Crunchy Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

Crunchy Summer Rolls

I’ve had a terrible case of snack attacks this week.

Chips, fruits, bagels, yogurt, granola…uh, chocolate covered pretzels. Sure, that’s not all terrible but when you’re eating almost every hour on the hour, it’s time to admit to yourself that things have gotten out hand.

Not wanting to slide back into old, unhealthy habits, I knew I needed a veggie detox stat. It’s what I always do when I feel out of sorts. I had a plan but there was one more hurdle.

This week included a killer schedule that had me running all over the place. Getting to play around with new veggie recipes just wasn’t possible for me.

So, on the menu for this Meatless Monday was a super fast, super easy, super healthy mean-green dish that could get me back on track.

These crunchy summer rolls? Perfection.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

A bit of prep to chop, grate, and grill your fillings is worth the effort. Trust me.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Forget the rice paper. Go for big, dark, leafy greens. Not only are they packed with healthy nutrients, they’re built to easily roll up whatever you want. How cool is that?

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Having attempted and failed to roll burritos and wraps in the past, I have to say this was simply done. There’s no way to screw this up.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

Sweet and savory with a dash of heat? Sign me up.

Crunchy Summer Rolls

And bonus points for being so pretty to look at.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red beet root, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut in half if thick stalks
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in thin sticks
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 6 large mustard green leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ Haas avocado, sliced
  • Olive oil spray
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsps of warm water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (or fish sauce)
  • 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ¾ crushed red pepper (or sriracha sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsps grated carrot

1. Heat a grill pan and spray with oil. Once hot, place half the asparagus bunch in pan. Spray oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Grill for 3-5 minutes on each side and set aside with the rest of the fillings.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve warm sugar in water. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Allow the sauce to chill in the fridge.

3. Working with one leaf at a time, trim the stems. Place a small amount of each of the fillings in the center. Fold the bottom up towards the center, then tuck in the sides and keep rolling until the fit is snug with the seam on the bottom. Repeat with the rest of the leaves.

4. Place rolls on a serving plate with the dipping sauce and slice in half. Done!

Wasn’t that easy? You can customize this with whatever ingredients you want. I’m not a fan of tofu, but that would go perfectly here, as well as mushrooms, micro greens, or even quinoa.

The next time I feel that snack attack coming on, I can roll up one of these veggie bad boys. Problem solved.

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Do you have a Meatless Monday recipe to share?

As always, please feel free to share your comments below or on FB and Twitter.

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Golden Beet and Radish Arugula Salad with Pan-Seared Asparagus + BONUS EARTH DAY SMOOTHIE RECIPE!

Beet & Radish Salad with Asparagus

10 minutes. That’s what it took to put this beautiful salad together. 10. Minutes.

Beet & Radish Salad with Asparagus

Pan-seared asparagus. Doesn’t that sound so yummy? I can feel my stomach rumbling already.

And then you’ve got these beautiful golden beets. I’ve only ever had beets that were boiled or roasted. It was a little scary to go for them completely raw here, but I realized how silly that was.

For this week’s special Earth Day edition of my Meatless Monday series, I wanted to feature a quick, simple, nutritious, and most importantly, TASTY, salad that wouldn’t leave any sort of waste.

Beets and radishes pack a nutritious punch:

  • Beets are high in folate, manganese, potassium and fiber that help promote cardiovascular health, lowers your risk of cancer, and proper functioning of the brain.
  • Radishes are a relative of arugula and both are members of the cruciferous family which boasts cancer-fighting benefits, digestive health, and heart health.

When bought fresh, radishes and beets come with the greens attached. People typically hack off those leafy green tops and trash them. Note to the world:

DON’T THROW THE GREENS AWAY!

Not only are those greens edible, they’re filled with more nutritional benefits than the roots themselves. Radish greens contain much more protein, vitamin C and calcium than the small red bulbs.

Consider using them interchangeably with greens you’re more familiar with, like spinach or kale.

Beet & Radish Salad with AsparagusSomething important to keep in mind though is that you MUST soak these greens at least two or three times before using them. They’re covered in dirt in almost every nook and cranny. We don’t want to eat that.

Beet & Radish Salad with AsparagusIn an effort to go green by eating my greens, I’m sharing TWO recipes here using both the roots and leaves in different ways. I saved the beet greens for a saute later this week. Maybe I’ll make some tacos out of them? Now…there’s an idea.

Golden Beet & Radish Salad with Pan-Seared Asparagus

INGREDIENTS

Servings: 2

  • 4 cups of fresh arugula, rinsed
  • 1 large (or 2 small) fresh golden beets, greens trimmed (make sure to soak and remove dirt), peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 radishes, greens trimmed (make sure to soak and remove dirt), sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus spears, cut into thirds
  • ½ cup of garbanzo beans, (if using canned beans, make sure to rinse and drain first)
  • 2 tbsps goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic glaze or vinegar (try to go for the glaze if available)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prep all veggies, by soaking beets and radishes (greens too!), and slicing thinly with either a mandoline or very sharp knife.

2. In a small bowl, mix asparagus with the oil, salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high flame. Once hot, add the asparagus and spread evenly across the pan. Allow it to cook on one side for 3-4 minutes or until they start to brown. Flip over and cook on the other side. You want to make sure they sear but don’t burn.

Beet & Radish Salad with Asparagus

3. Prepare salad in a large serving bowl. Add arugula, sliced beets and radishes, beans, crumbled goat cheese, and seared asparagus. Toss together and presto- you’re done!

Earth Day 5

BONUS RECIPE!

MANGO PINEAPPLE RADISH GREENS SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup of frozen mango
  • ½ cup of frozen pineapple
  • 2 tbsps hemp protein powder (you can sub in your favorite protein or flax seeds, chia seeds, etc)
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 cups radish greens, soaked 3 times (so much dirt trapped in there!) and drained

Blend well together and you’ve got yourself a powerful nutrient-packed smoothie. And pat yourself on the back for not wasting any part of that produce by throwing it away.

Earth Day 7

Looking for more radish or beet greens recipes? Check out these yummy ideas:

What do you do with your greens?

How are you going green for Earth Day?

Take part in the Meatless Monday Thunderclap by pledging here!

By taking the Meatless Monday pledge this Earth Day, you’ll:

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

(Shared from Meatless Monday Earth Day initiative)

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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Smoky Chipotle Black Bean & Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

There are some things that are just meant to go together.

Peanut butter and chocolate. Bagels and cream cheese. Yogurt and granola.

You get the point. They combine to make a perfect medley of texture and flavor, hitting all the notes that keep you coming back for more.

Black beans and sweet potatoes are a marriage made in heaven. I’ve featured several recipes with this glorious combination and as much as I wanted to try something different for this Meatless Monday, I decided to just go with it. Besides, I had it on hand and I was hungry.

Sweet Potatoes

Now, let’s talk about tacos. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to make while sticking to a budget, than tacos are your friend.

You can keep it light by using fresh produce that’s in season, nutrient-rich greens, and heart-healthy avocado. Also, be sure to pick corn tortillas over flour. They have fewer calories (about 90 cal each) and a great chewy texture. The bonus is that it’s gluten free for those of you following that diet.

With my key ingredients in mind, I chose to go with a black bean, mushroom, and red pepper saute that I spiced up with ground chipotle. Canned chipotles in adobo sauce would be a great addition if you have it on  hand. Just be mindful of the amount of adobo sauce you use, and make sure to remove the seeds of the peppers before adding them to your dish. Unless you like the kind of heat that makes your eyes water and underarms sweat, then by all means, have at it.

Roasting the sweet potatoes brings out their natural sweetness while the cayenne gives it an extra kick. The cabbage and cilantro gives a nice crunch with a bit of lemony tanginess to  contrast the sweet and smoky. Altogether, it’s a kick-butt combo.

The best part is that these tacos pack a nutritious punch:

  • Vitamin A and C in the sweet potatoes and red peppers help boost your immunity, vision, and provide cancer fighting antioxidants.
  • Fiber in the avocado and black beans not only keep you feeling full longer, but it also protects you from cardiovascular disease by lowering your cholesterol, along with many other health benefits.
  • A cup of cabbage yields about 80% of your vitamin K DV, which supports bone health and plays a key role in blood clotting.

Why go out for tacos when you can make this delicious and healthy option at home for a fraction of the cost? Makes sense to me.

INGREDIENTS

Serving 4, 2 tacos each

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of diced bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Haas avocado, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro, cleaned and trimmed
  • 8 white corn tortillas
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, separated
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of naranja agria marinade (aka bitter orange or lime juice if unavailable)
  • 2 tsp of salt, separated
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil, add sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of salt, cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper; mix well. Place sheet in oven and bake for approx 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender.

2. While potatoes are baking, heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium flame. Cook the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, but be careful not to burn them otherwise you’ll end up with a bitter flavor! Add mushrooms and red peppers, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Once the veggies have softened, throw in the rinsed beans along with the paste, salt, chipotle, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix everything together and allow it to cook for 8-10 minutes. About halfway through, add the bitter orange marinade (or lime juice). Remove from heat.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

3. Now comes the fun part! Make sure you have all of your taco toppings ready on the side for easy prep. Turn on a burner to low-medium flame. Working with one tortilla at a time, carefully place it over the flame using tongs. Once you see the edges darken and it puffs up in the center, then flip it over. Cook each side for about 1-2 minutes. Place on serving plate.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

4. Spoon about 1 tbsp of black bean and mushrooms, along with 1 tbsp of sweet potatoes on each tortilla. Top with sliced cabbage, avocado, and a small handful of cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top if you have it, or just enjoy it as is.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

I was a little hungry so I had three of these bad boys. How could I resist?

All that’s missing is a frozen margarita….but I’ll save that for another time. Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner after all.

What’s your favorite taco combination?

I’m always looking for something new, so please feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments below or on FB and Twitter!

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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