SO FRESH: PAPAYA SALAD ROLLS

so fresh: papaya salad rolls via thefirstmess.comso fresh: papaya salad rolls via thefirstmess.comso fresh: papaya salad rolls via thefirstmess.commint for papaya salad rolls via the firstmess.com
I handed in my cookbook manuscript the other day and totally crashed afterward. I thought it would be this moment fraught with emotion and triumph, but really I just wanted a shower and a nap. Not a celebratory drink in sight! Also, truth bomb: the month leading up to my due date saw more pizza nights than you might expect. Combine that with the constant coffee, way less sleep, and you might understand why some of my sparkle has worn off.

But I also feel like I’m slowly getting integrated with normal life again. We’ve restocked the fridge and the weirdly mild weather has me craving smoothies, salads and other mega fresh preparations. I’d be cool with not seeing another pizza for a little while, so this lighter style of eating is suiting just fine. It’s exciting to have time for foods with no higher purpose besides enjoyment and nourishment in the moment.

So now that I have a big chunk of that project out of the way, I’m hoping I can be here more often. I know people are always looking for a little extra inspiration around holiday time, so I’ll be plotting away with that in mind. I thought I’d start with snacks/small party bites.

I was craving a green papaya/mango salad a little while ago and then I saw what felt like 30 pictures of summer rolls on Instagram. I knew that I needed to combine the two things as soon as I had a free moment. Tropical fruit selection can be unpredictable at some of the grocery stores in my area, so the only papaya I could find was a moderately ripe one. A more sour, crisp, and green one would have been delicious, but the ripeness still worked here. My straggly mint plant came through with the greens for this, so still a little bit of local love ;)

Holiday hugs. Talk next week!

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Papaya Salad Rolls Recipe (with Spicy Lime Dip)
Print the recipe here!
Serves: Makes about 15 full rolls (30 pretty halves)
Notes: I originally intended to make this with mango instead of papaya, but no decent mangoes at the store! If you have access to nice ones, they’d be delicious here. Also a great video on salad roll wrapping technique right hereIf you’re eating a large volume of these on your own, I’d recommend a couple of tablespoons of cashew or almond butter blended into the sauce. The dip as written can get quite tangy/acidic after you’ve ate 6-7 of the rolls ;)

Dip:
1-2 Thai green chilis, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Rolls:
1 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
1 cup cilantro leaves (with stems), lightly packed
1 large barely ripe papaya, julienned or peeled into strips with a julienne peeler
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium shallot, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
15 or so round rice paper wrappers

Bring a kettle of water to a boil and then take it off the heat. Let it sit while you prep everything.

To make the dip, combine all sauce ingredients in the blender and whizz on high until you have a smooth, runny sauce. Store in the refrigerator while you prepare the rolls.

To make the rolls, arrange the mint, cilantro, bell pepper, shallot, and peanuts on a large cutting board. Set your rice paper wrappers to one side. Next to the rice paper wrappers, set down a wide bowl that’s large enough to accommodate the wrappers. Pour the hot water into the bowl–it should be hot, but not too hot to touch. Place a platter or large plate nearby.

Take one rice paper wrapper and submerge it in the hot water. Soak the wrapper until it’s soft and very pliable, about 20 seconds. Lay the wrapper out flat on a clean surface. Sprinkle some chopped peanuts across the bottom third of the wrapper. Lay some mint and cilantro leaves on top. Fold up a section of the julienned papaya and lay it on top of the herbs. Place 4-5 strips of red pepper on top, and a little tangle of shallots.

Fold the left and right flaps of the wrapper in toward the center. Then, carefully bring the bottom edge (the one closest to you) up over the filling. Try to secure it around the filling as tightly as you can without ripping the wrapper. Keep rolling the filling up towards the farthest edge. Close the roll up and place it on the platter. Repeat soaking and rolling with remaining wrappers and fillings.

Cut the rolls in half and serve them with the spicy lime dip.

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