At just 33 calories each, spring roll wrappers deserve a permanent spot on your weekly menu. The ingredient list couldn’t be simpler: flour, water, salt. You can find gluten-free rice paper wrappers that work incredibly well too. Yes, wrappers make great casings for spring and summer rolls (as highlighted below), but check out all of the other ways you can enjoy them!
Soup and Salad Topping: Shred wrappers or cut into very thin strips. Transfer strips to a bowl and add a little olive oil. Toss to coat. Arrange strips on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake at 375 degrees for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Once cool, sprinkle over soups and salads.
Dessert Tostada: Arrange wrappers on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and sprinkle granulated sugar over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Arrange on a plate and top with fresh berries and whipped cream.
Huge Ravioli: Top softened wrappers with a mixture of part-skim ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, frozen and thawed chopped spinach, and Italian seasoning. Fold over one side and pinch the edges together to seal. Steam in a colander over simmering water until cheese melts. Serve with pasta sauce and grated parmesan cheese. For toasted ravioli, arrange the filled wrappers on a baking sheet that’s been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
Chips and Dip: Cut wrappers into triangles and arrange on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and season with salt and black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Serve with your favorite light dip or hummus.
Face Towel Noodles: Traditional Thai dish boasting noodles that are almost the size of wash cloths! Cut spring roll wrappers into thick strips; add to stir-fries with mixed vegetables and prepared Asian sauces, such as black bean, Thai peanut, spicy Thai with fruit (like pineapple or mango), or Korean sweet and spicy.
Vegan Sausage Wrap: Use softened wrappers as a casing for vegetarian sausage (made with mixed vegetables, wheat gluten, and herbs like fennel, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and allspice).
Summer Rolls*: Fill softened wrappers with a mixture of softened (water soaked) cellophane noodles, shredded carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, green onions, and cilantro. Season the filling with soy sauce and seasoned rice vinegar. Tightly roll up wrappers. Serve a prepared Asian sauce on the side for dipping.
Spring Rolls*: Fill softened wrappers with sautéed shredded red cabbage or cole slaw mix (seasoned with hoisin, soy or teriyaki sauce), cubed tofu, cooked chicken or pork, thinly sliced bell pepper, and grated fresh ginger. Roll up and place on a baking sheet that’s been coated with cooking spray. Spray the rolls with cooking spray and bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with hoisin sauce on the side for dipping.
*When making spring and summer rolls, for the best results, soften the wrappers in water (as directed on the package), use fresh ingredients in the filling, and roll up tight. Don’t soak the wrappers, just moisten them or they’ll be a struggle to work with! Then, place your fillings down the middle, leaving room around the edges. Fold over one side to cover the filling. Fold in the sides and then finish rolling up.
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.