Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls

NatLilBenSpringRollsI’ve never cooked Vietnamese food but I love it, and was looking for something “fun” to prepare with the kiddos tonight.  We had a great time and created these beautiful, clean, healthy, nutrient rich rolls that were super tasty!  (I altered them a bit from a few different things I found on-line.)

If we can teach our kids that healthy eating is fun, and help them develop the habits of nourishing their own bodies, they will begin to crave the foods–and experiences–that nourish their lives!


• 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips  (I’ve also made this recipe with shrimp–Yum!)
• 4 Tablespoons of coconut or canola oil
• 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• Tsp fresh ginger, minced
• Hefty squeeze of fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup fresh mint
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro
• 1 cup, chopped fresh butter or other bib lettuce
• 2 large carrots, grated
• 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips
• ½ cup bean sprouts
• ½ cup spicy salad sprout blend
• 1 whole daikon radish, grated or julienne cut
• 1 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
• 1 package sea kelp noodles (optional)–boiled in chicken broth until soft.
• 1 whole avocado, sliced
• 1 package rice paper

Garlic Soy Dipping Sauce:

• 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
• 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon organic, unbleached sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, coconut/canola oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, lime, and soy sauce. Cover well and allow to marinade for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat frying pan to medium and cook chicken through.
  3. Place piles or bowls of vegetables next to a large cutting board, so everything is ready for rolling.
  4. Fill a large, flat bowl (large enough for rice paper to fit in) with hot water (not too hot for your hands!)
  5. Combine all Dipping Sauce ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.

Preparing Rolls:SpringRollPrep2

  1. Gently dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for about 10-15 seconds until soft. Do your best to keep the paper from folding over on itself–it becomes really sticky!
  2. Place rice paper on cutting board and fill with your choice of chicken and vegetable blend.  Be sure to fill only as much as the paper will hold, and leave room on the ends to fold the paper over.
  3. Roll the wrapper over the fillings away from you, tucking in the sides, making sure all the fillings remain tight within the rice paper wrapper.
  4. Serve immediately with soy dip.

My kids have loved trying out new things in each roll they make, and playing Lilly-SRwith the different flavors.  They have a blast helping out in the kitchen, and these are a great way to get them involved from the cutting and peeling, to the soaking of rice paper, to creating their very own rolls!  I’d love to hear some of the other variations that you come up with!


For the Love of Your Life!


Chicken & Orzo (or Rice) Soup with Lime & Cilantro

This recipe is adapted from a Yucatan style Chicken & Orzo soup that my kids and I love.  I sometimes substitute rice for the orzo, when I’m looking for a little “lighter” flavor, and the rice goes nicely with the lime and cilantro.  I also use a whole chicken, roasted, rather than boiling chicken breasts—which is what the Yucatan recipe calls for.

Personally, I love using homemade chicken stock, when I have some in the freezer.  I boil a chicken carcass for a day… sometimes two.  This provides a very nutritious broth that has a full, delicious flavor.  (When possible, I just keep my freezer stocked!)  And recently, I’ve begun using fat-free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  A perfect, and much healthier alternative.

This soup is a wonderful “Summer Soup” with the fresh lime flavor and light, nutrient-rich ingredients.  I hope you enjoy it!


(If you don’t have time to roast your own chicken, one of the organic roasters from Whole Foods, classic seasoning, works wonderfully)

For Chicken

1 whole chicken fryer (about 3.5-4 lbs)

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves garlic

¼ lemon wedge, cut from peel & pith (I’ve never used a fresh lime in place of the lemon but wonder if it might work better with this recipe)

2 tsp. spice blend (I love Savory’s “Capitol Hill Seasoning” which includes shallots, salt, pepper, dill, parsley & chives but anything similar will do!)

Salt & Pepper

For Soup

3 quarts chicken stock (homemade makes a huge difference in flavor and provides a lot more nutrients!)

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¾ Vidalia or other sweet, white onion, thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

½-1 jalapeño (depending on taste), minced

¼ Cup fresh lime juice (about the equivalent of the juice of one large lime—maybe more!)

1 ½ Cups uncooked orzo (or long grain brown rice if you’re substituting)

About 15-20 fresh cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths

A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

A bunch of fresh chives, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Sour Cream or plain Greek yogurt

Fresh Salsa

Fresh Avocado, diced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend together olive oil, lemon wedge, garlic, spices, salt & pepper.

Place whole chicken, breast down, onto a “roasting stand,” and place in a roasting pan (or any pan that has fairly deep sides—about 2 inches deep).  If you don’t have a roasting stand, just roast the chicken breast down in a roaster.

Peel away skin, making “pockets” between the skin and the meat of the chicken.

Marinade chicken, making sure to get plenty of marinade into the pockets of skin so that the chicken becomes as moist and flavorful as possible!

Either tie or tuck legs close into the body so they don’t get too dark in the oven.

Roast for approximately 1-1.5 hours at 350 degrees.  (Chicken can be removed from oven before it’s completely done, as it will continue to cook in the soup.)  When you remove the chicken from the oven, let it cool to the point that you can pull all the meat off the bones, and shred it.  Discard the skin and bones (or use to make more chicken stock!)

Cook Orzo (or rice) according to instructions.  (If rice is a bit al dente, it will also continue to cook when added to the soup.)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

(If you’re using a whole chicken that you purchased, simply peal away the majority of the skin and shred into bite-sized pieces with your hands or with two forks.  Don’t “over-shread!”)

Add chicken; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, lime juice, and tomato.

Simmer until you’re certain that the chicken is cooked through and the rice is perfectly cooked.

Season soup with salt and pepper and add lime juice if needed.

Ladle into bowls & top with a dollop each of yogurt (or sour cream) and salsa, and garnish with cilantro & chives.  Serve with chopped avocado (or add them to the soup!)



For the Love of Your Life!