Kris and I biked down to the Milwaukie Farmers Market today. I had my lawnmower blade and my hatchet sharpened (both have received a ton of use in the past two years). We picked up some fruit and vegetables. (There were tons of strawberries available!) On a whim, I purchased a $1 salad roll for a snack.

“That looks pretty good for you,” Kris said. The salad roll contained lettuce and carrots (and a little krab with a “k”) wrapped in rice paper. It was good for me.

“It tastes good, too,” I said. And then I realized that this might be an excellent way for me to start getting veggies into my diet. So we picked up some spring roll wrappers on our way home.

With the help of my Thai cookbooks, I threw together the following recipe, which is pretty damn good:

J.D.’s Salad Rolls

In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of fish sauce, two tablespoons of lime juice, ¼-teaspoon brown sugar, one teaspoon ground pepper (I used cayenne — you could probably just use chili powder). Heat this mixture in a skillet. Add ½-pound ground beef. Brown. When the beef is nearly done, add one diced shallot. When the meat has cooked, pull it off the heat and set it aside.

Slice a head of iceberg lettuce. (Use iceberg. You’re after texture as well as taste. Your high-falutin’ lettuce isn’t going to work here.) Grate a couple carrots. Mix the two vegetables together.

You’ll need eight rice-paper wrappers to make the rolls. (Mine were actually tapioca wrappers.) Rinse a cutting board so that the surface is wet and set it on the counter as your work surface. For each salad roll, run the wrapper under hot tap water for a few seconds per side. (It should be rather “al dente” when you pull it away.) Lay wrapper flat on your damp cutting board.

Fill the wrapper with about an ounce of the meat preparation. Add a handful of the lettuce mixture. Top this with about a tablespoon of your favorite Asian sauce. You might use peanut sauce or Vietnamese sweet chili sauce. I used some generic Thai dipping sauce.

Fold the ends of the wrapper onto the mixture, then tuck one side over and roll it tight. Wrap in foil for later snacking!

These things are delicious!

It took me three or four tries to get the hang of the wrappers, but once I’d figured them out, they were pretty easy to use. I have grand plans to prep a bunch of these at the beginning of the week so that I can take them to work as snacks. Tastier and healthier than a candy bar, don’t you think?

7 Replies to “Recipe: Thai Salad Rolls”

  1. Lee says:

    sounds very tasty!

    If you have plates with a brim* (i.e. able to hold a little bit of water) then you can fill the plate with water and press down and remove the rice wrapper. The wrapper absorbs enough water to soften and the method uses less water than running the wrappers under the tap.

    Large lettuce or cabbage leaves also work if you don’t have any rice/tapioca wrappers.

    *pie plates also work.

  2. Nikchick says:

    Good for you! I love salad rolls and you’re absolutely right: great way to get veggies in your diet and much better than a candy bar.

  3. Blogeois says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. That DOES sound better than a candy bar. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  4. Paul says:


    Just to mess with you a bit:

    I’m very excited about the book coming out.


  5. Andrew Parker says:

    For your mower’s sake be sure that newly-sharpened blade is balanced, amigo…

  6. tim says:

    I wish I had a salad roll. I’ll have to give them a try. It’s rather ironic, cause I just posted the recipe for artichoke pizza (and I almost never post recipes). Must be something in the air.

  7. nate says:

    Hey, apologies for an unrelated comment, but as you’re one of the few blogs with a link to my site, I just wated to let you know the name of my blog has changed from “flirting with coherence” to just “emoglasses”, which now matches the domain it’s been sitting at for about a year. Handily, that names also falls on the same place in your alphabetical “elsewhere” list.

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