Lions Plate: Vietnamese Spring Rolls

By Shannon Deady
Columnist

Health food restaurants have become all the rage recently. Ocean Cafe, a chain with four locations in Monmouth County, has a special place in my heart. The restaurant has a variety of healthy options, and one of the most popular is the rice paper spring roll. The traditional Vietnamese dish can be served with a number of different ingredients, but my favorite is the tuna roll, especially since Ocean Cafe has sushi grade fish.

Easy to prepare Vietnamese paper rice spring rolls make the perfect healthy snack. (Instagram)

After discovering that my local Shoprite sold a pack of 12 rolls for just $1.99, I decided it was time to give rice paper spring rolls a shot at home. I am no sushi chef, so I stuck with cooked shrimp for my first attempt. The rolls were surprisingly easy to assemble and are delicious for a light lunch or a protein-packed study snack. Rolls stay fresh for up to four days in the refrigerator, depending on what you pack in them, so they are convenient for those who like to meal prep.

Makes: 2 rolls

Ingredients:

2 rice paper spring rolls

1 bag of frozen shrimp

1 bag of butter lettuce

1 avocado, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 tablespoon diced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce as desired

Directions:

  1. Follow directions on package to thaw the shrimp. If frozen, place shrimp in a colander in the sink and running them under cold water for about five minutes.
  2. Once thawed, place in a large skillet with olive oil and diced garlic. Cook over medium to high heat until shrimp are pink and opaque, or for about five minutes depending on their size.
  3. Slice tomatoes, butter lettuce and avocado into long strips.
  4. Follow instructions on rice paper roll wrapper for preparation. Most will instruct you to fill a bowl with warm water and dip the rice paper in for five seconds before placing it on a plate for rolling.
  5. Once on a plate or a traditional plastic roller, place ingredients into the middle of the wrap and roll the middle and then the sides as you would a burrito. Be careful about overstuffing rolls, as the rice paper is thin and easily disassembles.
  6. Put soy sauce in a small dish for dipping and enjoy!