A healthy plant-based meal made with gluten-free rice paper wrappers, japchae noodles, sesame kale, and a cabbage carrot mixture (coleslaw mix). Serve these Sesame Kale Spring Rolls for lunch or dinner with homemade sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce.
If you’re looking for a fabulously delicious plant-based recipe for the new year, this is it. It’s easy (I promise!), nourishing, gluten-free, and vegan as always. I’m always so annoyed with myself for not making spring rolls more often because they are so good, and I feel so good after I enjoy them too. They are fresh and light, and they incorporate so many healthy veggies… what’s not to love!
For these Sesame Kale Spring Rolls I decided to include Japchae noodles, also known as Korean glass noodles, made from sweet potato starch (so yummy!). They are naturally gluten-free, but I also love that they are grain-free as well. I know that these spring rolls aren’t a grain-free recipe with the use of the rice paper wrappers, but whenever I can cut down on grains, I do it 😉 You’ll have to cook and cool the noodles before rolling them in your spring rolls.
The kale I use in this recipe is dinosaur kale aka Lacinato kale, but you could also use the curly kale. You’re going to trim the stems and use only the leaves for this recipe to ensure they fold easily. To also help with that, we’re going to massage the kale to soften the leaves with sesame oil, lemon juice, and salt. I find kale much more enjoyable to eat this way as well.
The cabbage mixture is cooked slightly in a skillet with gluten-free soy sauce, a pinch of ginger, and a little bit of rice vinegar. To cut down on the chopping and shredding and to make this recipe easy, you can buy coleslaw mix. I like to add green onion to this mixture as well. If you prefer to eat everything raw, you can skip the cooking part- but I find these Sesame Kale Spring Rolls a little more palatable when the cabbage filling is softened slightly.
Rolling these spring rolls is fairly simple once you learn how to do it. The trickiest part is to not rip the rice paper wrapper, so be gentle. There should be directions on the back of your rice paper wrapper package, but if there’s not, you simply submerge each rice paper wrapper in water for about 15 seconds (one at a time), lay it out as flat as you can on a wet paper towel or tea towel, place the filling in the center, then fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, followed by the sides and then roll from the bottom up to the top. Be sure to not let them touch as they will be quite sticky and will tear easily.
I actually made these Sesame Kale Spring Rolls twice because I tried to fry and bake them to make them crispy… and they were delish that way too, however, if you’re going to do that you’ll need to double wrap them so the filling doesn’t all come out in the process. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve these spring rolls with gluten-free soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce (my personal pick)! Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make these Sesame Kale Spring Rolls!
- 10 rice paper wrappers
- 1 package Japchae noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
- 2 heaping cups coleslaw mix
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons scallions/green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar/maple syrup (optional)
- 3 cups kale, packed (I used lacinato kale but you can use curly kale too)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Cook the japchae noodles according to package directions. While those are cooking, make the sesame kale mixture and the cabbage mixture. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- To make the sesame kale, wash and trim the kale, removing the stems and using the leaves only. Chop the kale into larger pieces and then place the kale leaves, sesame oil, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Massage the kale for about 3-5 minutes, until the leaves turn a very dark green and they are softened. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, add the sesame oil and garlic and saute on medium heat until it starts to turn golden- a few minutes. Add the coleslaw mix, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, scallions, and if you're adding the coconut sugar/maple syrup, do so now. Saute until the cabbage is tender and no more liquid remains in the pan. Spoon the cabbage mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to cool.
- Place a damp paper towel/tea towel on your counter or large cutting board. Fill another large skillet or a large shallow bowl with water. Soak the rice paper wrapper (one at a time) in the water for about 15 seconds until it softens. Carefully remove it from the water and place onto the wet paper towel/towel and get it as flat as you can without ripping it.
- Place about 1 large tablespoon of the cabbage filling, 1 large tablespoon of the sesame kale, and about 1/4 cup (maybe less) of japchae noodles in the center of the softened rice paper wrapper. The key is to not overstuff the rolls. Gently fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, then fold the sides over, and finally rolling the rest of it from the bottom up. Repeat this step for the remaining rolls, until all of the filling items are used up.
**NOTE: you will most likely have leftover japchae noodles. Simply store them in the fridge and use them in another meal later in the week!
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve the spring rolls with gluten-free sweet and sour sauce (my fav!) or gluten-free soy sauce.
* to speed up the rolling process I like to soak a rice paper wrapper while I am rolling another spring roll so it's softened by the time it's rolled.
** if you'd like to try to bake these spring rolls, be sure to double wrap the rolls and spray generously with oil. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes.