These beauties are like burritos, but so much better for you.
Not feeling a salad today? Even wellness chef Charles Chen can sympathize. When he wants to get a nice portion of fresh veggies but isn’t in the mood for a salad, he whips up these classic veggie summer rolls.
Chen is a chef, entrepreneur, and vivacious host of the online cooking show Kitchen Hustle, where “hustlers learn how to fuel their passions.” Throughout his childhood, Chen struggled with his health. As a teenager, he was prediabetic and a self-proclaimed couch potato who had no energy or motivation to make healthier choices. After hitting what he calls his “rock bottom moment,” he reclaimed his health, lost more than 100 pounds, and now helps others fuel their “bodies, mind, and spirit starting in the kitchen.”
A summer roll (not to be confused with the crunchy, deep-fried spring roll) is a fresh roll rolled in transparent rice paper and filled with julienned veggies (here’s how to julienne carrots, cucumber, and other vegetables), herbs, and often some type of protein. Chen uses tofu in this recipe, but you can also use pre-cooked and chilled shrimp or chicken.
In fact, you can put just about anything in a summer roll. Not a fan of bell peppers or cucumbers? Try red cabbage, slivered beets, asparagus, or sliced radishes. Anti cilantro? Try basil or mint. Picky about vegetables? Get fruity instead with sliced mango or papaya. Not a fan of scallions? Add flavor with fresh ginger or with a fun sauce, like a Thai peanut sauce or Chen’s basil cream sauce.
And yes, avocado fans. You can definitely throw in some avocado.
- 5 rice paper wrappers (22 cm papers)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 (14 oz) package of tofu
- 1/2 a red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/2 a long English cucumber, julienned
- 1 cup of baby spinach, chiffonaded
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- reduced-sodium soy sauce, for serving
InstructionsSoak a single rice paper in the hot water until it's completely soft and flexible. This could take anywhere from a few seconds to more than 30 seconds depending on the brand/type of rice paper. I have best results soaking them for about 30 seconds. Gently shake the excess water from the rice paper, lay it straight out onto your work space. Let it sit for about 30 seconds to absorb any excess water, The papers won't stick together properly if they're really wet. Sprinkle some sesame seeds in the center of the wrap. Lay the julienned vegetables down in the middle of the wrap. Use approximately ‚Öï of each ingredients per wrap (use a little more or a little less depending on how many wraps you want to make and how big you'd like them to be.) I like to fill mine with a little bit of spinach, lots of cucumber and carrot, a little red pepper, and lots of tofu topped with a sprinkle of green onion. Try to keep the fillings laid neatly, making sure to leave ample room on each side to easily fold the wrap.
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Charles Chen is a chef, host, and wellness expert based in Los Angeles and New York City.
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My name is Charles Chen.
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I am a wellness chef.
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I gained over 100 pounds.
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I was prediabetic, I had heart problems.
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Food actually saved my life.
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I transformed my life through food.
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When you go on a healthy journey
sometimes you fall off the wagon.
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I've been there many times myself.
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So I wanted to share with you guys
a recipe that is sometimes frustrating but
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I promise you you, guys are gonna get it.
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These are my summer rolls which are filled
with veggies, a great way to get your pack
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full of nutrition in without eating all
your salads and boring rabbit food.
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So these are rice wrappers I got
from my local Asian supermarket.
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Just like these rolls,
sometimes they're a little tricky but
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once you get the hang of it,
its all about progress, not perfection.
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So let's get into this.
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we're gonna place our little rice
wrapper right into the water.
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Sometimes they rip.
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It's not about perfection,
but just have fun with it.
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All right, it's getting nice and soft.
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Once you kind of feel it,
you can bring it out just like this.
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I'm gonna start off with our sesame seeds
because sesame seeds are going to look so
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I'm now gonna add in our tofu.
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You can do this with nice protein.
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If you want to add chicken,
you can add chicken.
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This is just the foundation for this dish.
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And I'm adding in some bell peppers.
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This is the works!
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Going back to playing with your food,
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All right, some carrots on top for
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Some cucumbers for that added crunch and
cooling effect cuz it's so
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hot during the summertime.
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I got some spinach here for
some added color and
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some phytonutrients and
veggies, some green onions.
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These are scallions if you want,
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So I'm gonna show you how to do this.
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So we're gonna roll our first roll.
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Get the ends right here and
roll very tight, tight.
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And pull back, pull everything back.
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Pull all your veggies back.
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And then go in like that.
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Make one roll.
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And we're gonna bring in the sides,
almost like a burrito.
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Sides come in like that.
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And then we're just gonna keep rolling.
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And the way that it sticks is with water.
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So you can put some water back
in here if it's drying up.
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If it's been sitting too long,
it gets hard.
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So we're gonna put some water and
we're just gonna roll.
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So much fun, and it looks so fancy.
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You see how the sesame
seeds are showing now?
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That looks so good.
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Ooh, that wasn't too hard, is it?
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Look how beautiful that is.
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You see the sesame seeds,
see all the rainbow of colors, cucumbers,
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spinach, carrots, so delicious.
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All right, this is my finished product.
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This is my summer rainbow rolls with
reduced sodium soy sauce and sesame seeds.
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I hope you guys enjoy.
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And remember, this healthy journey is not
about perfection, it's about progress.
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It's not always gonna be easy,
but always do your best.
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