The snow days are slowly coming to an end, which means we are days and weeks closer to spring. The sunnier seasons are worth looking forward to not just for the sun but also for the fresh vegetables that come in with the season. Farmers markets become much more colorful with the increased variety that spring crops bring, and each one of those vegetables are eager to love your body alongside you. With the increase in sun brings an increase in heat, which means hydration becomes more and more important as time goes on. If getting enough water is a struggle, vegetables can actually help with hydration goals.
Believe it or not, vegetables all contain water. Most of them are made up of more water than actual vegetable, so eating a variety of vegetables, in addition to consistent water intake, may bring the body closer to hydration. Since humans are also made up of mostly water, staying hydrated keeps the body functioning at peak performance. Vegetables contribute their water to the body’s need for water, and all milliliters matter. After hearing “eat your vegetables” time and time again as a girl, now there’s another reason to hear “eat your vegetables” as a woman.
Of the best dishes to enjoy in the spring, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are one of the most versatile ways to eat more vegetables. Any recipe is completely customizable to add in whatever vegetables the tummy desires. Take any vegetable and simply julienne, or cut into long, thin strips to make it easier to add to the roll. The more vegetables (and water), the merrier. In tandem with the protein from the shrimp (or tofu if you prefer), the energy from the rice noodles, and the healthy fats from the peanut butter, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls make for a great power-up for the days ahead.
- 1 package spring roll rice wrappers, found in the Asian food section at the grocery store
- 1 package vermicelli rice noodles, found in the Asian foods section at the grocery store
- 2 mangos, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded or sliced into thin strips
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 pound small, cooked shrimp
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
For the Peanut sauce:
- ¾ cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/3rd cup peanut butter smooth or crunchy
- ½ teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon hoison sauce
- Cook vermicelli noodles in boiling water, for just a few minutes, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Gather all topping ingredients together, including chopped veggies, herbs, cooked shrimp.
- Add about 1 inch of water to a large, deep dish, or pie pan. Place one rice wrapper into the water and let soak for just 10-15 seconds. It should still feel pretty firm as you remove it and lay it on your counter or plate.
- (It will soften up as you add the filling ingredients, but If you let it soak for too long it will get too soft and will tear when you roll it up.)
- Layer 1-2 slices of each veggie, a few shrimp, a few leaves of each herb and a pinch of noodles on the 1/3 of the spring roll that is closest to you.
- Fold the sides of the spring roll in over the ingredients. Then pull the side closest to you up and over the ingredients, sealing everything together tightly, and rolling it up like a burrito.
For the peanut sauce:
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
- The rolls taste best the day they are made, but they can be stored for 2-3 days. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and to keep them from sticking together. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.