There is something extremely satisfying about a rice paper roll. Though I love a good egg roll, spring roll, or any other fried package of rolled-up food, the lighter, cooler, more chewy rice paper roll is the one I crave more often than not, particularly during these sweatier months.
A few weeks ago, I was having supper with Lifehacker Managing Editor and renowned punisher, Virginia Smith, and we both ordered a round of Vietnamese rice paper rolls, because we are both very good at food. "Why don't more things come in these wrappers?" we wondered, with spicy peanut sauce dripping from our refined mouths. "Why aren't ALL salads in rolls?"
Why indeed? Wrapping a mixture of crisp vegetables, proteins, and fats — aka "a salad" — in a soft and chewy rice wrapper is a fantastic idea for a few reasons. First of all, you can arrange all of the components of said salad so that they are evenly distributed, ensuring you get a bit of everything in each bite. Instead of tossing the salad with dressing, you can simply dip, giving you utmost control.
Finally, there is no need for utensils, making these portable beauties a perfect packed lunch.
Because I love blue cheese, the wedge salad is a forever favourite of mine. It is, however a little unwieldy, does not do well served in a big bowl, and is pretty much impossible to pack.
By wrapping its various ingredients in a rice wrapper, I was able to wield it into my mouth much easier. Obviously you are not limited to the wedge — a Greek salad would be my second choice — but if you do want to make some wedge rolls, you will need:
Vietnamese spring roll rice wrappers (I like the 15cm size)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Strips of bacon, cut in half, cooked, drained, and cooled
Crumbled blue cheese
Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
Red onion slices, cut into 2cm pieces
Blue cheese dressing
A bowl of warm water
Prep everything completely, and lay the ingredients out in the order you wish to layer them in a your roll. Dip one dried rice wrapper in the warm water, and let it soak until it is just pliable. Lay the wrapper flat and fill it with your ingredients, leaving an 2.5cm of space at the top and bottom.
There are a few different ways you can roll your wrap, but I just follow the package instructions that come on the wrappers. Fold the top and bottom ends just over the ingredients, fold one half of the side over the top of that, then tightly (but gently) roll the whole thing up. (The first few you make will probably be ugly, but still delicious.)
Serve with your dressing of choice — in this case blue cheese sprinkled with chives — dip, and enjoy.