A Thai-style appetizer with a Thanksgiving twist, these “fall” rolls offer a light bite before the main event. Inspired by the fresh summer rolls enjoyed at Thai restaurants, this autumnal version with roasted sweet potato and cabbage, soba noodles and peanuts is paired with a savoury coconut milk and pumpkin sauce spiced up with sriracha and juicy lime. They’re healthy, easy to prepare and can be made ahead up to one day – a bonus when holiday entertaining!
Create your own filling to use up leftovers like roasted Brussels sprouts and squash, or add a bit of protein with shredded roasted turkey. You can even wrap up a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. There are no rules to roll.
Fresh Thai “Fall” Rolls with Pumpkin-Coconut Dipping Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20 rolls
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch sticks
5 cups shredded green cabbage or quartered Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
½ (363g) pkg (2 bundles) buckwheat soba noodles
Coconut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce
1 (160mL) small can coconut milk
⅓ cup pumpkin purée
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Sriracha, to taste
15 to 20 rice paper wrappers
3 green onions, sliced into matchsticks
1 cup fresh basil leaves or cilantro leaves
¼ cup roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), roughly chopped
Black or white sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add squash, cabbage, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and then toss to combine and spread into a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, toss and roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool to room temperature, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain well again. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with a splash of additional sesame oil and soy sauce to coat and prevent the noodles from clumping.
3. For the sauce, in a medium bowl whisk all ingredients well to combine so no lumps remain. If the coconut milk is cold, there will be lumps that refuse to whisk; if this happens, heat mixture in a pot over low heat, whisking constantly, until they melt. Pour into a serving bowl, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The sauce will firm as it cools, which tastes great, too – bring to room temperature for a looser dipping sauce consistency.
4. To assemble, fill a large pie plate or rimmed baking sheet with warm tap water. Have all the filling and assembly ingredients chopped and within arm’s reach. Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper and have a few damp paper towels handy. Working one rice paper wrapper at a time, re-hydrate for 20 to 30 seconds in warm water until pliable, and place on a clean service.
5. To the wrappers, in the bottom third leaving a portion of rice paper wrapper exposed at the bottom, add a small amount (about ⅓ cup total) of roasted vegetables, noodles, green onions, basil and peanuts. Tuck in the bottom, then the sides and continue to roll away from you to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet and cover with a damp paper towel to avoid drying out. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. If making ahead, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and transfer to an airtight container for up to one day; unwrap before serving.
6. Add rolls to plate next to dipping sauce, sprinkle the rolls and sauce with sesame seeds, and then serve.
With an appetizer covered, it’s time to figure out the main course – here are some hacks to keep stress down in the kitchen.