Crunchy Chicken Spring Rolls with Blood Orange Dipping Sauce.

I’m all about the perfect Monday meal right now. Especially one that leaves room for a chocolate square or two.

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You know? Light but filling. Something other than a salad. Includes veggies so I feel better about life. Check check check.

Spring rolls rank up there as one of my go-to appetizers and I think it’s because they remind me of tacos. Yes, in one of the more asinine comparisons I have ever made, they are somewhat similar in my brain if only because that means I can stick a bunch of different ingredients inside and wrap them up. And dip them in something.

Also, sidebar, can I get a round of applause for providing a recipe today without cheese. WHAT IS GOING ON.

That’s another reason I’m a spring roll fan. No cheese and I still crave them. It’s like they have magic powers.

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I always love spring rolls the most because the rice paper is just so… texture-ally appealing. If that makes sense. I know. It doesn’t. But!

All texture freaks unite. You get me. It’s almost chewy but wrapped around fresh and crunchy ingredients. In this case…

Lots of crunchy chicken.

Mango sticks!

Cucumber sticks. (Eddie hates me for it.)

Some green leaf or butter lettuce.

Cilantro sprinkles.

Lots of lime spritzes.

A whole lot of warm weather wishes.

You can totally add in some avocado but I am having major first world problems over here and am unable to find a decent avocado to save my life. As in, I’ve bought about ten and have waited until they seem perfectly ripe, only to slice open and discover that beautiful rotten I’ve-been-ripened-on-a-truck appearance. Next batch, definitely adding the avo.

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If you’re looking for something simple but fun to make in the kitchen for Valentine’s Day – like if you want to make something WITH your significant other (is this possible without killing each other? I do not know how, says this control freak) – this is such a perfect meal.

It takes just the right amount of work (you can even skip the crispy chicken and just use grilled): you can prep the ingredients, assemble the rolls together and then eat them. No having to assemble then cook and wait and be impatient. You know?

I’m totally speaking from experience here. Not that I’m impatient EVER.

Plus! It’s ridiculously festive with the blood orange dipping sauce. Beautifully hot pink and vibrant and oh so delicious. Sort of just want to take a spoon to that and call it a night.

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In a perfect world I would love for Eddie and I to be able to cook in the kitchen together, like actually both be cooking and/or prepping but it is just not in the cards for us. It’s one of the places that we don’t jive whatsoever, unless there is a square cardboard box filled with pepperoni and cheese. Maybe when we are old and gray?! Maybe when I gain some patience or he stops turning the oven burner to high in order to cook, well, everything? We shall see.

For now, I’m just rolling these crunchy little bites on my own and serving them up. Impressive and EASY. I dig it.

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Crunchy Chicken Spring Rolls with Blood Orange Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 head of green leaf lettuce, 8 leaves torn, washed and dried

1 mango, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

8 rice paper wrappers

blood orange dipping sauce

3/4 cup blood orange juice

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 lime, juiced

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

Place the eggs in a bowl and lightly beat. In another bowl, please the breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place the chicken on a greased wire rack and repeat. Once the chicken is finished, you can spritz each tender with canola oil spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then gently flip the chicken and bake for 15 minutes more. While the chicken is baking I like to assemble my roll ingredients and make the blood orange sauce.

Once the chicken is finished, you can either leave the tenders whole or cut them into pieces. I did it both ways!

To assemble the rolls, fill a round cake pan or skillet with warm water. Dip each piece of rice paper in coat it completely, then remove it (don't let it sit in the water!). Place the rice paper on a cutting board and top it with the lettuce. Add a piece of chicken, along with the mango sticks, cucumber sticks and cilantro. Start rolling from one end and fold in the sides as you go. The paper will stick together and your roll will hold!

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

blood orange dipping sauce 

Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring it to a simmer and cooker for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let sit until it comes to room temperature. It will thicken a bit more as it cools!

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that plate is all for YOU.