Deconstructed spring roll bowls

Deconstructed spring roll bowls

There are finished walls in our kitchen. Ones that just need to be primed and painted (which I’m tackling this weekend), and then it’s all systems go. The main living area is no longer filled with tools and plastic sheeting, and everything we own is no longer covered in a thin layer of drywall dust and diatomaceous Earth (that 20 pound powder keg of DE is still worthy of all the weary-faced emoji). We’re getting close to the good stuff – the tile and cabinetry and countertops (you know, all the things that will make our kitchen look like a kitchen) – and I’m, surprisingly, less excited than I should be. Partly because I’ve gotten used to being crammed into 192 square feet of living space that serves as a bedroom and living room and kitchen (and I kinda like it). But mostly because it’s time to make decisions that I’ve been putting off since the start of the renovation (which was seven weeks ago) (seven weeks!) and, as you know, I overthink the small stuff so trying to decide on grout colors and shelving brackets* is making me a little.. crazy.

But the good news is, the hard part is behind us and there’s a blinding light at the end of the tunnel. And sometime in the not so distant future I’ll be baking out of my 20-months-in-the-making dream kitchen and you’ll have recipes that are far more exciting than noodle bowls and no-bake desserts. Which are totally ok, in moderation. But for seven weeks? And probably seven more weeks? AYE YI YI. I’m going to owe you guys big time when we’re finished. For sticking around and being troopers, and tolerating the mess that is my house and my life and this blog. Also? I love you. And I appreciate the hell out of your readership. And, for what it’s worth, it still boggles my mind that people aside from my close friends and family actually visit this space. Without you, OLC wouldn’t be even a fraction of what it is today. So thanks for that.

Anyway (before I go getting all soft at 7AM), the rest of our week is filled with trips to Lowe’s and IKEA (does anyone else hate going to IKEA as much as I do?). And painting. And refinishing the closet in the spare room and hanging shelves in the pantry. So I’m going to leave you with the recipe that is the direct result of my inability to roll a proper spring roll (Thom says the simple solution is to not stuff them with so much shit) (heh), but I’ll be back next week with three breakfast recipes in celebration of some new Califia Farms beverages (spoiler: one of them turned this matcha hater into a matcha lover). Oh, and while I have you: The Love and Lemons Cookbook just came out and is the most beautiful cookbook I’ve ever held with my own two hands. So do yourself a favor and snag a copy (or two). And then make the carrot cake waffles. Which, FYI, make for totally acceptable dinner fare.

*Currently: white grout and metal brackets. But tomorrow it’ll probably be gray grout and wood brackets.

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Notes: If you don’t want to use peanut butter, you can use your go-to nut/seed butter (almond butter is delicious) (Sara’s amazing tahini dressing would be good, too). I prefer to serve the sauce straight from the refrigerator, but if you’d rather heat it up, knock yourself out. Feel free to use your favorite vegetables in this bowl – cabbage, beets, etc. – or throw in a little tofu or tempeh for some extra oomph. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or lime juice in its place. If you’re not a fan of rice noodles, soba noodles make for a delicious (and hearty) replacement.

More bowl-food goodness: Brown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce, spicy black bean burrito bowls with cashew + hemp seed chipotle sauce, and spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas.


Easy peanut sauce
1/2 cup (142g) creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (10g) chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup (64g) tamari
1 tablespoon (12g) rice vinegar

6 tablespoons (75g) filtered water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

You’ll also need
8 ounces brown rice noodles
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted peanut oil
2 carrots, julienned (I use this julienne peeler)
1-2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, pitted and quartered
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Sea salt flakes
1 lime, quartered

In a small mixing bow, whisk together the peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, tamari, and rice vinegar. Once combined, whisk in the water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and creamy. Stir in red pepper flakes then transfer to a small jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce will keep for up to one week.

To prepare the bowls, cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, strain water and cover noodles with cold water to stop them from cooking; strain water again. Add the rice vinegar and peanut oil to the saucepan (the heat should be off) and toss to coat noodles. Divide noodles between four bowls and toss with carrots and cucumber slices, then drizzle with peanut sauce. Top with avocado, mint, cilantro, peanuts, sea salt flakes, and a heavy squeeze of lime juice. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 bowls

Deconstructed spring roll bowls


  • Reply Alexa [] 14 April 2016 at 8:21 AM

    These are absolutely stunning!! I can see these becoming a weeknight staple :) Looking forward to hearing more about your dream kitchen!

  • Reply Sofia | From the Land we Live on 14 April 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Hah! I can totally relate, being knee deep in kitchen renos as well. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I do sorta enjoy the whole DIY thing in some weird masochistic way, grout in my hair and all. Good luck with the next 7 weeks. Looking forward to seeing your kitchen :)

  • Reply Rebecca 14 April 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Love following your renovation! Makes me excited for when I get a house and can finally make my own kitchen!

  • Reply Cassie 14 April 2016 at 9:16 AM

    I love your approach on your new project with the house! These spring roll bowls are also so clever and I cannot wait to dig into them!

  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature 14 April 2016 at 9:34 AM

    So happy to hear the renovation is coming along! I love your peanut sauce recipe – I’m making something very similar to this tonight, but with chicken, because my carnivorous husband can barely go 12 hours without eating meat. O_O

  • Reply Medha 14 April 2016 at 10:37 AM

    I love brown rice noodles and anything with peanut sauce is a MUST. This bowl looks delicious :)

  • Reply Maya | Spice + Sprout 14 April 2016 at 11:03 AM

    Totally feel ya on the spring roll issues.. I am very into these bowls! Good luck with the rest of the kitchen reno, super stoked to see it all come together :):)

  • Reply Supal {chevrons & éclairs} 14 April 2016 at 11:20 AM

    This looks epic! London is “warm” and sunny today and all I could think about are margaritas and tacos… but THIS looks super refreshing! x

  • Reply Randle Browning 14 April 2016 at 12:42 PM

    So funny! I had deconstructed spring roll bowls this week! Although it wasn’t exactly intentional—I had a bunch of leftover spring rolls (apparently 2 people can’t eat 15 spring rolls in one sitting :P) and just cut them open and dumped the filling in a bowl. Yours look gorgeous!

  • Reply Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands 14 April 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Looking real good over there. Spring rolls are my favs because of a lot of reasons, but I first fell in love with the colors. This deconstruction sure isn’t an exception. Love the photos!

  • Reply Katrina 14 April 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Oh!! That easy peanut sauce is about to go on everything of mine! Really easy and tasty looking recipe girl – these would be PERFECT packed lunches!

  • Reply Erica 14 April 2016 at 5:52 PM

    Loving all this bowl goodness. Your blog has been one of my favorites for a long time! Excited to see what new things you come up with in your new kitchen.

  • Reply MK 14 April 2016 at 6:09 PM


  • Reply Jess @Nourished by Nutrition 14 April 2016 at 6:18 PM

    I’ve been waiting for this recipe since I saw your post on Instagram! I think spring roll bowls are completely acceptable. No hating here. However, with all your talk about the extra special goodies to come out of your new, dreamy kitchen, I’ll be waiting patiently (read: checking my inbox everyday for a new post).

    I also just got the Love and Lemon’s cookbook and it’s AMAZING! The carrot cake waffles are the first on my list!
    Take care and sending love,

  • Reply Ashley 14 April 2016 at 8:26 PM

    THIS IS SO GOOD. Sooooo good. I can’t wait to see your kitchen. That’s all bye.

    • Reply Ashley 14 April 2016 at 8:26 PM

      P.S. I’m terrible at rolling spring rolls, too. Let’s start a club or something.

  • Reply Chelsea [Baked Greens] 15 April 2016 at 8:07 AM

    We made these for dinner last night and loved them! I made crispy baked wontons to go on top (so maybe these became egg roll bowls?) because I can’t resist any opportunity to cover food in their crunchy, salty goodness, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly! So much love- thanks for the constant inspiration!

  • Reply Amy | The Whole Food Rainbow 16 April 2016 at 1:56 PM

    Hang on in there, before you know it you’ll be drinking a cup of tea in your dream kitchen and feeling amazing! :)

  • Reply Grady's line camp 17 April 2016 at 5:27 AM

    Anything with the peanut sauce seems delicious , lovely recipe !!

  • Reply Abby | Lace & Lilacs 17 April 2016 at 6:58 AM

    Oh, I just adore reading your blog, Ashlae! Love you, tooo! <3

    …. and I totally <3 your no-bake recipes, to be honest. This one looks utterly incredible.

  • Reply Monday Coffee + Links. - The Old Fashioned Girl 18 April 2016 at 10:02 AM

    […] Deconstructed spring roll bowls. These sound like the perfect lunch. […]

  • Reply Celeste | The Whole Serving 18 April 2016 at 11:02 AM

    This is so beautiful and your photos are out of this world. I’m glad I found your blog.

  • Reply danielle // rooting the sun 18 April 2016 at 9:57 PM

    dammit this is seriously one of the best ideas ever, ashlae. deconstructed spring roll bowl rolls off the tongue, looks fantastic, is realistic to make, and i can only imagine every degree of delicious. good luck with kitchen endeavors. love what you do always. xo

  • Reply Carly 19 April 2016 at 2:17 PM

    I seriously hate going to IKEA and my husband effing loves it. About three years into our relationship we realized it would be best for everyone if we stopped going together. So now if we ever *need* to go there he gleefully makes the trip solo and gets to indulge in one of his favorite childhood memories (IKEA hotdogs) (?!?) and I get to do something else that doesn’t give me a panic attack!

    btw these spring bowls look awesome.

  • Reply Emily 21 April 2016 at 8:30 PM

    Oh you need not worry, noodles bowl like these make me excited. :) So many fresh flavors going on there and that peanut sauce- so much love. So excited to see the finished kitchen soon!

  • Reply immaEATthat and That and THAT – Yeah…Immaeatthat 27 April 2016 at 2:18 PM

    […] i’ve made spring rolls for lunch for 3 weeks in a row.  maybe next week I’ll make a version of these. […]

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    […] Fun to say: Spring Roll Bowl […]

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