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When I first discovered Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin, I was struck by the author’s message of making plant-based cooking easy and accessible for everyone. As Roberto says in his Introduction, his hope for his book is that it “will make the decision to go vegan easier by helping people cook familiar comforting foods…” It reminded me of why I do what I do: the more people who eat vegan = less animals that will be killed for food.
Roberto Martin is the personal chef for Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, who wrote the Afterword and Foreword to his book, respectively. With that kind of star-power, a collection of easy vegan comfort food recipes (several of which use commercial products such as Gardein, which you can easily sub out if desired), and drool-worthy photos by Quentin Bacon, it’s not surprising that this newly released book is already a bestseller.
It’s my pleasure to turn this post over to Roberto who agreed to write a few words about his new book and share his recipe for Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.
|Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce, photo by Quentin Bacon|
From Roberto Martin:
I wanted to write a vegan cookbook that appealed to the general public. I felt that for the majority of people, most of the vegan food that was available was too different in appearance and flavor from the food that people were accustomed to eating. I wanted to share with everyone how familiar and easy vegan cooking can be. It is my hope that after using this book the reader will be able to make their own vegan version of any recipe they encounter.
One of Ellen and Portia’s favorites, these spring rolls are delicious, easy, and fun to make. Don’t get discouraged if the first one you make is a disaster. By the time you roll your third you will be a pro.
SPRING ROLLS WITH DIPPING SAUCE
From VEGAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES by Roberto Martin. Copyright © 2012 by Roberto Martin. Used by arrangement with Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 small orange
1 teaspoon minced or finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Dash of Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
1/2 head green cabbage, julienned
1 bunch cilantro with tender stems, roughly chopped
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, sliced on the bias
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
20 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 fat carrot, peeled, grated, and squeezed dry in a paper towel
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
2 firm avocados, halved, pitted, and removed from their skins
2 packages spring roll wrappers (rice papers)
Make the dipping sauce: In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, adding the Sriracha sauce, if using, for a little extra kick.
Assemble the spring rolls: Mix the first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Slice each avocado half into 8 even slices and set aside.
Select a dish or pan that is large enough for the rice paper to lie flat inside.
Inspect each rice paper carefully and discard any sheets that have holes or cuts. Add about 1 cup of very warm water to the dish or pan and soak 1 sheet of rice paper for about 20 seconds, or until the paper has softened but has not become completely “gummy bear” soft. Place the rice paper on a cutting board and rub it gently with your wet hands to flatten it and work in more water.
(1) Place 1/2 cup of filling on the rice paper, slightly below the center, working from the edge closest to you. (Where the smile on a smiley face goes.) Top the mound with 2 avocado slices.
(2) Pick up the edge closest to you and fold the rice paper up and over the mound.
(3) Fold the right and left sides toward the center.
(4) Pull the spring roll gently toward you as you roll it up burrito style. Protect the spring rolls from each other with moist parchment paper. Repeat the procedure until all the avocado slices and filling have been used. Cover the spring rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
The spring rolls can be made up to 2 hours before serving. If each guest is to have their own dipping sauce, cut each spring roll in half at an angle just prior to serving. If the dipping sauce is to be communal, cut each spring roll into thirds just prior to serving.
MAKES ABOUT 16 SPRING ROLLS