This June we’re celebrating one of the first crops to poke through the soil in the spring — salad greens! Salad greens are easy to grow yourself, and by planting a row of seeds each week, you can enjoy your own homegrown salad greens all summer. Celebrate the start of summer with a bag of mixed greens, and discover which type you like best. Romaine, butterhead, kale, arugula, and mizuna are some popular varieties.
When shopping for greens, try to buy them as fresh as possible, and avoid wilted or yellowing leaves. Heads of lettuce should be firm and bright green. You can find local salad greens at Cronig’s, Ghost Island Farm, Morning Glory Farm, Blackwater Farm, Whippoorwill Farm, North Tabor Farm, and Island Grown Initiative’s Farm Hub.
Packed with nutrients, greens are my go-to vegetable when my meal needs some extra color or flavor. Try putting a handful of greens in a sandwich or burrito for refreshing crunch. Salads don’t have to be complicated — toss some greens with your favorite dressing and enjoy it as a simple side dish. Anything you would put into a sandwich, tortilla, or bun can be wrapped up in large lettuce leaves instead. Tuna fish, egg salad, grilled chicken, and falafel are all good choices. You can also try this month’s featured recipe: Fresh Rolls with Peanut Sauce!
Fresh Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Recipe by Maura Martin and Austin Racine of Mo’s Lunch
For the rolls
10 rice spring roll wrappers
1 package rice vermicelli noodles, cooked to the box directions, rinsed in cold water and drained 2 cups fresh salad greens
1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small English cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
1 small bunch scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, basil and/or mint (or any combination of fresh herbs), chopped
For dipping sauce
½ cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth
4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (if your peanut butter has sugar in it, you can omit this)
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
Optional: a couple of dashes of fish sauce and/or sriracha hot sauce
Water as needed
For the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well-incorporated. Thin, if needed, with a tablespoon of water at a time to create a nice and creamy dipping sauce.
Drizzle the prepared rice noodles in a few tablespoons of the dipping sauce, just to give them a light coating and to add some flavor directly to the rolls.
Have a clean work surface prepared for rolling the fresh rolls. Have all of your filling ingredients lined up and ready to go nearby. Fill a pie plate or shallow, wide bowl with about an inch of water. One at a time, soak a spring roll wrapper for about 15 seconds, or until it’s just softening and pliable, but not fully soft (it will continue to soften, and there will be less chance of it tearing).
Place softened wrapper on your work surface, and put a small handful of the salad greens on the lower third of the wrapper, leaving about an inch on each side.
Next, put a small handful of noodles on top of the greens, followed by a few slices of each different cut vegetables.
Top with a good pinch each of the fresh herbs and scallions.
Similar to how you’d roll a burrito, fold the sides in over the edges of the filling and then pull the bottom up over the filling and roll upward as tightly and compactly as possible. (It takes a roll or two to get the feel and hang of it.)
Cut each fresh roll in half (or don’t, and enjoy whole), and serve alongside the peanut sauce.
This recipe is extremely adaptable — feel free to use any combination of different veggies as the filling, cut into thin strips.
You can also omit the noodles and add a protein such as sliced poached shrimp, baked tofu, or chicken.