Since my Fitness magazine career ended a few months ago, life for me has been very different. My old life consisted of work, and pretty much nothing else. By the time I was done with work, I had zero energy to see friends, go to a yoga class, let alone cook dinner. I was missing out on a lot of things I love. While I would never have left Fitness on my own, (I loved my job, but unfortunately Fitness’s last issue ever was a few months ago) in a weird way, this whole experience has been a blessing. While my number one priority is to take this time for my health, to continue to heal from Lyme disease, conquering this thing once and for all (a full time job in itself), I am also able to do way more things I enjoy, like staring Purefoodlove!
Starting Purefoodlove has been such an interesting experience. When I worked at Fitness, I was an art director. I would have a vision in mind and work with many different people to make it come alive, and then I would design the story. Here, I am the many different people, the art director, the photographer, the prop stylist, the food stylist, the editor and the designer. Then there’s the whole website building and social media part. This list is kind of endless, and I am totally learning as I go, but I have definitely been enjoying it.
I have also been cooking nonstop, trying to come up with creative and delicious recipes, which is the most important part. Without that, I would have no chance of spreading the Purefoodlove and inspiring others to jump on the healthy food bandwagon.
Which is why…I decided to make spring rolls. I’ve never made them before, and I have to say, they are super fun to make, and even more fun to eat. They are like a blank canvas; you can put pretty much anything in them, and dip them into all different kind of sauces. This definitely sparked my creativity.
I decided to add baked tofu and an array of rainbow veggies, and some mango too. I made two dipping sauces, because who doesn’t like a little variety. One is a sweet and spicy garlic sauce and the other is a sunflower seed butter sauce (taste like a peanut sauce). I am allergic to peanuts, so I substitute with SunButter, but almond butter or peanut butter would work great as well.
I don’t eat tofu often. To be honest, I don’t really love it. I mean, I guess it’s what you do with it, because plain tofu is well…plain. Tofu, made from soybean curds, is a very good meat substitute. It is high in protein, low in cholesterol and high in calcium, iron and vitamin e. Soy products do contain a natural plant chemical called isoflavones, which can have similar effects to estrogen. There is a lot of debate about this topic, but overall everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb…even when it comes to tofu.
For these spring rolls, I did a few things to the tofu that made it really tasty. First, I dried it well, placed it between 2 plates that I lined top and bottom with paper towels, and then put something heavy on top of the plate to press extra moisture out of the tofu. I left it there for around 20 minutes. Then, I sliced it around an inch thick, and marinated it in a delicious tamari sauce. Lastly, I baked it until it got nice and crispy. Crispy tofu is good, really good!
While the tofu was baking I chopped all of the veggies: red pepper, carrots, mango, cucumber, avocado, and cilantro. All of the flavors work so well together. I love adding some sweetness with the mango to savory dishes. Not to mention all of their beautiful colors, you eat with your eyes first.
Now for the most important part, the spring roll wrappers. They are made of rice, are naturally gluten free and are super thin. I found brown rice wrappers at Whole Foods (exciting!), which is what I used, but any rice wrappers would work. You know me; I also search for the purest option. To make them pliable, boil water, and then fill up a shallow dish. Let the water cool for a minute, and then place one wrapper into the water until it softens. Be carful that the wrapper doesn’t bunch up or rip once it’s wet, they are very thin and fragile. Move the soft wrapper to another plate and lay it out smoothly. Place your fillings in the center, fold over the top and bottom, then fold right to left. They don’t have to be perfect to taste delicious!
These spring rolls will be your new favorite food, I promise. I fell in love with them at first bite. They are so light and healthy, making them perfect for the hot weather, but do not skimp on flavor. I’ve already made them twice this week!
- 1 package extra firm organic tofu
- 1 red pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Brown rice, or rice, spring roll wrappers
- Hot water
- For tofu marinade:
- 1tbs tamari
- 1tbs brown rice vinegar
- 1tbs sesame oil
- 1 tbs coconut water
- ½ tbs sriracha
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- Sunbutter Sauce:
- 2 tbs sunbutter
- 1½ tbs tamari
- ½ tbs sesame oil
- 1 tbs brown rice vinegar
- ½ tbs sriracha
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1 tbs water
- Sweet and Spicy Garlic Sauce:
- 4tbs coconut water
- 2tbs tamari
- 2 tbs brown rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tbs sriracha
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 1 tbs raw honey
- To prepare baked tofu:
- Remove from package, dry well.
- Place between two paper towel lined plates.
- Place something heavy, like a can of tomatoes, on top to press out extra moisture.
- Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Slice tofu into one inch thick pieces. Place in shallow dish with marinade for at least ten minutes.
- Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
- For the two sauces:
- Mix all ingredients into bowls, stir well
- For the spring rolls:
- Prepare all of the fruits and veggies.
- Boil water, and fill a shallow dish.
- Let cool for a few minutes, place spring roll wrapper in water, keeping it flat so it doesn't bunch.
- When it gets soft and pliable, will take a minute or two, transfer to another plate and lay flat.
- Arrange a little of each ingredient into the center.
- Fold over the top, then the bottom, then roll right to left.
- Repeat until your ingredients are used up, and enjoy!