Hello friends! Today, I want to share with you a simple, surprisingly vegan, dinner. I say surprising because I didn’t realize I was making a vegan dinner until Kelvin mentioned it to me. The salad rolls are Vietnamese inspired and the broccoli dish is something my mom used to make all the time for us as kids.
For the salad rolls you’ll need:
- Salad roll rice paper, can be found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store
- Some sort of protein, I chose tofu, but you could have chicken/pork/beef
- Lettuce, washed and roughly cut up
- Carrots, peeled and cut into rough matchsticks
- Optional: vermicelli noodles, shrimp, Vietnamese bologna, whatever else you have in your kitchen
For the peanut sauce:
- smooth or crunchy peanut butter, depends on your preference
- sriracha sauce
- soy sauce
- olive oil
For the broccoli:
- however much broccoli you want
- garlic, minced
- ginger, minced
- canola oil for stir frying (do not use olive oil because it burns quick)
First, let’s get started on the tofu.
As usual, cut your tofu into desired shape (for us it’ll be strips), and wrap it in a few paper towels, and press between cookie sheets and weighed down with a heavy object to get out the extra liquid. Press it for at least 1 hour.
I’ve realized that tofu sticks to surfaces when it’s cooking. So that’s why I prefer to coat the tofu with a simple breadcrumb mixture. It was a handful of panko bread crumbs, sesame seeds, garlic power, salt, and pepper. Then I tossed the tofu strips in some olive oil and pressed the panko crumb mixture into the tofu.
The recipe I was drawing inspiration from suggested a baking time of 20 minutes at 350F but it didn’t give it enough colour, for me at least. So I would suggest baking at 350F for 20 minutes, but then turn on your broiler and broil each side for 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it since anything can burn easily in the broiler. Take it out and let it cool enough so that you can handle it.
When the tofu is cooling, make your spicy peanut sauce. I softened up about 3 tbsp of smooth peanut butter in the microwave. Then I squirted in 1 tsp of sriracha sauce, 1/2 tsp of dark soy sauce, and 1 tbsp of olive oil to get it to the consistency I liked. If you want it runnier, add more oil, or have the sauce heated so the peanut butter melts. If you want it spicier, add more sriracha, if you can’t eat spicy, then omit the hot sauce altogether.
Now comes the fun part: assembly!
You’ll want to have a large shallow bowl or just large mixing bowl filled with cold water for softening up the rice paper. All you need to do is submerge the entire piece of rice paper into the water for a few seconds and take it out. Don’t worry if it feels stiff at first, it’ll soften up very quickly. Have 2 plates ready, one to roll on and one to place the finished salad rolls. My hubby was very helpful in helping me roll so that I could take photos. So the following photos show you his sequence for making salad rolls.
- Slater on some peanut sauce. You could omit this and only use yours as a dipping sauce but we like to put ours in the roll itself. We also added some sweet chili sauce because we love that stuff!
- Put the tofu strips on top.
- Next the veg: carrots and lettuce.
- Roll. Tuck it in first, like a sushi roll, fold in the sides, and continue rolling. The nature of the rice paper makes it self adhesive.
- Repeat until you’re finished!
Now to quickly finish off the broccoli. It doesn’t take long and if you have one, I’d definitely recommend using a wok to cook in. It heats up so quick and makes stir frying so easy. If you don’t have one, don’t fret! You can use any large, frying pan. Try to find a pan that is more deep than shallow so no broccoli flies out.
Start by heating a few tbsp of canola oil in your wok together with some minced garlic and ginger. Use as much or as little as you’d like, it’s all your preference. I had about 2 tbsp garlic and 1 tbsp ginger. Heating it together infuses the oil with the garlic and ginger flavour.
When it starts bubbling and you can smell the aroma of garlic and ginger, add in your broccoli and try to coat each floret with some oil. Keep your eye on it and stir it around every once in a while until it’s cooked to your desired done-ness. I like mine on the crunchier side but my husband likes it a bit softer, therefore I go somewhere in the middle, al dente sort of…
Turn it out onto a serving dish and you’re done!
Enjoy your meal and let me know how it goes if you try this out!