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Vegetable Spring Rolls

These refreshing rolls make perfect finger food for a spring or summer get-together; serve them with good-quality prepared chili and peanut dipping sauces (read the nutrition labels carefully before buying). Feel free to change up the filling ingredients as you please.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 7 oz. thin dried rice noodles
  • 12 rice-paper wrappers, each 8 1/2 inches in diameter
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup packed mixed fresh herb sprigs, such as mint, cilantro and basil

Directions:

Trim the stems from the mushrooms and discard (or save for soup or stock). Cut the caps into slices; set aside.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tsp. of the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have released their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook until the pan is dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.


Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles, stir to separate and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Wipe the pot dry, return the noodles to the pot and toss with the remaining 1/2 tsp. oil.


Fill a large, shallow bowl with very hot tap water. Soak the rice-paper wrappers, 1 or 2 at a time, until flexible, about 30 seconds. Shake off any excess water and stack the wrappers on a plate. Place 1 wrapper flat on a work surface. Arrange a combination of noodles, bell pepper, avocado, mushrooms, carrots and herbs across the center of the wrapper; fold the ends in over the filling and then roll up tightly from the edge closest to you. Repeat to make the remaining rolls.


Cut the rolls in half on the diagonal and serve immediately. Makes 12 rolls.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy in a Hurry, by Karen Ansel, MS, RD and Charity Ferreira (Weldon Owen, 2011).