- 8 small-medium soft lettuce leaves (like Butter, Boston or bibb)
- 1 cup carrots sliced into matchsticks or julienned
- 2 thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
- 1 cup red or green cabbage, very thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
- ½ cup mint leaves (2 to 3 for each roll)
- ½ cup chopped cashews (optional)
- 8 sheets of 9-inch-diameter rice paper rounds/wraps
- Chop/prepare all the filling ingredients and place them in piles (on plates or in small bowls) in front of where you’ll be rolling.
- Add an inch of barely warm water to a 9” pie pan (water from the sink is fine, no need to boil it). Moisten a clean tea towel (or use a moist surface or the rice sheet will stick to it), fold it in half, and place it close to the pan of water.
- Slide one rice paper sheet around the water for a few seconds until the whole sheet is wet (don’t let it sit in the water). Remove it and carefully lay it flat on the towel or moist surface, and give it 5 to 10 seconds to soften.
- To assemble the first roll, place one of the lettuce leaves in the center of the wrap but a bit close to you. On top of the leaf, add one-eighth each of the remaining ingredients (carrots, green onion, cabbage, avocado, cilantro or basil, mint leaves, and cashews).
- Fold the lower edge up over the fillings, rolling upward just until the filling is enclosed (as snug as you can get it without ripping the rice paper). Fold over the left and right sides of the wrap, and continue to roll it forward until you have a tidy roll. Repeat with the remaining 7 wraps and ingredients (keeping an eye on not using too much in the beginning, so you have enough for all 8 wraps).
- Serve the spring rolls with Mango Sauce (recipe below), whole or sliced in half on the diagonal with a sharp chef’s knife (if your roll is not tight, it might be best to leave it whole, otherwise the fillings may fall out). Refrigerate covered well; these are best eaten within two hours of preparing.
Filling options: Try these as well, just keep them sliced long and thin: cucumber, tofu, tomato, sprouts, radish, mushrooms, cooked rice, thin cooked brown rice noodles, jalapeños (ribs and seeds removed, very thinly sliced). You can also use soft baby greens instead of butter lettuce.
If you want to do a “peek-a-boo” roll: This is where a certain "star" ingredient is placed under the wrap but showing through on top. Add the star ingredient just in front of the other rolled-up ingredients, and then continue to fold the sides in and finish rolling. The star ingredient can now be seen on top of the roll (under the wrap). Often the start ingredient is small shrimp, but avocado slices work well instead.
Rice paper options: Rice paper rounds come in both brown and white. The white will look more traditional, and appealing in my opinion. You can also forego the rice paper wraps entirely and use lightly steamed collard greens (with hard stem at end removed). You may also want to get more than 8 rice paper sheets in case you break one or two.
Timesaving tip: To save prep time, you can buy already prepared carrots and cabbage in the produce section of your grocery store.