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Veggie and White Bean Rice Rolls with Sweet Mango & Warming Ginger

Posted Jan 08 2013 7:33am

Have you ever encountered a cat with a voracious appetite for vegetables?

Our little (big) fellow, Monsieur Black, is particularly fond of cucumber and red bell pepper (he also happens to love fresh watermelon and apricot).  Upon smelling cucumber, he has been known to wake from a deep slumber two floors away and fly into the kitchen like his life depended on it.

Now I'm no cat whisperer but I've always understood felines to be obligate   carnivores - meaning, their digestive systems are designed to derive nutrients principally, if not exclusively, from animal proteins.  Cats cannot digest vegetables nor derive nutrients from them.  Which leads our entire family to wonder, what the what?!

Beyond the jokes about the not-so-accidental coincidence of a nutritionist's cat liking veggies, I can't, for the love, put my finger on the precise allure they hold for our frisky friend. My top guesses, if I must, would be that he is either drawn to the water content in these vegetables (although he quite likes drinking directly out of the toilet bowl) or, possibly more likely, there is some combination of enzymes in these vegetables that he can smell/detect readily and simply can't resist.

Either way, it's kinda funny if you ask me.

Does your cat eat unusual things?

Monsieur Black hanging out with his best friend
& baby 'sister' Stella


Veggie and White Bean Rice Rolls with Sweet Mango & Warming Ginger

For the Rice Rolls
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (cannellini), thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into long thin'ish strips (julienned) 
  • 1 red bell pepper, jullienned
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, julienned
  • 1 bundle fresh mint
  • 12 or so sheets of rice paper (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)

For the Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes if desired
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds



You can use any combination of vegetables you wish in this recipe - take advantage of what's in your fridge.

I generally like to add some fruit to these rolls - mango, peach, pear and apple are some favourites - they add a touch of unexpected natural sweetness that is simply delicious.  

One of the few ingredients I insist on when making these rice wraps is fresh mint.  The flavour and freshness it imparts is simply irreplaceable in my view (but that's just me. Naturally, do as you wish).

If you haven't worked with rice paper before, you may need some practice to get the hang of it but it's a very low risk proposition.  Even the most awkwardly wrapped versions (I have made several) are perfectly usable and equally delicious!



Makes about 8-10 rice rolls

Assemble ingredients (your choice of bean, fruit, vegetables) and cut them into long thin slices where applicable.

Gather 12 or so sheets of rice paper (in their dry form, the sheets are rigid and paper thin).

Place about a half inch of hot water into a pie plate (or other suitably sized bowl). Working with one rice sheet at a time, immerse each sheet into the water for about 10-15 seconds.  The rice paper should become soft and pliable but not completely lifeless (it will literally disintegrate if you leave it for too long).

Place the softened sheet of rice paper on a plate or clean working surface.  Begin by placing a few mint leaves horizontally across the center of the sheet, followed by about a quarter cup of beans and sprinkles of all the other ingredients: carrots, red bell pepper, avocado and mango (or whatever ingredients you are working with).

For the rolling part, fold the bottom edge of the sheet (the one nearest to you) over the top of the filling pressing it down slightly to hold it in place and roll into a cylindrical shape halfway. Now fold the left and right sides inward and continue rolling the remaining distance until you have a nice tight and fully wrapped bundle.  You can leave the bundles as such or cut them in half to expose the lovely interior.  (I wrapped the cover photo slightly differently so that you could get a good look at the interior ingredients).

For the sesame-ginger dipping sauce, place soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili flakes (if using) and ginger together in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Garnish with a few sesame seeds if desired.
Dip the rice rolls into the sesame-ginger sauce and enjoy.

This post is dedicated to the coolest cucumber in this family, Monsieur Black.

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