What do you crave?
If your answer was spring rolls, well then you’re in for a real treat today. But before we dive into the low-sodium wrapping and rolling, let’s back up and take a look at why the traditional spring roll may pose a sodium problem.
Spring rolls can come in both fried (golden brown, nice and crispy, and often called egg rolls) or non-fried versions (transparent in color and served cold). Either way, they tend to be filled with combinations of noodles, shrimp or crab, shredded carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, and even bean paste. They are then topped with hot chilies, crushed peanuts, and some sort of soy-based dipping sauce.
As I’m sure you already guessed, the sodium content in just one of these hand-held treats starts getting pretty high between the shrimp and crab, the bean paste, the noodles (which can have a lot of sodium in them, depending on the brand), the soy-based sauce, and even the wrapper. Yes, the wrapper.
Now, I have found rice paper spring roll wrappers at my local grocery stores and Asian markets that claim to have no sodium in them. But as many of these products are not produced in and regulated by the US standards, it is hard to say whether or not the nutritional labeling is correct.
So, whether you’re worried about the salt, or the carbs, or just want a non-packaged, spring roll option, look no further than your crisper for an answer.
Steamed napa cabbage leaves.
By removing the hard stem and setting the leaves in a steaming basket for a few minutes, you suddenly have a perfectly pliable wrapper. Not to mention a guaranteed low-sodium bite.
Instead of bean paste, I used mashed up avocado which I spread all over the steamed cabbage leave, acting as my sticky, glue that would help keep the roll together.
I also opted for steamed rice in place of the noodles, although salt-free glass noodles do exist and would work as well. And then I filled the sucker up (well, just on one side of the leaf) with shredded zucchini, pea shoots, diced red chilies, browned shitake mushrooms (so much umami!), and green onions.
Then I rolled.
Using my hands to flip the cabbage over itself, covering all the ingredients, tightening the roll as I continued to…well…roll it. Until I had a tidy little Asian cabbage burrito.
And it’s totally ok if the innards peak out a bit. I rather like the look of it.
As for toppings, go ahead and crush up some unsalted peanuts. Cut up some extra chilies. And for the sauce, you can try to create a soy-saucish dipper with some vinegar, molasses, tamarind, garlic powder, and plum jam. Go for it!
Or for something more simple, mix a little rice wine vinegar with some low-sodium hot mustard.
And there you have it. A low-sodium cabbage spring roll. Guaranteed to taste great and blow minds without the salt.