Maple Bourbon Chopped Salad Pork Spring Rolls

This recipe is a fun little twist on a recipe I recently posted about using a new salad kit I picked up at HyVee.  It is the Taylor Farms Maple Bourbon and Bacon Chopped Salad Kit.  What is different is that I didn’t use the kit to make a salad, but instead used it to make spring rolls!  I absolutely love fresh Vietnamese spring rolls – so the opportunity to do my own version of this was a welcome challenge.  These were the first ever spring rolls that I have made!  Let’s see how I did it – and how they turned out.

 

Prep Area
Prep Area

Ingredients:

Rice Paper

1 Taylor Farms Maple Bourbon and Bacon Chopped Salad Kit

Hormel Herb Pork Tenderloin

Fresh cilantro (use only a small amount – it is part of each roll)

Fresh basil (use only a small amount – it is part of each roll)

1 Bunch of scallions

1 package of Knorr Rice Sides (your choice of flavor)

 

Instructions:

  1. Start with your pork tenderloin. It will take 40 mins or so to cook.  This depends entirely on your oven, but you want it to hit 160 degrees.  The meat thermometer is your friend here.  Once it is done, you’ll want to let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Prep the pork. I like to do this when it is at least slightly warm because at that point it cuts easier in finer slices.  To prep the pork tenderloin I cut across and make slices that are ¼ inch thick.  Then each piece I cut into ¼” segments so you have ¼” square pieces of pork that can be used for packing the roll.
  3. When you are about 20 mins from being ready to serve, start the Knorr rice. I used the “herb and butter flavor for this.
  4. Prepare the vegetables and herbs.
    1. Slice the scallions finely – reserve in a bowl
    2. Roughly chop the basil and cilantro, mix together, and reserve in a bowl.
  5. Prepare the salad – Put salad in a bowl and put the bacon and nuts in a bowl together to use as ingredients on the spring roll.
  6. Reserve the maple bourbon sauce for a dipping sauce for the finished spring rolls.
  7. OK, NOW we are ready to make a spring roll. Here’s how we’re going to do it:
    1. Get a pan that is large enough to accommodate the rice paper. Rice paper is hard when you pull it out of the package.  So you dip the rice paper in the water, submerge it with your hand for a moment to make sure it gets fully covered – and slightly starts to soften. Then pull it out, letting excess water drip off and move it to your prep station.
    2. Start by pulling some of the chopped salad mix out of the bag – a half of a handful – and arrange it in a row on the end of the rice paper closest to you, about an inch from edge. You want this to match the intended length of the spring roll – so perhaps 4-5 inches.
    3. Next add a few pieces of pork and arrange it NEXT to the chopped salad mix with about ½” of space between the two rows.
    4. Sprinkle scallions, basil, cilantro, nuts and bacon bits liberally over the rows.
    5. Now is the time to roll it up! Start by tightly, but carefully folding the rice paper over the chopped salad, then fold the ends over, and roll over the pork, and finally roll it out to the end of the rice paper.  Voila! Done! You have made a spring roll!
  8. Put the Maple bourbon dressing in a small container for a dipping sauce
  9. Plate up the rice, spring rolls and sauce and serve! Bon appetite!

 

Notes:

This is not a hot dish – the spring rolls are served cold or room temperature.  So you can cook the pork tenderloin ahead of time and prepare it as you are making the remainder of the dish.

Rice paper can be purchased in most any large grocery store.  I found it at Cub.  It comes in a round package about the size of a Frisbee.  (You all remember those, right?- Frisbees?)

A Word of caution – the rolls pictured, in retrospect, are too long. I would shorten them by an inch to give you more rice paper on the ends to fold over – it leads to a tighter wrap, and with no vermicelli in here as a binder, you have to get these relatively tight.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with ingredients here –  what I have given you is simply a template.  You can include rice, carrots, cucumber, avocado, any other vegetable you want!  Try adding a little rice wine vinegar to the salad, or anything else your heart desires.  Let your taste buds be your guide.

 

Final Thoughts on a New Thing:

So how did they turn out?   Well, I would say they were pretty good – and tasted great.  I think next time I will add in cucumber or avacado for sure and probably a little vermicelli .

They could be improved by better rolling techniques.  They were a little loose and without some kind of binder ingredient, they tended to dump some of the lettuce out of the section that I cut. I did some research to find out what I can do to make it work better – did a couple tests on leftovers and sure enough, it turns out Vietnamese chefs actually know how to cook Vietnamese food!  Fancy that, eh?

So how I have walked through how to roll the spring rolls reflects what I have learned since.  Additionally, the rolls shouldn’t need to be cut – so one piece of rice paper for one 4-5inch roll should work just fine!

 

Alternative Spin:

Once you have learned how to do spring rolls with this easy learning kit – then you can step it up and do something more traditional.  Here’s how I would do it:

  • Substitute in vermicelli rice noodles for the salad – or use both!!
  • Continue using the basil and cilantro
  • Add in fresh slices of cucumber or avocado – slice thinly to fit in the roll.
  • Add in shrimp that are flayed in half with the orange side to the exterior of the wrapper. (this is done for presentation – beautiful food is where it is at, folks!)

That’s about it!

Traditional sauce:  If you want to make a traditional dipping sauce, here is how:

  1. Start with a sauce pan – add a little oil and bring it up to medium high heat.
  2. Add in a heaping tablespoon of garlic, sauteing until it turns brown and is roasted.
  3. Then add 5 tablespoon of hoison sauce, stirring until it is simmering
  4. Add 5 tablespoon of a chicken broth or pork broth. Let simmer a moment.   An easy way to get this is to soak a portion of your pork loin in water after it has cooked.  Use the remainder of liquid from cooking with the water from soaking to make a broth ..or …ya know….just get a can of broth.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Stir it in, and let simmer.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir it in and let simmer.
  7. At this point, let the concoction reduce. Once it has reached the point of a nice sauce consistency, remove from heat and put in serving bowls.  I would garnish with crushed peanuts and either chopped ginger or red pepper.

 

 

Calories for Maple Bourbon Spring Rolls:

Taylor Farms Maple Bourbon Chopped Salad Kit is 150 calories for 1 cup.  You’ll only use about a cup of mix for 3 or 4 spring rolls.  Since that estimate includes the dressing I would just go with it for the purposes of calorie calculation:  150 calories

Hormel Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin 4 ounces, 1 ounce per spring roll, 4 rolls: 120 calories

Knorr Rice sides herb and butter:  1 cup is 230 calories.

Rice paper: 20 calories per piece – 4 pieces for 4 rolls: 80calories.

Total: 580 calories.  Decadent for 580 calories, isn’t it?

 

You can read more on my blog about nutritionally balanced meals here.

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