This week, I decided to bring you recipes that are colorful and have distinct textures and strong flavors. The first recipe is for spring rolls, which is an important dish in Asian cuisine and is the healthier version of egg rolls. Spring rolls are made with round, translucent rice paper. At first glance, they might seem like they’re firm, but actually they’re extremely fragile. The way to work with them is to dip them briefly in water to make them pliable and ready for being wrapped around the filling. 

Spring rolls are great dishes for vegetarians and well, for everyone, actually, especially if you’re watching your weight or following a gluten-free diet. Spring rolls are light and fun, since they’re full of vegetables, herbs and sprouts, which makes them perfect for summer meals. The rice paper provides the spring rolls with a nice texture and flavor, too. 

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There are two options for preparing vegetables to be used in spring rolls. The first way is to use fresh vegetables or veggies that were lightly sautéed in a wok with a little olive oil. I love creating a diverse array of vegetables for each roll so that each one is made with a unique combination of textures and vibrant flavors. Carrots, lettuce, cucumber, bell peppers, cabbage, mushroom, bean sprouts and herbs are some of my favorite ingredients to use in spring rolls. You can feel free to combine any arrangement of veggies you like. 

If you’d like to add some protein to the rolls, you can add strips of fish or chicken, or tofu for a vegan version. For dipping sauces, I like to use soy or sweet and spicy chili sauce. For spices, my favorites are ginger and garlic. You can also add a little peanut butter, lemon juice or fresh herbs, such as mint and cilantro. 

The second recipe, which is a tantalizing feast of baked vegetables in silan, also calls for lots of vegetables. I personally love vegetables, so I try to add them to every meal as much as possible. Since kids sometimes refuse to eat vegetables, this is a great recipe to introduce them to new foods, since the vegetables are sweetened by the date syrup.

Spring rolls (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Moreover, if you use a variety of different colored vegetables and cut them up into creative and fun shapes, this dish will be much more attractive to kids – and adults as well. You can cut them into eighths, quarters or halves, or cut them into large cubes. Alternatively, sometimes they look the most impressive if you leave them whole, especially root vegetables. In general, it’s best to prepare large pieces so that they stay intact and don’t all fall apart. 

If you want to cut down on prep time, you can wash all the vegetables you’ll be using the day before, and then soak them in a large bowl of water. Also, try not to use too many spices or sauces, which can mask the natural flavors of vegetables. If you want to retain the most nutrients, bake your vegetables instead of boiling them.  

And, of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so I have added a recipe for one of my favorite vanilla cakes, which is moist and delicious. 

Spring rolls

Makes 10-12 pieces.

  • 1 package rice paper


  • 1 carrot, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 baby zucchini, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin sticks
  • ¼ head of cabbage, cut into thin sticks
  • Bean sprouts or other sprouts
  • Cilantro, mint, parsley, scallions or other herbs
  • 3-4 mushrooms, thinly sliced

Spicy soy sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. harissa

Spicy chili sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 scallion, chopped

Place all the chopped vegetables on a large tray. 

Take a sheet of rice paper and dip it for a second in a bowl of cold water, then remove it and place it on a damp towel. 

Place whichever filling items you want on the rice sheet, making sure to leave a margin of 2-3 cm. Fold the edges inward, then roll from the side closest to you, into a log shape, and secure the seam. Form the rest of the spring rolls in the same fashion. 

Prepare the two bowls of sauces for dipping and stir. Taste them, adjust seasoning and serve with spring rolls.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Time: 20-30 minutes 

Status: Vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free

Baked vegetables in silan

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 light green zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 carrots (or 1 sweet potato), halved or cut into large pieces
  • 2 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 scallions
  • 8 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 chili peppers, halved
  • 3 potatoes or turnips, quartered
  • 3 stalks of parsley or cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. silan
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. chili pepper
  • Olive oil

Place all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl (you can cut the vegetables into whatever shape you desire).

Drizzle some olive oil on top of them and mix well. Arrange the vegetables on an oven tray, and add some more olive oil, as well as the silan, salt, pepper, cumin and chili pepper. Mix well, cover with baking paper, and then also with aluminum foil. Seal the sides well. 

Bake for 30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°. Then, remove the foil and baking paper and roast on the top rack for 25-30 more minutes until the vegetables start to brown and have reached the desired softness. 

Level of difficulty: Easy

Time: 1 hour

Status: Vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free

Vanilla cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Vanilla cake

Use a large loaf pan.

  • 200 gr. butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 packets of vanilla sugar
  • 2-3 drops vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1 container of yogurt (or juice or parve cream)
  • 2 Tbsp. milk or water


  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Mix the butter or margarine in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix for 2-3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing until smooth.

Lower the speed and gradually and alternatively add the flour, yogurt and milk or water. Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan.

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170°-180° for 45-50 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes

Status: Dairy or parve

Translated by Hannah Hochner. 

2023-06-10T09:26:13Z dg43tfdfdgfd