Monday, January 18, 2016

Frugal Foraged Spring Rolls Recipe- Vegan and Paleo Options

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I love getting food inspiration from my various foraging friends, because, while I sometimes come up with creative ways to use my foraged foods, more often than not, I just repeat the same methods again and again, which gets old.
The other day, I saw Leda Meredith post pictures of her sow thistle spring rolls from her upcoming book, the Forager's Feast, which really enticed me, especially since she had radishes and mint and cilantro in hers, all things that I have in my house now- mint and cilantro that needs to be used up already since I bought it a little while ago and its on its last legs, and radishes I bought dirt cheap (28 cents per pound).  And of course, sow thistle and chickweed are growing around my house in thick carpets.
Combine those with the other cheap vegetables I have in the house now (carrots and celery) and the rice paper wraps sitting in my cabinet for a while already and I knew that I'd have the perfect lunch to feed my family.
Doesn't hurt that I also have a bunch of peanut butter that I bought super cheaply at the scratch and dent store last week.

And so, here's how I made my delicious spring rolls, ones that the kids simply devoured and were dirt cheap to make. This is less an exact recipe, and more general guidelines- feel free to play around with it based on what is cheap where you live- no need to include foraged ingredients if you don't have them.
This can easily be Paleo or GAPS legal by using paleo wrapping options or simply serving it unwrapped as a salad. I made it vegan, but you can add animal proteins if you have them available and/or don't care about it being vegan.

Frugal Foraged Spring Rolls Recipe- Vegan and Paleo Options

Here's first what I used, followed by other options that you can use instead:

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Ingredients For Spring Roll Filling
Sow thistle
Wood sorrel
Wild allium flowers
Rice Paper Wraps

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Ingredients For Dipping Sauce:
Unsweetened peanut butter
Coconut aminos
Jaggery syrup
Apple cider vinegar
Garlic powder

Alternative Ingredient Options:
Large leaves: lettuce leaves, chard leaves, kale leaves, collard greens or any other large leaves
Paleo wraps
Homemade paleo coconut based wraps
Grain free egg crepes
Homemade gluten free chapatis
Mung bean crepes
Filling (any or all of the following):
Greens, whether wild or store bought, like dandelion greens or purslane, lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc...
Lemon juice or vinegar or something else that is acidic (don't use too much, just a drop)
Basil, mint, parsley, and/or cilantro (I've done without these most times, so if you don't have them, don't worry.)
Garlic powder
Cooked rice vermicelli
Proteins (chicken, fish, cooked legumes)
Dipping Sauce:
(In the following recipes use almond butter and/or sunbutter in place of peanut butter, coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce, and Paleo legal sweeteners to keep it Paleo):
Peanut Butter Dressing
Thai Style Almond Butter Sauce
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce with Fish Sauce
You can wing it with a nut or seed butter, a little something acidic (lemon, lime, or vinegar), a little something sweet, a little salty, ideally soy sauce or coconut aminos, garlic, and pepper (red or black) if desired, plus enough water to thin it down. That's what I did.

1. When picking what to put in your spring rolls, you want to ensure a proper balance- nothing mushy, at least a little crunch, nothing too big. You want mostly neutral flavored things- not too many sour or bitter or spicy things, but a little of each is fine. If you are using bitter greens, I suggest something a little sweet to balance it out, hence using carrots in mine to balance out the slight bitterness of the sow thistle. Grated raw beets would also work.

2. Chop up your ingredients for your filling. Cut greens and cabbage into thin slice, slice radishes and celery small, grate carrots and beets and other root veggies, etc.

3. I find it easiest to mix all the ingredients (other than rice noodles) together in a bowl first before filling, to make it more uniform, but you can also put the filling ingredients in one at a time.

4. Add a little salt (garlic powder, and lemon juice if using) to the vegetables and mix well.

5. If using rice paper wraps, wet one, let it soften a bit, and fill with your filling. Add your rice noodles in another layer now, if using. If using another type of wrap, no need to wet it first.

6. Fold over the sides, then roll up the wraps.

7. Mix your dipping sauce and enjoy!

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Ever made spring rolls? What do you put in yours? What type of dipping sauce do you use for your rolls?
If you're a forager, have you ever included foraged ingredients in spring rolls? If so, which ones, and how was it?


  1. Impressive! Definitely the best picture you've ever posted here. Nice!

  2. I love making spring rolls and my kids love eating them; what a great idea to use foraged greens!

    1. Thank you! What do you put in your spring rolls? My kids aren't the hugest fan of greens in general, but once I put them in spring rolls- they devour them!

  3. These are absolutely beautiful and mouthwatering Penny! Never thought of using foraged greens in spring rolls - it always delights me when you create dishes inspired by another culture. I can easily see these being served as a simple but fancy appetizer at a dinner. :)

    1. Thank you! I grew up in a home with pretty multicultural dishes, but I never had food from so many cultures that I eat regularly now, but at least I had that base from which to start off- having a diverse taste. I like the idea of serving this as an appetizer at a dinner!


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