Asian-inspired Tapas Dinner – Spring Rolls and Lettuce Wraps

As you all may or may not know, my dear friend Fatman loves to eat. But what you may not know is that there is more than one Fatman. And my other dear Fatman was visiting from Beijing recently and we decided to get together to drink wine, cook, and catch up. One of the greatest things about having close friends over for dinner is that you can make them to help you in the kitchen. And with the three different tapas recipes I was trying to make at the same time, that help was sorely needed. So thank you, both Fatmans, for helping me in the kitchen and for providing the wine and good company.

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And here’s the menu: vegetable spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce, ground seitan lettuce wraps, and coconut milk and leek stuffed mushrooms. Now I have to admit, I wasn’t in love with the mushrooms, so until I’ve perfected them I’ll keep the recipe in by brain. But the lettuce wraps and spring rolls were great and definitely worth sharing.

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What you’ll need for the spring rolls:

  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 package thin rice noodles
  • rice paper wrappers

What you’ll need for the peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 2 TBS warm water

The spring rolls were definitely easier than I thought they’d be. I had a bit of a hard time finding the rice paper wraps, but surprisingly the larger grocery store chain had them hidden by the sushi counter. Once you have everything thinly sliced you’re really more than halfway there.

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Make the peanut sauce by putting all the ingredients in the kitchen ninja and blend until everything is smooth. After you have the sauce ready, cook the noodles, they only take a few minutes – be sure not to overcook them or they’ll get gummy.

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Using a shallow pan (I used a pie plate) with warm water, soak the rice wrapper until they’re pliable. Place the avocado, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and noodles in the middle of the wrap. Gently roll up the rice paper like a burrito. Use a bit of water on your finger to seal roll.

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What you’ll need for the lettuce wraps:

  • half head of cabbage, chopped thinly
  • 1 package ground seitan
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS red pepper flakes
  • 1 head romain lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 TBS soy sauce + 1 TBS sesame oil for dipping sauce

Spray a medium frying pan with non-stick oil (I like coconut oil sprayable from Trader Joe’s). Add the garlic and cabbage to the pan and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt. Then add the seitan, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

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Whisk the soy sauce and sesame oil together and you’ve got a sauce to top it off. Use the lettuce leaves as the wrap, top with seitan and cabbage and drizzle the sauce on top and you’ve got a delicious and healthy little meal that will wow even your non-vegan food loving friends. I’m still dreaming up other uses for my leftover rice paper wraps. This is a finger food at its finest dinner.

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One response to “Asian-inspired Tapas Dinner – Spring Rolls and Lettuce Wraps

  1. Pingback: Bun Bo Vietnam | California to Catalunya·

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