July 3, 2015 By This Vegan Girl
I used to think that spring rolls were too intricate for an amateur cook like me to make. It turns out that assumption was false; spring rolls are actually a fancy imposter. A spiffy poser, if you will. A sophisticated con artist.
Despite what the spring roll’s bright colors and flawless presentation lead you to believe, spring rolls are incredibly easy to make. You can assemble 8 spring rolls in about 20 minutes from start to finish if you’re working alone. Although rice paper isn’t raw, the veggies inside will be, making this a mostly raw delight.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 spring rolls
- a package of rice paper / spring roll paper (found in the International aisle or Asian section of your grocery store)
- nori sheets (found in the International aisle or sushi-wrapping section of your grocery store)
- 1/2 large cucumber, cut into strips
- 2 carrots, skinned and cut into strips
- 1-2 hass avocados, cut into strips
- 5-10 green onions, cut in half to shorten length
- one bunch of sprouts or frisée
- 8 romaine lettuce or cabbage leaves, cutting out thick ribs
- vegan cream cheese (optional)
- sesame seeds (as garnish)
- 6 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Wasabi powder
Step 1: Prepare the veggies.
For the nori flakes, I take a package of nori sheets, put it in a blender/food processor, and blend until the nori is milled. These flakes make a great seasoning!
Cut your cucumbers, carrots, and avocados into 3-4 inch (7-10 cm) strips. The green onions can stay intact. Cut out the thick ribs from the lettuce; if you leave them in, your roll might look like it has weird bones sticking out of the sides, making it harder to assemble.
Step 2: Assemble the spring rolls.
Have an assembly station ready: rice paper, a large bowl or pie pan filled with warm water, a plate for creating/rolling the wraps, and a plate to place your rolls when they are done.
When ready, place a sheet of rice paper in the warm water for 10 seconds. The paper will start to soften. Next, place the softened rice paper on the assembly plate. In the middle of the paper, spread your cream cheese (optional), sprinkle a pinchful of nori flakes, and place on your cucumbers, carrots, green onion, avocado, and sprouts. As for the lettuce, if you are using romaine, try to compact it on top of your veggies as much as possible to make rolling easier.
Roll your spring roll like a wrap; take a horizontal edge and wrap it around the vegetables, fold the sides in, and continue to wrap until everything is secure. I always thought rice paper would be delicate, but it actually can take a slight beating. Rice paper is clumsy finger approved!
Tip: The rice paper should be wet, yet sticky. If it takes more than a minute to assemble your roll, you’ll find that your rice paper will start to become DRY and sticky, which makes it impossible to wrap. In other words, don’t drag your ass.
You can choose to cut them in half to see the beautiful contents in the middle, or leave them whole for easier eating!
Step 3: Make the dipping sauce.
I find a lot of Asian sauces to be too much, so I make something simple: Wasabi powder, minced garlic, and Tamari (or soy sauce). Whisk together and place in a bowl.
Step 4: Garnish and enjoy!
Sprinkle those sesame seeds on your savory blankets of rainbows and chow the f down.
They see me rollin’. They hatin’.
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December 25, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I love eating raw food! Raw food never drags me down or changes its mind on how it wants to behave that day. Raw is fresh, bold, and gives me a healthy energy boost.
Cucumber noodles are an excellent alternative for anti-pasta people. It’s a lighter choice that packs a ton of that cool, crisp cucumber flavor that you know you love.
I love eating this recipe for dinner, as it doesn’t make me feel like a heavy sack of shit when I’m lying in bed.
You can serve this recipe on top of toast, with corn chips, or simply by itself. It doesn’t matter. It would probably be good if eaten off the sidewalk, for Christ’s sake. Try it for yourself!
Greek Cucumber Noodles
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 large cucumbers, spiraled
- 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 2/3 cup red onions, finely chopped
- 2 avocados, pitted and diced
- 2 cups of spinach, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Cream Cheese with Chives (click for recipe), optional
Step 1: Spiral your cucumber noodles.
To turn your cucumber into noodles, you will need a device or appliance. I bought the Vegetti, available at Bed Bath and Beyond for a good price. This is one of those items that actually is as easy as it looks. It takes only a minute to transform the cucumber into those healthy, raw noodles. You can also use one of those spiral peelers used for apples or potatoes, too, but you’ll spend more and it’ll take up more space.
Once your noodles are made, take some kitchen scissors and cut the noodles into smaller pieces. You might think it’s cool that they’re long, but trust me, there’s no reason to have a 6ft-long noodle. Place your noodles in a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
Start with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Whisk those ingredients together quickly for 30 seconds until contents aren’t separating from each other. (This step can also be done in the food processor.) Add the minced garlic, oregano, and salt to the dressing.
Let the dressing sit for a few minutes, letting all the flavors fuse together. You may want to return to the bowl at least once to whisk the ingredients together.
Step 3: Chop up all veggies.
Do this step while the dressing is sitting. When finished, place all ingredients, including the dressing, in the large bowl with the noodles. Mix and serve!
If you like what you see here, why don’t you try doing one/some/all of the following?:
- follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl, where I post my day-to-day meals. I love when readers try my recipe, take a picture of it, and tag me or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see it. It’s so exciting!
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- comment below!
Thanks for your love and support. Happy Holidays!
February 9, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
After a year of veganism, I have grown to see pizza in a new light.
I’ve never been a huge fan of a ton of cheese on my pizza. In fact, I used to peel the cheese off 90% of the time. Nonetheless, at the beginning of my vegan journey, the thought of pizza without cheese forever seemed a bit tragic.
I tried to go the vegan “cheeze” route, but that was just a grave disappointment. I hate cheeze. You might melt, but you’re not cheese and you never will be, so please just stop.
Finally, I started experimenting with different base sauces. At that point, I finally felt like I had gotten somewhere! No longer does pizza require a tomato base and a cheesy topping. In fact, it’s a lot more interesting, eco-friendly, and humane without it. I’ve tried a refried bean base, garlicky coconut milk base, oil & garlic base, and now, a hummus base.
I can’t take credit for the entire thing. I had help from my sister’s boyfriend, Adam, who happens to be a chef. He gave me some great tips to help give this pizza the wow factor.
Oh, and before you begin, just know that making this pizza is somewhat of a circus act. Between the homemade GF pizza crust (optional), pan-fried chickpeas, cucumber cream sauce, and the normal veggie-chopping prep, you’ll be preparing and cooking several things at one time, so an extra set of hands would be ideal. Don’t let it discourage you, though; this great-tasting pizza is totally worth it!
By the way, having cute pets in the kitchen always makes the cooking process more enjoyable.
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
GF Crust: Bob’s Red Mill’s website provides my favorite GF pizza crust recipe here.
If you plan on using the recipe above, you’ll need the following
- 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 3/4 cup Warm Water
- 1 tbs flax seed, combined with 3 tbs warm water
- 1 Tb Olive Oil
- 1-1/2 cups GF All Purpose Baking Flour
- 2 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 4 tbs GF All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 can (or 7.5 oz) of organic chickpeas, rinsed and damp
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbs coconut oil (for the pan)
Cucumber Cream Sauce:
- 1/2 cup cashews, milled
- 1 cup cucumber, pureed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8oz of your favorite hummus
- 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbs olive oil
- lemon juice
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
STEP 1: Prep the pizza crust.
If you’re making the GF pizza crust, follow the directions here. Once you allow the crust to rise, or when you’re putting the GF pizza crust in the first time (to solidify), you can get started with the other prep work.
STEP 2: Prepare the chickpeas.
Put the chickpeas in a strainer and rinse. Place the GF all purpose flour, salt, and pepper in a sandwich baggie. Here’s the fun part; place the damp chickpeas in the bag, seal, and shake it up! It’s satisfying to see them coated so perfectly. From there, throw the coconut oil on a skillet with the chickpeas and cook at medium heat for 20-30 minutes, shaking the chickpeas around often.
STEP 3: Make the cucumber cream sauce.
To make the cucumber cream sauce, start with milling the cashews.
I’ve tried soaking cashews overnight to make cream sauces before, but for this last-minute cooking girl, it wasn’t an ideal situation. Not only that, but my soaked cashew result left me with cashew chunks in my cream, which was less than desirable. I found out that by milling the cashews to a pulp using the milling blade on my NutriBullet, I achieved a smooth, creamy finish instantly.
Once you mill the cashews, set aside. Puree the cucumbers until liquidy smooth. After that, mix the cucumber juice, cashews, salt, pepper, lemon juice, agave nectar, and lime juice together. When that’s all done, place your concoction in the refrigerator until your pizza is ready.
STEP 4: Cook the vegetable toppings.
Place the onions on a skillet with medium heat and the olive oil and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. After that, mix in your portobellos for about 5-8 minutes. Actually, the 5-8 minutes is an estimate, as I unprofessionally didn’t keep track. Squirtce on top of the mushrooms as they are cooking. Cook the mushrooms until they look like the picture below. They should be juicy and browned. Add in the minced garlic 2 minutes before you take the mushrooms off the heat. Oh, and don’t forget to squeeze lemon juice on them as they’re cooking.
STEP 5: Prep the pizza crust for final cook.
Once you’re done prepping the mushrooms, phase 1 of the GF crust should be completed. Spread the hummus as the base, place the mushroom/onion/garlic on the pizza, and place in the oven. The pizza should stay in the oven until the crust has turned golden brown.
By the way, I bought this cheap, local hummus from Whole Foods. Basil and Tomato hummus? It doesn’t get much better than that.
STEP 6: Chop up raw vegetables (if you haven’t done so already).
While your pizza is in the oven, chop up your remaining veggies.
The crust is golden, and soon, you will be, too. Take out that pizza and put the chickpeas and fresh veggies on top. Retrieve the cucumber cream, and by the spoonful, drizzle the cream on top until you’re satisfied. We like our pizza nice and wet, so at a glance, it looks pretty bizarre… bizarrely delicious, that is.
Yum! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!