In part 4 of our allergy-friendly meals series, we cover fresh, homemade spring rolls. Super easy, tasty, healthy, and — most importantly — allergen-free, this fun meal with endless ingredient combos are great for children and adults with food allergies and for stubborn veggie-eaters!
Fresh spring rolls — sometimes referred to as Thai spring rolls — are delicious and nutritious mini-meals for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, and meat-lovers alike. What you put in them is up to you! The savory combinations you and your littles can create with these translucent treats are virtually limitless. They also tickle the taste buds and expand the healthy palate. After all, what food — particularly health food — doesn’t taste better rolled, wrapped, and dipped?
It’s a wonderful way to hide healthy eats from our picky eaters, teach young ones that fresh foods are fun and having allergies doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy exotic, delectable dishes!
This is my daughter making her own dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and shellfish-free spring rolls. (That’s a serious allergen minefield, isn’t it?)
Despite having over a dozen food allergies, I’ve lost count of how many different spring rolls she’s still able to create for herself. The following are just a sampling of some of her Thai spring roll combos:
- rice, tuna, shredded carrots
- white quinoa, turkey, red bell peppers
- amaranth, ham, spinach
- red quinoa, sardines, arugula, finely chopped radish
How to roll fresh spring rolls
You can find dry rice paper skin or sheets dry in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store (be sure to check ingredients for rice paper without allergens — most are simply rice, water, and vinegar). To roll Thai-style spring rolls, wet one rice paper sheet at a time on both sides and place it on a plate. Arrange your ingredients about an inch from the bottom and at least an inch from both sides. In a matter of seconds, the rice paper will soften and become sticky. That’s when you’re ready to roll! First, take the bottom flap and fold it up over the food (you can even tuck it over the farthest edge of the food). Second, fold in the sides. Last, roll upwards leaving a bit of the top flap free of food to seal against the outside of the roll, preventing any leaks.
Learn more about her other allergy-friendly meals and recipes in Part 1 of this series.
Making allergy-friendly dipping sauce
Due to my daughter’s extensive food allergies, almost any store-bought sauce is off the table, literally and figuratively. So, we make our own! Using raw, virgin olive oil as a base, we play with flavor combos by adding different herbs, tart fruit juices, and fresh garnishes.
Get four more kid- and allergy-friendly meals in Part 2 of this series.
Her favorite homemade dipping sauce is just olive oil, garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of cilantro. But sometimes we’ll make clean versions of sweet-and-sour sauce using a natural jam base, homemade fish sauce, or organic bean stock with olive oil, basil, garlic, and Himalayan pink salt.
Feel free to get creative with your dipping sauces, or use your favorite store-bought sauce that’s free of your specific allergy triggers.
Since food allergies vary from person to person, have fun customizing and seasoning your fresh spring rolls to fit your dietary restrictions and taste preferences. And if you want to explore foods outside your usual selection, expanding nutritional variety, add one new healthy food each time you make them. It’s all about showing the kids that healthy eating is yummy eating (and easy meal prep is the added bonus)!
Do you have any favorite dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and/or shellfish-free meals we can add?