First thing's first, what the heck are nori and fresh rolls?  I've been eating these so long that I forget that they're a bit outside the normalcy range.  Nori is a type of seaweed used to wrap up sushi.  When I don't want to take the time to roll sushi I will just throw some veggies and what not into a sheet of nori, roll it up like a burrito, and cut it in half. Fresh rolls are made from thin, transparent rice paper. You see these a lot at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants.  It's like having a salad wrapped up like an egg roll that isn't fried.  It's delicious.  You can find both nori and rice paper in the Asian section of grocery stores.

Moving on.. what I like about fresh and nori rolls is that you can be super creative and it looks beautiful on the plate.  In culinary school, they always told us that you first eat with your eyes and so it's important to take the extra time and effort to make the food look beautiful and appetizing.  I agree whole-heartedly.

I won't give you an actual recipe for the rolls as I want you to get creative, but I will provide tips and miso soup and peanut sauce recipes.


  • You can make one or another, but often I make both at the same time as they share similar ingredients.
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  • Start by chopping up the veggies that sound good to you.  I like to use bell peppers, cucumbers, avocado, cabbage, fresh herbs, carrots, green onions, radishes, lettuce or kale... 
  • Nori rolls - cut your veggies thin and long
  • Fresh rolls - cut into smaller pieces
  • I love to put fresh herbs in the rice paper rolls because that's what tastes fresh to me.  I've used mint, basil and cilantro and all are delicious.
  • SPROUTS! Sprouts are soooo good for you and they add a nice texture.
  • Starches: I often add starches, which will add bulk and make it easier to roll.  You can use cooked rice noodles, rice, or quinoa, but just make sure they're cooled.
  • Rolling fresh rolls: you start by soaking the rice paper in water to make it pliable.  Then assemble your ingredients and roll like a burrito.  You want to pull to make it tight, but carefully as they tear easily.  Gently cut in half with a serrated knife.
  • Rolling nori rolls: similar to fresh rolls except you leave the ends open.  When you're finished rolling slightly dampen the last centimeter of the sheet with some water and roll to seal. Gently cut in half with a serrated knife.
  • Serve nori rolls with wasabi, soy sauce, or a sriracha (popular Asian hot sauce) mayo.
  • Serve fresh rolls with peanut sauce.
  • Don't get discouraged.  Your first few rolls probably won't turn out, but you'll get the hang of it.

Peanut Sauce:

Makes about 3/4 cup

2 tbsp peanut butter

2-3 tsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), to taste

1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/4 c coconut milk

2 tsp honey

Cayenne, to taste

Ginger, to taste

Whisk together ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes.  Serve with fresh rolls.

Miso Soup:

Serves 3-4 people

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 lemon, juiced

4 cups veggie broth

2 tbsp miso

1/4 package of rice noodles

3 leafs of kale, de-stemmed and chopped

3 green onions, sliced

Tamari, to taste

In a soup pot on medium-high heat warm up the olive oil.  Add the onion and sauté until onions are clear and broken down.  Add garlic, ginger, and lemon juice.  Sauté for another minute or two.  Add the veggie broth and bring to boil.  Whisk in miso until fully dissolved.  Add rice noodles, kale, and green onion and stir until rice noodles are soft.  Season with tamari and serve.

Lots of times I'll have left over veggies that I either make more nori and fresh rolls with, make sushi out of, or throw into a stir fry.  This last time I used some fresh broiled salmon and made sushi.  Have fun!