Family Foodie: Embracing the bounty of the season

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I LOVE summer rolls. Call them spring rolls, call them fresh rolls, just make sure to call me if you’re making them. Typically made with rice paper, rice noodles, lettuce, fresh herbs, shrimp or pork, and served with sweet and sour or peanut sauce, I order them every chance I get. Last year, my hubby suggested embracing the bounty of the current season and making them with winter veggies. Before that, I had never thought of doing so and I can’t believe I hadn’t. Why hadn’t I? Let’s do it!

I’ve made them several times since then and played with several seasonal veggies and I think I’ve discovered the best combo. With this recipe, you get some amazing richness with the sweet potato and squash. Some traditional and familiar texture of the rice noodles, a beautiful crunch element from the shredded cabbage and carrot mixture, and familiar, verdant herbiness from the cilantro and green onion. Very thinly sliced pork loin is our favorite protein for the rolls but if you prefer steak or chicken, they’re great too! We always have tons of sauces, marinades, and vinegars in our fridge and pantry to go with the many stir frys, noodle bowls, and rolls I make a mix of gochujang, soy sauce, and sriracha is our favorite.

I’m so thankful for the adventurous palates in my house!

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Winter “Summer” Rolls

  • Thinly sliced pork loin
  • Small sweet potato, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Small acorn or butternut squash, peeled, sliced in half, seeds removed, and sliced into half moons
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. rice noodles
  • 1-2 C. shredded cabbage and carrot mix
  • Cilantro and green onion, chopped
  • 6-8 rice paper wrappers
  • Gochujang, soy sauce, and sriracha, for dipping

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss shredded sweet potato with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Mound shredded sweet potato on half of a sheet pan. Lay squash in single layer on the other half of the sheet pan. Drizzle squash with olive oil and sprinkle both sweet potato and squash with salt and pepper.

Roast for 15-20 minutes, checking to make sure sweet potato doesn’t burn. Place rice noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Let sweet potato and squash cool for a bit. While they’re cooling, quickly sear the pork slices over medium heat. To assemble the rolls, dip a spring roll wrapper in the warm water for 30 seconds, then lay out on a clean surface with a bit of rough texture (like a cutting board). Lay out 2 slices of squash in the middle of each wrapper. Top squash with a couple slices of pork, 1/8 C. sweet potato, ¼ C. rice noodles, ¼ C. shredded cabbage, and chopped cilantro and green onion. Fold up the winter roll like a burrito but bringing up the bottom half up and over the filling, then folding in each side and continuing to roll up. Repeat until all the filling is used up or you run out of wrappers. Serve with gochujang and sriracha for dipping

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