My grandmother once told me “Every man should at least know how to cook breakfast. No sense in going hungry because you can’t cook an egg.” I took that lesson to heart, and she taught me to cook a variety of things. Over the years, I have expanded my range to include baking, campfire cooking, and my favorite, the wok.

Recently, the Mrs. got a great deal on some rice paper spring roll wrappers at our local Asian market, and we have been experimenting.

Just to be clear, when I talk about Spring Roll wrappers, I am referring to the translucent rice paper pancakes used on cold fresh vegetables. This dish is not the deep fried “egg roll” commonly served as appetizers.

The beauty of spring rolls is the ease of preparation, and the healthy nature of the ingredients. A side benefit is they are something kids can learn to make and enjoy.


Rice paper wrappers

Cilantro chopped “medium”. Little fingers need to be able to pick it up.

Carrots cut into matchsticks about 2 inches long and as fine as you can slice it.

Cucumbers cut into matchsticks about 2 inches long and ¼” wide.

Green onion tops cut into 2 inch segments.

Protein cut into strips about 2 inches long.

We use just about any kind of protein in our rolls, usually it is ground turkey or pork that has been scrambled in a skillet with spices. The downside to this is getting it to stay in place when assembling the rolls.

For kids, some grilled or steamed boneless chicken breast, or grilled pork chops that have been chilled and cut into strips about ¼” wide and 2 inches long work best.

To assemble the rolls, you need 2 dinner plates and your ingredients.

  1. Pour some cold water on one of the plates and lay a dry wrapper on the plate for 10 seconds or so until it gets soft.
  2. Move the wet wrapper to the second plate and start adding the filling.
  3. About 1/3 of the way up from the nearest edge of the wrapper lay
    1. 4 sticks of cucumber
    2. A few carrot sticks
    3. A couple of onion bits
    4. 2 strips of protein
    5. Some cilantro
  4. Gently lift one of the sides of the wrapper and fold it toward the middle and over the end of the filling.
  5. Repeat with the other side.
  6. Lift the edge closet to yourself and fold it up and over the filling.
  7. Gently roll the little package away from you until you reach the end of the wrapper.
  8. Please the spring roll on a dry plate.

Serve cold with a sauce of your choice

This is a great teaching activity for kids because they are participating in meal preparation using healthy ingredients, and everything is safe to touch.

If your child is fussy about eating veggies, having them assist in the meal preparation may be a way to overcome that resistance.


Easy Peanut Sauce

This is a quick way to make the peanut sauce often served with spring rolls.

All of the usual nut allergy warnings apply!

4 tablespoons of peanut butter (Chunky or smooth at your preference)

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Mix the peanut butter and hoisin sauce in a pan.

Add 4 tablespoons of water and heat on Low stirring gently until mixture starts to thin. Add more water a tablespoon full at a time until the desired consistency is reached. We prefer ours to flow of a spoon like honey.

Chill before serving.