While we don’t formally do a “meatless Monday” in our house, I do try to incorporate vegetable-based main courses into our menu at least once a week. It’s so easy to do in the summertime, when nature’s bounty is being particularly generous. I’ve also made a concerted effort this summer to get my boys to eat something besides pepperoni pizza, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I’ve actually been surprised at how receptive they’ve been to all the changes I’ve made in our menus.
These spring rolls are chock full of vegetables and use a healthy oil – extra virgin olive oil – to bind the ingredients together.
This carrot slaw is something of a staple in Europe. I used to look forward to it being on my plate when I dined out during the 3 ½ years I lived in Germany. I also learned to make it while I was there from my downstairs neighbor. Somehow, between her halting English and my extremely-flawed German, (not to mention that whole metric system business) she shared her recipe with me. It’s fresh and light and great for picnics because it doesn’t contain anything that will spoil.
Best of all, your entire dinner is between 500 and 600 calories.
It’s a Wrap Veggie Spring Rolls with Carrot Slaw
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp soy sauce, plus more for serving
7 oz dried rice noodles
12 to 16 rice paper wrappers
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
1 cup loosely packed mixed fresh herb sprigs, such as spicy oregano, cilantro or basil
Trim the stems from the mushrooms and slice the caps. 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 (if you overcook garlic it will turn bitter). Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have released their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the 1 tsp soy sauce and cook until dry, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles, stirring to separate them, and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss the noodles with the remaining 1/2 tsp. oil and 2 TBS rice wine vinegar.
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 the excess water and stack on a plate.
Place 1 wrapper flat on a work surface. Toss noodles, bell pepper, avocado, jalapeno, mushrooms, lettuce, carrots and herb sprigs with fresh ginger, then spread an assortment across the center of the wrapper; fold the ends in over the filling, then roll up tightly from the edge closest to you. Repeat to make more rolls. Cut the rolls in half. Serve with Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce or soy sauce.
Nutritional Information: Calories 311; Calories from Fat 159; Total Fat 17.7g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 259mg; Total Carbohydrates 37.3g; Dietary Fiber 11.2g; Sugars 7.1g; Protein 5.1g
Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce
Makes one cup
6 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs rice vinegar
2-3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs chopped ginger
3 Tbs chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1-2 Tbs minced garlic
1 green onion, chopped (about 2 tbsp)
1 Tbs chopped jalapeno pepper
1 Tbs Sriracha or chili oil
1 Tbs Honey
Whisk all ingredients. Best made a day or two ahead so flavors can blend.
Nutritional Information: Calories 105; Calories from Fat 93; Total Fat 10.3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 227mg; Total Carbohydrates 2.3g; Protein 0.6g
2 lbs carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
5 Tbs country-style Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 Tbs minced fresh chives
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fit a food processor with the grating blade. With the processor running, feed carrots down the tube to grate them. Or if you don’t have a food processor, grate carrots on large holes of a box grater. You should have about 6 cups.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a nonreactive (use glass, ceramic or plastic, not metal) mixing bowl until evenly blended. Add carrots and toss together until they are well coated. Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
Let marinate at least 15 minutes and serve.
Nutritional Information: Calories 109; Calories from Fat 62; Total Fat 6.9g; Saturated Fat 0.9g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 560mg; Total Carbohydrates 11.8g; Dietary Fiber 3.3g; Sugars 5.4g; Protein 1.2g