I always love eating veggies, in fact that is how I got into cooking. I wanted to find ways to enhance the flavor of vegetables and make them even tastier. Lucky for me, my mom was a health nut when I was little, so comfort food during college was cooked broccoli and stir fry veggies. Odd, I know.
In working with kiddos, my goal has been to introduce them to new flavors and new ways of eating veggies that they might actually find appealing. The look on a parent's faces when they walk back into the kitchen after class and their child has eaten tomatoes (which they refuse to eat at home) or Green veggies is priceless. I cherish being able to share this gift with families and hopefully am helping to incorporate more whole foods on dining tables at home.
All of our students at Young Chefs Academy have made these Veggie Spring Rolls this week and they have been a crowd pleaser. Even my class of 2-5 years have loved making and eating them. You can stir fry any favorite vegetables add in some soy sauce and sesame seed oil for flavor and you are ready to roll. Of course the magic comes in when you let your kids help shred the cabbage, use a kid's knife for this, and shred the carrots with a cheese grater. Mushrooms are great to give children to cut since they are soft. My 3 year olds in class "sliced" the green onions by tearing them apart with their fingers. I suggest giving your child a bowl of selected veggies and 2-3 tools, show them what you want done to each vegetable and let them work. Of course grating requires some supervision ;)
Let you child(ten) watch you stir fry the veggies, if they are old enough, let them help to stir. Take note of the smells and sounds and let them take it all in. Once your filling is made it is time to Roll (pun intended).
There is a bit of technique to rolling an egg roll or spring roll. 1st let's talk about the wrapper. I used an egg roll wrapper because they are sold at most grocery stores (saving a trip to a specialty market) and they are thicker than spring roll wrapper making it easier to get the kids involved. Once you get the hang of it try thinner spring roll wrappers or rice paper.
Place the wrapper on a clean surface in a diamond, pointing towards you… Since pictures are worth a thousand words, check out this visual to guide you along.
A Few tips to consider:
- Make sure to drain any excess fluids from your filling- you do not want soggy spring rolls.
- Add in 1-2 TB of filling, you do not want the rolls to bust open.
- When folding, make sure to get out any air for a nice seal.
- When folding in the sides, make a straight vertical line to ensure a clean roll.
- Do you see the shine on the dough at the corners, that's egg to glue the seams closed.
Of course when you think of egg rolls or spring rolls you often think of them fried. Well, today we are focusing on trying to eat healthier so we are going to bake them but I promise they will still taste absolutely delicious. Before you bake them, brush on a little Sesame Seed oil (Vegetable or Olive Oil will work if you do not have this in your pantry).
My 2 year old daughter LOVES these so I prepared a bunch and keep them in the freezer so that I can make them for her as a quick lunch or dinner option. When you roll them up, place them in a sealable container, seam side down, do not brush them with oil or bake. Add a layer of wax paper between each layer and layer plastic wrap not the top layer of rolls before adding the lid. You can freeze them for up to 3 months and bake them from Frozen when needed.
Recipe for Vegetable Spring Rolls:
Vegetable Spring Rolls
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 cup green onions, sliced
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp garlic, grated
- 4 cups cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Dash sesame oil
- 20 egg roll shells
- 1 egg, beaten
- Vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat and add the green onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
- Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots to the pan and saut. until the cabbage begins to wilt. Stir in the mushrooms and stir fry for a minute.
- Combine the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl or cup and mix together until uniform. Pour the liquid mixture into the vegetables and stir together until the vegetables are evenly coated. Turn off the heat and drain off any excess liquid from the vegetable filling.
- Place an egg roll wrapper on your work surface with one corner pointing at you. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling into a 2 inch rectangle just below the horizontal diagonal line that connects the right and left corners. Take the corner nearest you and fold it over the filling, rolling it away from you so that the filling is completely encased in wrapper. Fold the right and left corners in toward the center, keeping it snug, but not so tight that the wrapper breaks, and continue rolling until you have 2-inches of the last corner left.
- Dip your finger or a brush into the egg and paint the edges of the last corner, then quickly roll up the egg roll.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment arrange the egg rolls on the sheet leaving a little room between each one. Brush the tops of each egg roll with a little oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the egg rolls over and bake another 5- 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce.