Thursday, April 22, 2010

CEiMB: Kind-a, Sort-a...Not really...


I am crazy for spring rolls. I love how fresh and healthy they are, but with a ton of flavor. So when my turn to host Craving Ellie in My Belly came up, I immediately went for the Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce. I went to the grocery store(s), only to find that rice paper rounds are no where to be found...anywhere! Arrrrgh! I thought about a variety of substitutes, including the nori wraps used for sushi, but I just couldn't see myself using that for something as delicate as a spring roll.

Finally it hit me that the closest thing to rice paper would be a soft butter lettuce leaf. They're velvety and mild in flavor, plus you get the extra benefit of nutrients and vitamins. This was the moment that Spring Rolls became Lettuce Wraps.



Instead of assembling all of the wraps like you would a spring rolls, I simply laid out all of the ingredients for people to pick and choose what they wanted. I had shredded carrot, cilantro, salted peanuts, cucumbers, rice noodles tossed in sesame oil, chopped chicken and shrimp. I also made the Sweet and Savory sauce in the spring roll recipe, as well as giving the option for a peanut sauce and a sweet chili sauce. I used all three in each of my wraps!

The result? A lunch that I will have again and again! It's quick, easy to assemble, and I feel healthier when I eat it! Later that night since I hadn't quite had enough, I filled a bowl with the rice noodles, piled on a bunch of ingredients with the sauces and went to town. Oh! I love this stuff!

My apologies to CEiMB for not making the Spring Rolls that I in fact chose, but I really did try! Hopefully the lettuce wraps will make a good substitute!

35 comments:

Julie said...

I think the lettuce makes a great substitute! They look delicious.

Sweet and Savory said...

The lettuce is a fabulous choice. I could not find the wraps so I did not make them. Now, I am sorry. If I have time, after work, I will give it a try.

You set the plate up beautifully.

Barbara said...

There's a restaurant in NYC that serves these as a first course. You do your own wrapping in some lovely Boston lettuce...and they always included mint on the plate.

Natalie said...

Yum! These look so pretty and probably easier to wrap than a spring roll :) We've made lettuce wraps before but not in forever...now I'm craving them!

Kim said...

I think I like this better with the boston lettuce! These sound like a real treat to eat. I love the options for all those fillings and dipping sauces. You could totally pig out and not feel bad at all;D

Pam said...

This is a fantastic recipe and it's healthy too. The butter lettuce makes a fantastic wrap.

TeaLady said...

I hope you can find the rice wraps. I found them at Albertsons on the Ethnic food isle.

this was a tasty pick. I love Spring rolls but have never made them. Now that I know how easy they are I will make them often.

There are about 25 rice papers in a pack and I would hate to waste them.

Kathleen said...

Way to be flexible and creative. They sound delicious!

Kayte said...

A lot of the fun each week viewing the blogs is to see how creative people can be with subbing ingredients to better suit their styles, their families, their budgets, and the location or not of ingredients! These look wonderful, and I would happily munch on this for any lunch. Thanks for the pick, it was a good one!

AppleC said...

Great job on using the lettuce. The best part about reading other CEimBers Ellie recipe is when they "customize it". It offers great suggestions and different ways to enjoy the goodness of her recipes.
Super pick Teresa.

Lynn said...

Mmm, your lettuce spring rolls look wonderful! Great way to take lemons and make lemonade ;)

Alissa said...

These look sooooo good & I'd opt for the lettuce any day! Great thinkin'!

Sook said...

I like how you wraped the stuff in lettuce instead. That is a brilliant idea! I know how hard it is to find round rice paper at grocery stores. The only place I saw it at was at a Asian grocery store in Sacramento.

Joanne said...

Lettuce rolls sound like so much fun! I really like chard rolls also, you might want to try those for a special twist.

Deborah said...

A great idea to use the lettuce! I have a hard time finding the wraps as well, but a friend told me that she has to go to an Asian store to find them. But next time, I just may want to use the lettuce!

theUngourmet said...

I love the pick and choose idea. This look delicious. I'm starving right now!

Barbara Bakes said...

I love lettuce wraps. Sounds like a great way to serve them.

biz319 said...

I actually just saw someone make spring rolls with those wraps, and damned if I could find them either!

Then I asked her where she found them, and she said on the rice aisle on the shelf! I've been looking where the wonton wrappers are in my produce section.

Nice save though!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I have trouble finding them too - when I was in a market out of town I spied them - they are still sitting in my cupboard! The lettuce was a great idea - they look so fresh and delicious!

Liz said...

Loved them! I could not find rice paper rounds either...so I combined all the ingredients into a salad. I thought the flavors were delicious. Great pick!

thenotsoskinnykitchen said...

I love the idea of turning them in to lettuce wraps! I actually think I would have preferred them that way - I wasn't crazy about the contrast between the sorta soggy rice paper wrapper and the crispy veggies.

Jenn said...

Lettuce wraps. They're really great for substituting for those wrapper. I love spring rolls, too. I always order them whenever I eat out at any Asian restaurant. Yummy!!!!

Bri said...

These were great; thanks so much for the pick! Your lettuce wrap idea worked just as well, and they looked awesome.

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Lettuce wraps are sooo good and these look great! I too, love how tasty yet healthy they are. Great job improvising!

Katy ~ said...

Excellent twist on a great recipe. Now that I see this, I think I prefer your version. Well done, my friend!

♥peachkins♥ said...

This is such a yummy recipe!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
peach and things

li'l mil said...

That looks SO GOOD. I never would've thought to make them lettuce wraps...nice work!

Maybe next time you should try Chinatown? I bet you could find that rice paper somewheres in this great city...

Burp and Slurp~! said...

This is perfect for summer days! I love that I can choose the ingredients I want, and how much I want it to be. Lovely lunch! Can I have it for dinner too?

Simply Life said...

Oh those look great!

Elina said...

Thanks for choosing this recipe. I was a bit scared of this one but they ended up being really easy to roll and quite delicious. I can't wait to make more summer rolls. I agree - they just make you feel so healthy and fresh! :)

Erica said...

Great job! Don't be sorry- recipes are meant to be adjusted for your liking or whatever ingredients you can find/have on hand! I think these look super tasty :) Enjoy your weekend

ARUNA said...

Looks delicious!!!

roxan @ kitchen meditation said...

LOL, I love the name of your blog!

Diana's Cocina said...

Teresa, Great job! They look wonderful. Wish I had one! ;)

Mary said...

Healthy spring rolls...mmmm....delicious. I can eat a lot of that. Thanks for sharing. MaryMoh at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com