brightly colored roll of food on a black plate
Fruit and Salad Roll (Photo/Faith Kramer)

How and why to honor Esther with vegetarian treats

When Purim rolls around on Saturday, March 11, chances are you won’t be thinking about rolling up fruits and vegetables in rice paper. Yet the bright and festive treats featured in this column are perfect for Purim gatherings because they correspond to two Purim traditions: filled foods and vegetarian dishes.

Filled foods, such as hamantaschen and kreplach, are eaten to reflect all the secrets (such as Esther being Jewish) hidden in the Megillah, and vegetarian foods are served to honor Esther’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in order to observe kashrut while living at the palace of King Ahasuerus.

Rice paper wrappers (also called banh trang) are widely available. A few brands are certified kosher and available online and in kosher retail outlets.

I used ones about 8½ inches (22 centimeters) in diameter, which make large rolls. If you’re using smaller wrappers, adjust your ingredients accordingly; also, feel free to substitute different fruits and/or vegetables.

The open-ended, over-stuffed style is influenced by rolls I saw being sold by street-food vendors when I was in northern Thailand.


Fruit and Salad Rolls

Makes 4 rolls

1 banana
4 rice paper wrappers (8½-inch diameter)
1 cup thinly sliced mango
1 cup thinly sliced strawberries
2 cups chopped leaf lettuce, packed
1 cup thinly sliced pineapple spears
¼ cup dried, unsweetened grated coconut
1 cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped basil or Thai basil

Cut banana crosswise then slice each half into 4 long pieces. Place one wrapper on work surface. Dip a pastry or basting brush in room temperature water until saturated. Brush top of wrapper. Flip wrapper over. Saturate brush again and brush other side. Starting about 1 inch from the left hand edge, spread out one-fifth of mango on wrapper from top to bottom and to just past the midpoint. Top with ⅕ of strawberries, ¼ of lettuce, 2 banana pieces, ⅕ of pineapple, ¼ of coconut, ⅕ of mint and ¼ of basil.

Pull wrapper edge with the 1-inch margin up and over the filling with one hand while using other to compress the filling into a tight log as you roll the wrapper over it. Continue rolling until the wrapper has sealed on itself. Place on serving platter. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Finished rolls should not touch. Finely dice remaining fruit. Scatter with remaining mint across rolls. If desired, slice each roll in 2, 3 or 4 pieces.


plate of several vegetable rolls
Vegetable and Salad Rolls (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Vegetable and Salad Rolls

Makes 4 rolls

Dipping sauce (see below)
2 cups chopped kale, packed
4 rice paper wrappers (8½-inch diameter)
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper strips
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber rounds
1 cup bean sprouts
16 string beans
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated raw beet
4 scallions (green onions), chopped (white and green parts)
½ cup coarsely chopped basil or Thai basil
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Prepare sauce as below. Mix 4 Tbs. with kale. Place one wrapper on work surface. Dip brush in room temperature water until saturated. Brush top of wrapper. Flip wrapper over. Saturate brush again and brush other side. Starting about 1 inch from left hand edge, spread out ¼ of red pepper strips from the top to the bottom of the wrapper and to just past the midpoint. Top with ¼ of cucumber, ¼ of kale, ⅕ of bean sprouts, 4 string beans, ⅕ of carrots, ⅕ of beets, ¼ of scallions, ⅕ of basil and ⅕ of cilantro.

Roll as directed in top recipe. Scatter remaining carrots, beets, bean sprouts, basil and cilantro across rolls. If desired, slice each roll into 2, 3 or 4 pieces. Serve with sauce.

Dipping sauce: Stir together 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. vegetable oil, ½ tsp. freshly grated ginger, ¼ tsp. chili garlic or sriracha sauce, 1 Tbs. chopped scallions and 6 Tbs. roasted, chopped peanuts.

kramer-faith-WEB
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.