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Spring Rolls

fall style

Story by The Cupboard October 23rd, 2015

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal is making a spread of small dishes - a table filled with an array of tastes, textures, and cooking styles. A spread that I can pick and choose each bite, creating unique combinations. Playing with your food is a forgotten delight that this meal is all about. It’s fun, colorful and is especially a great meal to share with others.

So, here’s the thing. You can really make this dish your own. Take 4-5 different veggies, cook ‘em how you want to, throw in your protein of choice, add some toasted nuts, some fresh herbs, and whip up a delicious dipping sauce and you’ve got a tasty table spread.

The best thing about spring rolls is that they’re meant to be eaten at room temperature. So I usually make the various parts throughout the day while I’m home working. The rice and seeds/nuts are usually left over from the previous days. It feels very hands off with a delicious pay off.



Rice paper (6-10 pieces)

2-4 Nori seaweed sheets

1 sweet potato or squash

2 cups purple cabbage

1/2 cucumber

Any other veggies on hand (green beans, chard, etc.)

1 small onion

1 beet

Handful of basil, dill, mint, scallions (fresh green/herb of choice)

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 jalapeño

Seeds for topping, like pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower

1 avocado

1 packet of tempeh

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp shoyu

1 cup apple or pineapple juice

Ginger Dressing:

1” ginger grated

2 tbsp shoyu

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil



Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1+ hour | Serving size: 2-3

1. Marinated the tempeh. Cut the tempeh in half and then into 1/2 inch slices; lay in a glass pan. Cover with apple juice (or pineapple), shoyu, and apple cider vinegar. Depending on the pan you use, you may need to add more marinade. Marinate for 2-12 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350°

3. Slice sweet potato (or squash), beets, and purple cabbage, into julienne cuts. Place in separate roasting pans, add some sea salt and oil (coconut or ghee); roast for 35-45 minutes. Occasionally stir.

4. Toast the seeds if you haven’t already. I always soak my seeds for at least a few hours and for up to 6 hours. Strain them. Take a stainless steel pan, turn the heat high and allow the pan to get hot. Add the seeds (one kind at a time) to the pan and with a wooden spoon continuously move the seeds around the pan. The seeds will start to brown and give off an aroma. This may take up to 5 minutes. The pumpkin seeds will start popping, as will the sesame seeds. Turn the heat down to medium. Continue for another 30 seconds to 1 minute to make sure all the seeds have been evenly toasted. Remove from heat and place into a bowl.

5. Satée the tempeh. Using the same stainless steel pan, pour enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the tempeh in the pan, cover and allow to steam for about 5 minutes. Flipping the slices halfway through. Next, add some of the marinade into the pan. Cover and cook down. Repeat until the tempeh is tender and golden. Set to the side.

6. Sautée the onion. Cut the onion in half (lengthwise) and take the root portion off the bottom. Thinly slice the onion lengthwise. Place coconut oil (or ghee) into the stainless steel pan, bring to a medium heat. Adding the onion in once the oil heats up. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Next, add the remaining marinade to just cover the onions. Allow to cook down, occasionally stirring. Taste, add and reduce more marinade if you’d like to.

7. Blanch any remaining veggies such as green beans or any dark leafy greens. Sometimes I julienne carrots and blanch them for a nice juice crunch. 

8. Make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a fork. Taste, make any adjustments.

9. Get the garnishes ready. Rinse the herbs; slice the avocado; slice the jalapeño; tear the nori into 2” wide pieces. Fill a bowl with hot water for the rice paper.

10. Create your spring roll by submerging a rice paper sheet into the bowl of warm water to soften it. The sheet does not need to be dipped for more than a few seconds. Lay it on your plate, add nori seaweed and toppings of your choice. I will note that you shouldn’t try to add every single ingredient into one roll, there’s just too many! Instead, make a few different variations. Have fun. Play with your food.

San Francisco, CA, United States