"I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect."
At only 36 calories a sheet, I love to use phyllo dough whenever I’m craving something crispy and fried but don’t want the extra calories. Although I’ve never been brave enough to actually order them, the southwestern-inspired egg rolls which have been popping up on the menus of chain restaurants everywhere seem very tempting to say the least. I thought I could recreate the essence of this artery-clogging appetizer into a main dish that might actually be healthy. I combined fresh, wholesome ingredients with some chipotle puree to make a yummy filling, carefully wrapped everything up in the phyllo dough, and baked it in the oven. Paired with some healthy dipping sauces at the table, my hubby and I devoured them as a good-for-you but nonetheless very satisfying main course—you’ll never notice that they weren’t deep fried. I may have never actually tried the restaurant version, but I can’t imagine them being much better than this!
If you haven’t tried chipotle peppers, you’re in for a treat. Chipotle peppers are actually just jalapeño peppers that have been smoked. You can buy them dried and ground, but I prefer the kind canned in adobe sauce because they have more depth and flavor. Typically what I’ll do is puree the peppers and adobe sauce together with my hand blender, leaving a paste which I can store in the refrigerator in a plastic container for many months. Just add a little bit to any Mexican or southwestern inspired dish and it will impart a delicious hint of smoky and spicy notes throughout. Be careful, it’s pretty spicy stuff— a little goes a long way!
CHIPOTLE SPRING ROLLS Makes 15 rolls
Olive oil spray 1 onion, finely chopped 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 10 ounces frozen corn 1 can organic black beans 1 pound fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 1-3 tablespoons chipotle puree (see above) kosher salt 15 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator overnight 1 egg 1 avocado juice of one lime ¼ cup chopped parsley 7 ounces 2% greek yogurt (I like Fage brand) salsa (I like Poblano Farms when fresh local tomatoes are not available)
Filling: make 1-2 days ahead Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil. Sauté onions, red bell pepper, and garlic over medium heat until lightly caramelized. Add the corn and beans and cook until heated through. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted and all excess liquid has evaporated. Add the chipotle puree and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until fully cool, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven 425 degrees.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough on your work surface (cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to prevent drying and cracking). Place a couple tablespoons of the filling towards the bottom center of the phyllo sheet forming an approximate 1" x 2" rectangle. Roll half way up the sheet then fold in sides. Continue to roll and then place seam side down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and filling. In a small bowl whisk together the egg with a ½ cup of water. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.
Avocado dipping sauce: While rolls are baking, scoop out the flesh of the avocado and mash with a fork. Combine the avocado with yogurt, lime juice, and parsley until thoroughly blended. Season with salt to taste.
Serve the rolls with the avocado dipping sauce and salsa. Enjoy!