Bubble Child: Vegan Spring Rolls with Nut-Free Thai ‘Peanut’ Sauce (Gluten-Free)

27th July 2014

An enthusiastic traveller and a trained chef who has lived in Oregon and abroad, Erica from Bubble Child is sharing one of her nut-free, gluten-free and vegan recipes with Vegan Miam. She recently discovered our blog because of our common interests and familiar locality and I was happy to connect with a kind-hearted food blogger like her. With a lethal nut allergy, she strives to create allergy-free recipes. Her name “Bubble Child” is playfully derived from the fact that there are a number of ingredients she cannot ingest. Erica is currently based in Paris, working as a cook at Michelin-starred PUR’ restaurant in Paris, located at Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme hotel. She has cooked in Portland at the Heathman Hotel and Mextiza along with running the food program at KASK. She believes that food is an integral part of living joyfully as well as an universal form of gratification. She strives for this joy and gratification to be inclusive of everyone and doesn’t want anyone to suffer from not being able to enjoy the fruits of this life. Now let’s take a look at her stunning Vegan Spring Rolls with Nut-Free Thai ‘Peanut’ Sauce (Gluten-Free).

allergen and avoidance information:
vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, corn-free; contains seeds, contains soy

Vegan Gluten-Free Spring Rolls

Lunch, of late, has been kind of unfair. All I’ve been eating is spring rolls.

Vegan Gluten-Free Spring Rolls

So, it’s definitely not unfair in a bad way, mind you — unfair in a way that makes all of the other lunches look abysmal and rather “bento”. Should I have been so lucky to have my boxes actually packaged in bentos when I was younger, that would be something else to write about. I was not, however, and lunch growing up as someone with a deadly nut allergy would sometimes consist of a brown paper bag with a jelly sandwich (forget the peanut butter, as my mom did not actually want to kill me) and some fruit. Maybe a milky way or something as well. Woo hoo.

Vegan Nut-Free Thai Peanut Sauce

Of course, growing older and feeding myself, I do not have to resort to such humble states of sandwich. While I do have to hand it to my mother for even taking the time to pack me lunches growing up, I am now experiencing an unfair state of lunchtime eating because I have discovered the homemade spring roll. For those with gluten intolerances and vegan preferences, Asian cuisine can be quite the playground. With many pastas and carbohydrates deriving from rice rather than wheat, and tofu being a staple on practically any menu, you can find yourself safe and sound ordering to your taste bud’s content.

Vegan Carrot & Radish Filling

Unless you have a nut allergy, of course. Oh, and soy sauce isn’t just soy, after all. It’s made from wheat. Well, darn nit.

Rice Paper

One hot summer’s day a few weeks ago I stumbled into my local epicerie in Paris, the ethnic one with everything that’s not from France (Greece, Thailand, India, you name it), and found rice wraps. These sparked my interest because I love spring rolls, and naturally in summertime I want something lighter and less “bread”y for fuel. Furthermore, there are two ingredients in these rice wraps: rice and tapioca flour. No gum, no preservatives. Just flours. Interesting!

Green Pumpkin Seeds

Further down the aisles I found a packet of pumpkin seeds for a good price. Ooooh la la di la, idea! Since I’ve never been able to eat peanut sauce, how about I make a nut-free version using pumpkin seeds? They’re still full of omega-3’s and healthy proteins and fiber, and turn my light snack into a satiating plate. It’s like a culinary adventure for a Bubble Child* like myself.

Vegan Gluten-Free Spring Rolls

A few hours later, and one ice bath for soaking the rice papers, one blender to make the sauce, and one sauté pan to prepare the filling later, I was set up with the most gratifying lunch I had experienced in a while.

Vegan Gluten-Free Spring Rolls

It’s turned into a bad habit, almost, because it’s so simple to use these rice paper rolls for anything I want to put inside. Whatever is left over in vegetable or protein land, I sauté up with some garlic and ginger and shallots/scallions, toss in some fresh leaves of basil and mint, and stuff inside my soaked rice papers. I am spoiled rotten, but I guess it’s nothing I can blame on anyone else but myself.

I’ll try to spoil you, too. Enjoy these delightful gems, from the spring roll technique to the “nut-free” peanut sauce. It’s for Bubble Children* and steel stomachs, alike.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Spring Rolls with Nut-Free Thai ‘Peanut’ Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


For the Nut-Free Thai "Peanut" Sauce:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce, for soy allergies, replace with salt to taste)
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
⅛ teaspoon turmeric (freshly grated or powdered)
⅛ teaspoon lemongrass (freshly grated or powdered), optional
a few dashes your favorite hot sauce
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For the Spring Rolls:
2 carrots, julienned (cut into thin strips)
2 large radishes, julienned
1 large tablespoon sesame seed oil
2 scallions (green onions), minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, zested (or finely minced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or yuzu juice)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1-2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or salt to taste
fresh leaves of basil, mint, and/or cilantro (optional but recommended)
salt and pepper or hot sauce to taste (optional)
8 sheets rice paper (found in Asian specialty stores)


Make the Nut-Free Thai "Peanut" Sauce:

Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add seeds. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool two minutes. Combine with remaining ingredients in blender. Season with salt and/or hot sauce to taste. (Tamari already has salt, so taste before adding extra salt!)

Make the Spring Rolls:

Bring salted water to boil in large pot. Blanche your radishes for 2-3 minutes (until al dente), remove from heat, refresh with cold water to guard texture. Repeat with carrots. (Cook the radishes first to not dye them orange with the carrot juice from the boiling water.) Set aside momentarily.

Heat sesame seed oil in large pot or wok over medium heat. Add scallions, sweat out 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger, sweat out another minute, stirring occasionally. Add cooked carrots and radishes and sauté another minute. Add agave nectar and lemon juice. Reduce for a minute until just starting to caramelize. Deglaze with tamari and a tablespoon water, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a flat metal spatula. Taste, and season with salt and spice if needed. Remove from heat. Let cool a few minutes.

To prepare spring roll papers, soak each paper individually in a large bowl of cold water until hydrated. The papers should no longer crack if bent. Place the hydrated rice paper in the center of a large cutting board. Spoon two tablespoons vegetable filling into the upper third of the paper. Optional, top with a few leaves of fresh herb for flavor and slight crunch. Fold over the top of the rice paper, then the outer edges. Roll, keeping filling tightly enveloped within paper, until well sealed. If there is extra rice paper, and already several layers of wrapping, cut away extra and seal. Repeat with remaining rolls and filling.

Serve with "nut-free thai peanut sauce" (above), tamari, and your favorite hot sauce. Miam miam.


*Bubble Child (noun) - someone who cannot touch many ingredients due to food allergies, intolerances, or dietary preferences.

About Bubble Child

Bubble Child

Erica von Trapp is an American-born chef cooking and living in Paris, France. After growing up with a deadly nut allergy, and discovering gluten, lactose, and corn intolerances in young adulthood, Miss von Trapp’s passion for cuisine turned professional as she started her site and blog Bubble Child a resource for Bubble Children like herself for healthy and safe recipes that exclude allergens, not taste. She furthered her culinary craft working in award-winning restaurants in Portland, New York, and Paris. After attending Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and working under the infamous Chef Jean-Francois Rouquette at the michelin-starred “LePur” restaurant, Place Vendome Paris, the Bubble Child chef is now focusing her full energy on the upcoming cooking show “Bubble Child”, as well as the release of the new cook book and web-site.

Find Bubble Child on Facebook + Twitter.

You Might Also Like