Mezze / Side dishes / Modern Australian / Vegetarian

Mediterranean style rice paper rolls with grilled asparagus and haloumi

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Mediterranean style rice paper rolls

Taking a bite out of these rolls, is like having all the flavours of an antipasto platter exploding in your mouth at the same time. Absolutely delicious and so light, it is my Mediterranean twist on the very popular ‘Vietnamese rice paper rolls’. I wanted a gluten-free and light alternative to the usual crusty bread piled up with antipasto delights such as grilled eggplants, grilled red capsicum and mushrooms. I was  haunted by this idea for a couple of weeks. Yesterday it was manifested and the result exceeded my expectations. I had learnt how to make Vietnamese paper rolls at an Asian cooking course many years ago, and I do love them but lately I  was so tempted to try new textures and flavours. You can also use  grilled zucchinis as a substitute for eggplants or asparagus.

Shaved cucumbers

Shaved cucumbers

Serves 4-6

Mediterranean style rice paper rolls.

Mediterranean style rice paper rolls.

Grilled vegetables

Grilled vegetables

Prep time: 45 min
Cooking time: 30 min
Makes around 20

  • 1 – 2 eggplant
  • 1 – 2 red capsicum
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 8 asparagus
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 200 g haloumi cheese
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • a handful of mixed lettuce leaves
  • a handful of bean sprouts
  • Packet of Large rice paper sheets,
  • 200 g lamb backstrap (optional)

Note: for a vegan option omit the haloumi.

Wash all vegetables and trim off the ends of asparagus. Peel and slice eggplants lengthwise, half a centimetre thick. Cut capsicum in half or quarters depending on size, and slice mushrooms. Grill red capsicum, eggplant, mushrooms and asparagus under the grill or in an electric grill. When the red capsicum are not too hot to handle peel the skin off. It should peel off easily if well cooked, Shave cucumbers or  cut into julienne slices. Slice haloumi into half centimetre thick slices, pan fry them with a drizzle of oil until golden. Take care not to brown them as they will become too dry. Slice grilled eggplants and red capsicum into about a  2 cm by 6 cm slice. Cut asparagus into three pieces each. Place hot water, not boiling, in a bowl and working one at a time, soak the rice paper sheet quickly for a few seconds and place on a wet tea towel.  Place the mint leaf  not quite in the centre but a pit to the top of the roll(refer to picture),  and top with a slice of red capsicum, followed by eggplant, a piece of lettuce, mushrooms, cucumber, haloumi, asparagus and a few bean sprouts. Roll the rice paper by bringing the sides together first, then rolling firmly. Make sure you hold al the ingredients firmly when you first roll before you start rolling it again, keeping it firm and neat. Continue with the rest.

Serve with a sauce to dip in made of reduced balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of virgin olive oil and a pinch of ground black pepper.

Note: If you wish to add the lamb backstrap to the above mentioned filling, then sear a piece of lamb backstrap in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil for 2 minutes on each side and slice into thin slices,and  add on top of cucumbers. Continue with rest of ingredients..

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4 thoughts on “Mediterranean style rice paper rolls with grilled asparagus and haloumi

  1. going to vegetarian bbq and having to take a plate was daunting. a bit fiddly to prepare but look great. i just hope that they transport well and are appreciated.

    • Hi Karen, hope everyone will enjoy them, yes a bit of work but worth it. They should transport well, I have taken them to friend’s homes before do keep me posted 🙂 and thank you for trying my recipe.

  2. Zeina I can tell you that you’re posting of these fabulous recipes (and of course poems) made a difference in my life. I got sick of the few Mediterranean dishes I knew how to prepare and Asian food became my daily cuisine (I love it). Your fresh clean and creative recipes are what I have always longed for; they are simple, healthy and Mediterranean. Because of your postings, preparing my own meals and thinking of what to cook when inviting people is not a huge effort anymore. I cannot wait to get back into it!
    You are clearly a very creative person.

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