Last month I visited Nashville with Rachel and Jacki. As you can probably guess, we spent a disproportionate amount of the trip eating—because what is traveling for after all. And one place that Elsie took us was Avo, which is a mostly raw/vegan spot. When my parents visited, they had checked out this spot too, and my mom insisted that IF we went, then I had to get the spring rolls and the raw Pad Thai.
And I pretty much always do what my mom says because she's smart and also has good taste. They were delicious, of course. And I added the raw Pad Thai to my list of things I should try to make at home because I thought it might be something, with a few tweaks, that Trey would enjoy as well.
Somewhere along the way, I think my brain decided that I should just turn the raw Pad Thai into a spring roll—so I tried that and loved it! Figured I'd share with you all too.
But I must admit right out of the gate here—this recipe is not 100% raw. For one, I don't think the spring roll wrappers would qualify, but for another, I do believe a few items in my sauce don't quite fall under the raw category either. But, if you are looking for a super satisfying dinner idea that is brimming with veggies and flavor, then I would still highly recommend you try this out. 🙂
1 small/medium zucchini
2 carrots, or about 6 baby carrots
1/2 small cabbage
1 red bell pepper
6-12 mint leaves, depending on size (see notes)
18 cilantro leaves
6 spring roll wrappers
a couple big handfuls of peanuts or other nuts you prefer
For the sauce:
juice from 2 limes
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp (I use this brand.)
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
First you want to cut up all the vegetables. I used a spiralizer to make my zucchini resemble noodles (ZOODLES!) and also to cut up my carrots. I had bought my cabbage already shredded as I used some to make coleslaw later that week. You can shred by hand, but just make sure it's really shredded thin. And same with the bell pepper, you want to cut it into matchsticks. You can give the nuts a rough chop or just leave them in whole pieces—up to you. I kind of like leaving them whole, but if you use nuts that are a bit bigger, you might want to give them a chop.
Next make the sauce. Simply whisk together all the sauce ingredients listed above until smooth. If your sauce appears too thick, like it's very difficult to whisk, then add a little water, but I found this was not necessary for me. I could see a little water helping though if you are using tahini or peanut butter from the very bottom of the jar. Sometimes if the oil separated and you didn't get to mix it together well when you opened the jar, then the very bottom becomes quite hard. You should be able to pour the final sauce pretty easily.
In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini, carrots, cabbage, and bell pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of the sauce (a little less than half) and mix well so everything gets coated. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve on the side along with your final spring rolls.
Fill each wrapper with a chive, a few mint leaves, a few cilantro leaves, some nuts, and then a small handful of the raw pad thai. Roll up and repeat until you've made all six rolls. If you've never made spring rolls, I show how to handle the wrappers in this post with a basic spring roll recipe.
-You can see the size of the mint leaves I was using here in the photos. These are smaller than I normally see them, so I probably used 12 throughout all my spring rolls. But when they are larger, I'd use less, sometimes only one big leaf per spring roll that I tear into a few pieces. The main idea is the chives, mint, and cilantro will add a lot of flavor to your spring rolls, but you don't want to overpower them with any one flavor (or too much of all). So use your judgement here based on how big your herbs are.
-Tamarind pulp is sort of a weird ingredient, I know. But it's also useful in making Pad Thai sauce (you know, for noodles, not the hippie raw version) and other thai dishes. We love Thai food at our house, so I find it really useful. Don't be afraid to try it out.
-You can totally use any nuts you prefer or even mix. I like peanuts and cashews the most, but any nuts will work well as we're just looking to add a little crunch. 🙂
Make these spring rolls, guys. They are so yummy and pretty healthy too—delicious food you can feel good about! Wahoo! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.