Pork Spring Rolls Redux Recipe

I so enjoyed making the spring rolls using the Taylor Farms chopped salad kit that I thought I would try my hand at using some ingredients that are a bit more traditional!  Lately I have been quite happy to experiment with things and see what works and what doesn’t.  Trust, me, I have my share of experiments that don’t work out, so I’m always pleased to share something that does work out!

Usually, having something like a spring roll often seems like an extravagance, and isn’t normally associated with being on a diet – or watching your calories.  If you think about Asian cuisine (or the Americanized version of Asian cuisine) what usually comes to mind are calorie-heavy dishes like General Tso’s chicken and various forms of fried or steamed foods in rich sauces. But truthfully, it’s largely in how you prepare the meal that makes the difference.

This take on the classic spring roll is made with a lot of fresh vegetables, ride noodles, and a Hormel Pork Tenderloin.  It’s clean, relatively low calorie, and with just a bit of hoison or peanut sauce, can be an incredibly decadent treat.  Best of all, this won’t take you long to make.  Let’s get after it!

 

Ingredients:

Veggie PrepHormel Lemon Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Rice Paper (Check the international food aisle at your local grocery.  I got mine at cub foods)

Rice Noodles (Check the international food aisle at your local grocery.  I got mine at cub foods)

1/2 small onion

Mini sweet peppers – I used 6 in a variety of colors.  You can see from the picture, these are quite small.

Baby carrots – about 7-9

Zucchini – only about 3 inches of the vegetable were used.

A couple mini cucumbers.  I like the mini’s because the seeded center is much smaller and entirely usable in this context.

Fresh Cilantro – a handful.

Hoison and/or Peanut Sauce (use these for dipping sauces)

Directions:

  • Veggie Prep2Start with the port tenderloin. Bake it in the oven at 350 for 45-50 minutes.  I put the tenderloin in a Corning ware dish – that always works well for me.  When checking the tenderloin, use a meat thermometer – make sure it is a solid 165 degrees.  At that point it will be done.  When it reaches that point, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes to rest.
  • Once you have put the tenderloin in the oven, start the vegetable prep. This will take the most amount of time.  Considering all these ingredients were going to go into a spring roll, I made sure everything was sliced thinly and in small, long portions.  It just seemed like the right idea for what I was trying to do.  For the cilantro, I pulled the leaves off the stalk and mostly used just the leaves, but that’s entirely up to you.  Use as much or as little of the plant as you would like.
  • With about 10 mins left on the pork, get a pot of water boiling for the rice noodles.  Once it is at a boil, put in the noodles, and remove the pot from the heat source.  The noodles will soften very quickly, and you don’t want to let them sit in the boiling water for too long.  So I let them sit in the hot water for about 2-3 minutes while stirring.  Leave them in the water until they become soft, but not so long that they start to break down.  Be conservative here. Then move them to a strainer and rinse in cold water.  Bounce them around a bit to get rid of as much of the excess water as possible then let them sit while you move on with other preparations.
  • Put some water in a large pan or bowl – big enough to accommodate a sheet of rice paper. I use my sautee pan.  You want to be able to immerse a sheet of rice paper in the water.

 

  • Once the pork has sat for 5 mins at least, start slicing it up in long, thin strips for use in the spring roll. I generally cut a thin slice across the tenderloin then trim it from there.

Spring roll Pork

  • Now you have all your ingredients ready and it is time to start making the rolls. Start by immersing one rice paper sheet in your pan of water.  Give it time to just barely start to soften.  I don’t want it losing shape before I transfer it to the prep station.  I do that simply for convenience.   Once on the prep station, I continually smooth out the paper, making the water on it is worked into the paper – that is the time when the paper should become completely pliable and soft.  Now you can work with it.

Spring Rolls 1

  • I start by laying a small quantity of rice noodles with cilantro leaves and pork together as the center of the roll.

Spring Roll Prep 1

  • Then I roll that over, and prepare the next layer. In that layer I placed onion, cucumber, zucchini, and sweet peppers.   Then I rolled that over and moved on to the next layer.

Spring roll 2

  • The next layer is exactly the same as the previous with the difference being that at this point I fold the ends of the rice paper over to prepare for the final roll-out.

Spring roll 3

 

Spring roll 4

  • Lastly, roll it over once more and finish out the process! DONE!  Move on to the next roll!

Spring roll 5

 

 

Notes:

  1. In slicing the vegetables, I chose my Wusthof Classic Santoku knife. It’s a fairly thin blade and the curve of the cutting edge has a relatively flat profile making chopping easier with this kind of delicate work.
  2. It may seem like extra work but I like using ramekins for sorting small ingredients, it just helps me put together a process in an orderly way. Yep, it IS kind of retentive!
  3. Also, I have the pot of water for boiling the rice noodles and the pan of water for dipping the rice paper all set before I get to the stage of needing them. It’s just one less thing I have to spend time doing.
  4. I try to keep the rolls quite taught as I am rolling them, but be mindful of the possibility of tearing the rice paper. It’s a balancing act …keep at it, you’ll get there.
  5. The vegetables pictured are simply chopped cabbage, the other half of the onion, leftover slices of vegetables used in the preparation of the spring rolls, and some pepper and your seasoning of choice. In my case I opted for an Ozark seasoning from Penzey’s.  You can use whatever you want, or nothing at all!  The Spring rolls are great by themselves!

Calories:

Rice paper:  One sheet – lots of different values out there – generally 13-20 calories per sheet.  For 4 rolls, call it 80 calories.

Pork loin – 1 ounce per roll – 4 ounces total, 130 calories.

1.5 cups of raw mixed vegetables – 75 calories

Dipping sauces:  Hoison sauce, 1 tablespoon is 40 calories.  Peanut sauce, 2 tablespoon is 60 calories.

If you do the accompanying quick-sauteed cabbage and vegetables, about 1.5 -2 cups of that is 115 calories or so.

Total meal, including 4 spring rolls, dipping sauces and cabbage sautee is 500 calories.

 

You can learn more about creating healthy, balanced meals in my post on diet fundamentals.

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