Monday, 28 February 2011

In the Kitchen: Mediterranean Spring Roll

It was almost time to eat and a big salad was what we were planning to have for dinner. But soon, an idea came to my head and I just got going, preparing something else...well, pretty much still using the same basic ingredients for the salad. This is what it turned out to be - a Mediterranean Spring Roll with an Asian touch! The Asian touch is in the use of the rice paper, instead of a wheat-based wrap, and coming up with a sweet-and-sour sauce to go with it. This is inspired by my gastromic experience at 118 degrees.

Ingredients and porcedure:
1. 4 pieces of butter lettuce - wash and dry in the salad spinner; set aside.
2. 10 pieces of black olives, seeded and coarsely chopped (this replaces the salt)
3. 1/2 tbsp. parsley - finely chopped
4. 1/4 of an onion - coarsely chopped
5. 1 small clove of garlic finely chopped.
6. Prepare the vinaigrette in a bowl for the avocado salad:
     a. 1 1/2 tbsp. apple-cider vinegar
     b. 1 tsp. mustard with seeds (moutarde a l'ancienne)
     c. Sprinkle some herbes de Provence (or use Italian seasoning) 
     d. Season with black pepper and pepperoncini powder
     e. Mix ingredients "a." to "d." and let it stand for a minute or two.
     f.  To all the ingredients in step 6. "e." add 4 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, a little at a time, blending as you go along. Set aside.
     g. 1 avocado - half and slice the meat, scoring each half using the blunt side of the knife, and scoop out and place over the prepared vinaigrette.
 Also, add the other ingredients in steps "2. - 5." (olives, parsley, onions and garlic) and mix lightly. This becomes the Avocado Salad.

7. Prepare, measure, and gather the other ingredients  that are needed to assemble the Mediterranean Spring Roll, using the rice paper: 
      Avocado Salad  
     1/2 c. of carrot pulp (from 2 medium sized carrots after juice has been extracted for the freshly juiced fruit and veggies previously prepared)
     1/2 c. boild red-kidney beans (constantly available in my refrigerator, as a staple for our snacks, soup and salad preparations)
     4 pieces of butter lettuce (step 1.)
     2 sheets of rice paper - each sheet is completely immersed in water for a minute, picked up and allowed to drip for a few seconds. (Rice sheets can only be presoaked one at a time, then it has to be used right away. Then presoak the next sheet for the next wrap, and so on.)
Lay the pre-soaked rice paper on a plate  and line the center with 2 pieces of butter lettuce;  and fill it length wise with half of the sliced avocado salad, half of the red-kidney beans, plus half of the carrot pulp.
Fold one side of the rice paper over the middle of the top, and fold over the remaining side to overlap with the previously folded side. Set aside

8. Prepare the balsamic/honey sauce: In a small saucepan add -

     3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
     1 tbsp. honey
     1 small clove of garlic, crashed
     2 tbsp. water
Reduce under a low flame for just a couple of minutes, until it gets to a light-syrup consistency. Cool down a bit.

9. Plate for serving: Cut the spring roll in the middle section, diagonally, to have 2 halves. Set on a plate and spoon over some of the reduced balsamic-vinegar/honey sauce.
Voila! Bon appetit. This meal was served with a glass of freshly juiced apple, carrots, and broccoli.

I used rice paper to make this meal gluten-free (for my daughter who is a celiac). It is a complete meal with protein - folate, magnesium, iron, Vitamin B1 and manganese(red kidney beans); Vit K, dietary fiber, potassium,  folate, Vit B-6, Vit C, copper (avocado); Vit A (carrots), and some additional nutrients from the other ingredients. 

This is a saltless, vegan food-preparation.  

Another way of presenting this is to use the butter-lettuce leaves as the wrap for a lower calorie count, without the rice paper. Following the same steps above, prepare the following:
The seeded-mustard vinaigrette dressing and...
 assemble all the Avocado Salad ingredients and place in the bowl over the vinaigrette, except that this time dice the avocado, and add the beans and the carrot pulp all at the same time.
 Mix and have the avocado/kidney bean/carrot salad ready for filling the lettuce leaves...
 just like this,...
 then roll each side to overlap at the center, to make the Mediterranean-Leafy Spring Roll.
This can be served as an appetizer, to be prepared one at a time as you eat, to be eaten as a finger food. 

Try making your own version. Your labor of love in the kitchen can turn into something that is pleasing to the eye, very tasty, and nourishing.


  1. Wow! This is fantastic! I will surely try this with my family. I'm sure they'll love it :-)


  2. It's a sure winner! It's a good way of getting the kids to eat more vegetables. Have creative fun in the kitchen.



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