Springtime Rolls & Miso Kale Pesto

Recipe 50 minPreparation Time 5 minCooking Time
Springtime Rolls & Miso Kale Pesto

Springtime Rolls & Miso Kale Pesto

50 minPreparation Time 5 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

If spring had a flavor, it would be these brightly herbaceous “spring” rolls. The asparagus, snow peas, lettuce and abundant herbs provide a fresh, crisp mouthful, perfect for a gathering or a fun roll-it-yourself midweek dinner for the family. Rice paper rolls are incredibly versatile — fill them with your favorite seasonal vegetables and add some pan-fried tofu if you’re looking for protein. The miso kale pesto dipping sauce makes the ideal companion; the miso adds a gentle umami, balancing perfectly with the earthy kale and sunflower seeds. If you’re looking for a new go-to vegan pesto recipe, this is the one. It makes about 1 cup (250 g). — Hetty McKinnon

The Benefits

Asapargus offers a host of vitamins and minerals, and is particularly strong source of vitamin K, as well as vitamins A and C, and folate. Studies have shown antioxidant rich-asparagus to be effective in lowering blood pressure, as well as having anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties. The miso in the pesto helps maintain a happy, healthy gut.

Note: Mung bean vermicelli can be substituted with rice vermicelli. You can swap sugar snap peas for snow peas. Rice paper rounds are available at Asian markets.

Adapted from To Asia, with Love: Everyday Asian Recipes & Stories from the Heart by Hetty McKinnon (Prestel Publishing, 2020)

READ THE BOOK | To Asia, with Love


Makes 12 rolls

Miso Kale Pesto

  • oz (100g) kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup (12g) basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup (45g) toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp white (shiro) miso paste
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Springtime Rolls

  • 12 asparagus spears (about 140 g), woody ends removed
  • 3 oz (85 g) snow peas, trimmed
  • oz (100g) mung bean vermicelli, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Sea salt
  • 12 8-inch (20 cm) rice paper rounds
  • 12 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin wedges
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of cilantro leaves
  • Handful of basil or Vietnamese mint leaves


  1. Step 1
    For the miso kale pesto, bring a saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the kale leaves and cook for 30–60 seconds, just until they are wilted and bright green. Remove from the water with tongs (keep the water for the other veggies), place in a colander, and rinse under cold water. Drain, then squeeze out any excess water. Roughly chop the kale and place in a food processor or blender.
  2. Step 2
    Add the basil, garlic and seeds and whiz to a paste. Add the miso, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, lemon juice and about 2 tablespoons of water and blend again until combined. Stir in the lemon zest and season with sea salt and black pepper, then set aside.
  3. Step 3
    If your asparagus spears are long, snap them in half so they are about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Bring the pan of salted water back to the boil, drop in the asparagus and snow peas and cook for about 1 minute until they are bright green. Remove from the water with tongs (keep the water for the vermicelli) and place in a colander, then immediately rinse under cold running water until cold. Add the mung bean vermicelli to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until completely transparent. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drizzle a little sesame oil over the vermicelli and season with a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Step 4
    To assemble the rolls, take a deep plate that is slightly larger than the rice paper rounds and pour in some lukewarm tap water. Working with one round at a time, dunk the rice paper into the water and allow to soften for 30 seconds to 1 minute — don’t let it get too soft or it will break when rolling. When softened, lay it out flat on a cutting board and assemble your filling. Starting at the edge of the rice paper closest to you (and leaving enough room to begin the rolling process), layer a piece of lettuce, followed by a small handful of vermicelli, asparagus, snow peas, avocado and herbs. To roll, pull the edge closest to you over the filling — pull it tight to keep everything in place. Fold over once, then fold in the sides and continue to roll until you have a nice, tightly bound roll. Continue with the remaining wrappers and filling.
  5. Step 5
    To serve, cut the rolls in half and serve with the miso kale pesto.

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Hetty McKinnon

Hetty McKinnon

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