This beautiful mélange of fresh spring vegetables, herbs, and tofu is light, refreshing, and pairs wonderfully with a deep red dipping sauce. I like to serve the sauce with small spoons so it can be ladled into the rolls after the first bite. This allows you to enjoy some peanuts in each mouthful.
- 1 scallion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into quarters
- ½ bell pepper, any color, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 small yellow summer squash, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 3 large radishes, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into paper thin slices
- 2 cups rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup natural sugar
- 3 large cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 14-ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ x 2-inch strips
- 8 (8-inch) rice paper wrappers
- 16 baby spinach leaves
- Fresh cilantro sprigs or Thai basil leaves
- Reserved liquid from marinated veggies
- ¼ cup vegan fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons natural sugar
- ¼ cup finely chopped peanuts
1. For the Spring Rolls: Combine the scallion, bell pepper, carrot, squash, and radish in a medium bowl. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, celery salt, coriander, ginger, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then pour over the vegetables and toss well. Cool to room temperature. Add the tofu, cover and chill overnight. When ready to use, drain the tofu and vegetables. Reserve the liquid to make the dipping sauce; remove and discard the garlic pieces.
2. Fill a large bowl half full with warm water. Place a kitchen towel beside it and a serving platter on the opposite side. Place one wrapper at a time into the warm water for 30 seconds or until softened. Remove from the water and place near one end of the towel. Fold the other end of the towel over the wrapper to blot excess moisture.
Place two spinach leaves, face-down and overlapping, horizontally in the center of the wrapper. Arrange a piece of tofu horizontally in the center of the spinach and cover with 1/8 of the veggies, parallel to the tofu. Top with 1 or 2 cilantro sprigs. Fold the ends of the wrapper toward the filling, then fold the edge nearest you over the veggies and continue rolling. Place the roll on the serving platter, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, changing out water if it becomes too cool.
3. For the Dipping Sauce: Whisk all ingredients except peanuts together. Divide the mixture among individual serving bowls, and top with peanuts. Serve with the spring rolls.