No matter how many recipes you create, or experiment with, or just simply throw together, there are always tips, tricks and inspirations to be found by studying other people’s styles and approaches. The flavor and ingredient combinations are endless, and I enjoy opportunities to learn from others. For example, I loved the recipe for BBQ ribz that I found in Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill so much that I had to create a gluten-free version that uses similar strategy but omits the wheat gluten, which my husband can’t consume, and uses quinoa instead. The result is equally as delicious, packed with protein, great texture and flavor.
Past spring, I had a pleasure of reading through a new cookbook by Maria Koutsogiannis, a Greek-Canadian blogger promoting healthy eating habits, plant-based nutrition, fitness and wellness via FoodByMaria. The cookbook called “Mindful Vegan Meals” comes with a subtitle reminding us that “food is your friend“, and includes a story of Maria’s touching personal journey from an eating disorder to wellness, health and happiness.
Each recipe comes with a brief story that frames it, and makes it even more real, even more relevant. The photography is mindfully artistic, elegant and beautiful, making this cookbook a visually stunning experience. The content is organized in seven chapters that defy the tradition. Instead of going from breakfast, lunch, dinner mains or similar, we are taken through: Carby, Healthy and Comforting Mains; Back to My Roots (all about some great examples of veganized traditional Greek recipes); Energy-Packed Salads; Falling in Love with Breakfast; Fueling & Refreshing Beverages; Treating Yourself, You Deserve It; and Add Pizzazz to Your Food (because who wouldn’t) – words in parentheses my own.
In addition to offering some great Greek recipes, Maria takes us around the world with recipes inspired by different regions, including great Asian and Asian-inspired recipes. The one that really caught my eye was “Summer Salad Rolls with Walnut Beef and Peanut Sauce“. These are fresh spring rolls made with rice paper and accompanied by a dipping sauce. I love making fresh spring rolls and have enjoyed quite a variety of them over the years, so one would think that by now I’ve seen it all they have to offer. Not so! Maria’s recipe introduced me to a new variation on the theme that is delightful – using walnut beef and mango as key ingredients. The combination of these two with mint, cilantro, rice noodles, sprouts, avocado and pepper matchsticks really makes these rolls a unique experience.
Maria’s cookbook includes a nice peanut butter lime dressing and those types of dips in general go really well with fresh spring roles. If you are looking for some great and easy to make dipping sauces my recipe for sushi includes two yummy examples that will definitely work.
Needless to say I recommend that you check the cookbook out and see for yourself. The recipe below will help you make the “Summer Salad Rolls with Walnut Beef and Peanut Sauce” and it has kindly be provided by Maria’s publisher. If reposting, please acknowledge Maria as the source, and enjoy!
Summer Salad Rolls with Walnut Beef and Peanut Sauce
A little twist on a classic salad roll is up next! I mean, come on, how excited are you to try out walnut beef? After adapting the recipe and practicing it a few times I finally came up with this goodie! These rolls are slightly time consuming but when they are made they are the perfect snack to bring along to school, work or on the road. They are super easy to stow away in a container and enjoy later when you’re feeling up for a delicious snack. I highly recommend enjoying with the bad-ass peanut sauce I’ve suggested—it pairs perfectly with the slightly crunchy walnuts and fresh and creamy avocado and mango! Yum!
2 cups (200 g) crushed walnuts
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp (45 ml) soy sauce
1 tbsp (13 g) coconut sugar
½ tsp fresh grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp (20 g) hot sauce
1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste
10 rice paper rolls
3 cups (100 g) alfalfa sprouts or 3 cups (528 g) cooked white rice noodles
1 ripe mango, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of mint, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed
1 large yellow pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, shredded
Spicy Chili Peanut Butter Lime Dressing (Also included in Maria’s cookbook)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the walnuts, lime juice, soy sauce, coconut sugar, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, 5-spice powder and salt and pepper. Give the mixture a good stir and set aside.
Bring 4 cups (1 L) of water to a boil. Slice or cut any fillings you will be using. Arrange a preparation station with all your ingredients. Fill a large shallow dish with the boiling water and place a damp cloth next to it on the kitchen counter. Have a plate and another damp dish towel on hand.
When you are ready to assemble your rolls, dip the rice paper into the water just long enough to soften, 10 to 20 seconds, then quickly and gently transfer to the damp cloth. Add your desired fillings, then gently roll over once, fold in both sides and then roll again to seal the salad roll. Place onto a serving plate and cover with another damp, room temperature kitchen towel. Repeat above steps until you run out of toppings. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2 days.
If you are prepping these rolls to eat during the week I recommend leaving out the mango and avocado because they will brown and not stay as fresh as the other vegetables.
RECIPE AND IMAGES REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM “Mindful Vegan Meals” BY MARIA KOUTSOGIANNIS, PAGE STREET PUBLISHING CO. 2018. NO FURTHER RE-PUBLISHING ALLOWED WITHOUT EXPLICIT PERMISSION OF THE ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook through a community of vegan bloggers. This did not influence my views about the recipes I tried thus far and mentioned above.