be piling onto my plate January through December. Alas, nature has designed us to succumb to wintertime cravings for warm bowls of soups, roasted veggies, and grains- and I don’t usually argue with nature.
So why the focus on raw foods in 2016 for this constantly-cold Canadian?
Enzymes, my dear.
Enzymes are the pride and joy behind any raw foodie or juice fanatic.
Enzymes can be the difference between feeling sluggish, bloated and inflamed- and feeling vibrant.
Enzymes help us digest and assimilate nutrients, build muscle, detoxify, rest and rebuild our cells. They are our tiny little helpers that keep us chugging along happily at any given moment.
Our body produces enzymes, and under healthy conditions it produces enough that support key bodily processes. Unfortunately, with the foods that are prevalent in the Standard American Diet (sugar, unhealthy oils and processed foods) and overconsumption of pharmaceutical drugs, our bodies are having a trying time at producing enough enzymes to thrive and stay healthy.
The antidote to this enzyme-deficit trap?
Filling your plate with a portion of raw foods at every meal.
That’s all I ask. You don’t even have to eat 29 bananas like a fruitarian to be bouncing out of bed everyday.
Raw foods like spinach, soaked nuts or seeds decrease your body’s burden of making it’s own enzymes, by serving it some on a silver platter. A raw apple contains just precise amount of enzymes it needs to digest itself. A steak on the other hand contains no enzymes, and taxes the body of it’s resources in order to attempt to digest it properly. Overtime this imbalance can cascade into a series of events that burden your immune system, leading to mysterious sudden allergies, skin issues and other health disorders.
With that being said, if we are going to be eating raw, lets make it easy and delicious to do so.
These rainbow wraps contain a satisfying mix of raw AND cooked foods, making this January transition to lighter foods a little easier on all of us.
While we enjoyed these as a filling snack, they are show-stoppers when presented to guests as a healthy appetizer before a dinner party. I’m sure you will agree that everything is more fun in wrapped-up form, and the tangy Thai dip puts them in Thai-take out territory.
- Rice paper for rolling
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
- 1.5 cups carrots, sliced into matchsticks or shredded
- 1 cup beets, sliced into matchsticks or shredded (can also use cabbage)
- 2 cups brown rice vermincelli noodles, cooked according to package directions
- 1.5 cups cilantro, stems included
- 2 cups boston or leafy green lettuce, roughly chopped
- *measurements of filling ingredients are an estimate, feel free to use your own tastes to put more or less of each
- 3 T almond butter
- 1/4 cup + 1 T water
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1.5 T tamari
- 1 t sesame oil
- juice of half a lime
- 2 t rice wine vinegar
- For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a mini chopper and blend until smooth. Alternatively you can whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
- For the rolls: Have your ingredients all washed and prepared on your cooking station before rolling.
- Dip the rice paper in warm water, only for about 20 seconds or it will be difficult to roll. Paper will be softened but not completely soft.
- Lay down slightly firm rice paper on a clean rolling surface and start assembling ingredients. (during this time the rice paper should have become soft and gelatinous)
- Start neatly placing down your filling ingredients in the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper, making sure you have lots of room to roll up.
- Gently pull the paper away from the work surface and roll over the filling. Use your fingers to gather and tuck in the filling ingredients as you roll tightly along. Fold in the sides after one roll rotation and continue to roll until you reach the end.
- Enjoy right away or store in the fridge. Fresh is best for these spring rolls, and they have a tenancy to stick if they are stored in close quarters. If storing for later, layer each row with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
- Enjoy these spring rolls the same day for best results! If making ahead for lunch, preserve their freshness by wrapping each spring roll individually