Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad

After years of unsuccessfully trying to roll a simple rice wrapper, today I finally tossed the remnants of my pitiful efforts into the garbage and made a quick deconstructed version instead. The end result might be one of my new favorite vegan and gluten-free lunches – the Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad!

By no means novel, this salad certainly fit the bill for me and highlights some mind-blowing Asian condiments I discovered in recent months – Tsang Bangkok Peanut Sauce and Japanese Rice Seasoning. Over the years, my kids have also grown to really love mung bean (or “glass” or “cellophane”) noodles tossed with a sesame oil and soy sauce dressing, so I tend to keep these ingredients pretty stocked up in the pantry, which came in handy today.

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The bed of fluffy cool lettuce and crunchy vegetables tossed with sweet, pungent herbs of basil and mint are woven with strings of salty cold noodles and topped with extra cold, extra firm tofu right out of the fridge to make a really light lunch that is packed with protein. Glass noodles contain no sugar or cholesterol, and even though they are high in carbohydrates they have actually been proven to rate as a low-glycemic carbohydrate. If you’re note a fan of uncooked tofu, baked or fried would work or even edamame as an alternative – there’s no wrong way to do this. The best part is that the ingredients can be doubled or tripled and will last in the fridge all week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce (any kind will work)
  • 1 Persian cucumber or 1/2 seedless English cucumber, diced with skin on
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 TB basil, chopped
  • 1 TB mint, chopped
  • 1/3 block of extra firm tofu, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cooked Vermicelli “glass” mung bean noodles
  • 1 TB soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 ts sesame oil
  • 1 TB Bankgkok Peanut Sauce, diluted with 1 TB water to make a creamy salad dressing
  • 1 TB Nori Komi Furikake Rice Seasoning

Boil noodles for 6 minutes on medium heat, then drain and immediately rinse under cold water to cool temperature. Keep in mind the noodles comes in dry blocks with 8 to a packet so you’ll likely need to cook one to two blocks at a time and keep the leftovers. Toss with the sesame oil and soy sauce and let sit while you prep the components of the salad. Slowly mix in the noodles, top with cubed tofu, rice seasoning and peanut dressing.

Food Art!

food art Want to spend a long time doing something that nobody cares about? Try making food art for your 2-year old! Your incredbile artistic abilites will be totally lost on them. However if, like me, you have tried this and if, like me, you will continue to test the limits of your patience and creativity all in the hopes of getting one iota of a smile out of your little one, I applaud you. Today’s photo is a shout-out to Alisha for her breakfast brilliance. Robby claims he made the chocolate toast boat, so props to him as well.

Take It With a Grain of Salt, and a Smile

Amanda Profile PictureI am not a gardener. I do not sprout my own peas, grow upside down tomatoes, blend my own toxin-free home cleaners or room sprays, nor do I buy bulk dried beans and store them in mason jars. I have never marinated olive oils or made a wreath. I would love nothing more than to be that person. But I’m not. I don’t water plants. I don’t recycle containers in clever ways. I don’t follow directions well. I spend hard-earned money on unimportant items like a soap dispenser at the Container Store. And by the time I usually get around to finishing the almonds at the bottom of that $8 bag, they are stale. So why am I writing a food blog??

What I AM is a mom on a budget, a home cook, a full-time worker who spends two mind-numbing hours commuting on a train every day, a Virgo thrown into the mix, and a vegetarian. So I have the challenge of feeding three adults (we also feed our world-class nanny who deserves a medal for Best Nanny Ever Period so here you go Alisha – it’s official on my new blog!), and two young boys for around $100 a week.

Making sure that my family is stuffed and eating healthy, nutritious food is vital to me. Cooking the most amount of food in the least amount of time. This is essential. Meal planning.  I have First World Problems, I know. But I thought I would share with you my family and my part-time hobby that consumes me for more hours than I care to admit every week: FOOD. While life is chaotic, I always have the grocery store to look forward to. I take life and my cooking with a grain of salt and a smile, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

So kick up your feet if you don’t have kids… or spend 20 minutes cleaning up spat up pears like I do and THEN kick up your feet after the kids are in bed because you’re now too exhausted to enjoy a hot bath, and read my blog!