Rice Paper Wraps: The Best Food Ever

Categories: Beet Reporter
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So I may be a little late to find out about these amazing foodstuffs, but the funny round plastic-like rice sheets have so infiltrated my daily diet that I can't help but share my enthusiasm for them.

Sure, I've eaten spring rolls before, at plenty of Asian restaurants. But I never thought to make them at home. Further, I never ever thought it could be so easy -- and cheap -- to put almost any food into a spring roll. But it is, and I do. And so should you.

I discovered these wraps while cruising the aisles of Whole Foods in South Beach. I was filled with grocery ennui, searching each aisle for anything vegan-friendly that I hadn't eaten before. To those in the know, this feeling is called "health food burnout," and it's a bitch, even if it is self-imposed.

When I saw these rice paper wraps (which also happen to be gluten-free) and impetuously threw them into my basket, little did I know that I was on my way to a renewed enthusiasm for healthy eating - for less than $3! I mean, they're really just sheets of rice and tapioca flour, but still, it's a good deal. Each package contains about 40 papers, or as I prefer to say, 40 opportunities to roll yourself a mouth party.

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A rice paper wrap, pre-soaking.
​Since the package is written completely in Vietnamese, I had a hard time figuring out how to get the rice rolling, so to speak. Luckily, a friend suggested putting the rice paper on a plate and running it under water, which instantly transformed the rigid transparent sheet into a pliable one, ready to envelope whatever goodies I placed inside.

As a first-run, I spooned in some organic quinoa, carrot, spring mix, hummus, and a dash of Sriracha. It came out a little sloppy -- you're supposed to fold the bottom of the rice wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides before you continue rolling. I mixed up the last two steps.

Still, it did the job, and I soon found myself holding in my hand a most convenient, tasty, and healthy little snack. I laughed to myself, thinking of the old me, foolishly dealing with the tedium of clumsy eating utensils like forks, spoons, and plates. I knew right away that this was the dawn of a new dining era.

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A homemade quinoa, hummus, and vegetable-filled spring roll. (I already bit into the one in back.)
Since then, I've filled these handy rolls with Gardein's faux meats, including their chick'n scallopini and beefless tips, as well as tofu, vegetable stir fries, sprouts, avocado, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, tomato sauce, spinach, and any mixture of the above.

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​They're good dipped in sweet chili sauce, but you can get crazy and use mustard, soy sauce, or just about any other condiment. I'm not one for frying things, but you can make these into crispy, decadent treats by doing so. All you need is a pan or pot filled with at least two inches of hot oil, and it's a go.

Next I want to try making an Elvis-inspired dessert spring roll, filled with peanut butter, jelly, and banana (I'll skip the bacon, thanks). Given the goopy nature of the ingredients, it might be a challenge. But I think I can do it. If not, I may just have to say goodbye to PB&J; eventually, I'll most likely eliminate all foods that aren't rice-wrappable. That's just how I roll these days.

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