Savor Health

Summer rolls are a colorful, creative, nutritious and delicious dish that originate from Vietnamese culture. Traditional Vietnamese culture is largely based on the agricultural lifestyle that makes up a large part of the country. Therefore, the diet of Vietnamese people is considered to be very healthy as most of their dishes emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of herbs, whole grains such as rice, small amounts of meat or fish, and limited amounts of fat [i].

This Vietnamese inspired recipe is a great way to sneak in a variety of beneficial nutrients and is vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. Summer rolls are super convenient as they can be enjoyed any time of day as a meal, snack, or even as a side dish!   

Ingredient Highlights

Red cabbage: Red cabbage gets its beautiful, vibrant color from a pigment known as anthocyanin, which has great antioxidant properties. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable rich in fiber, full of a variety of vitamins and minerals, and has been associated with decreasing the risk of certain types of cancers [ii].  

Avocado: Avocado, although technically a fruit, is most well-known for being a fantastic source of healthy fat including both unsaturated fat and omega fatty acids, which have great anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, avocados are high in fiber and considered to be nutrient-dense as they pack an abundance of vitamins, minerals and calories into quite a small portion [iii].  

Tofu: Tofu is an extremely common plant-based protein choice, especially in Asian cultures. Tofu is made out of soybeans, and is therefore a great source of plant-based protein, calcium, and iron. It is also associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as for certain estrogen-related diseases such as specific types of breast cancer and osteoporosis [iv]. 

Tahini: Tahini is a beige colored paste made from ground sesame seeds, providing a good amount of plant protein, calcium, and iron, similarly to tofu, with the addition of healthy fat. Thanks to the abundance of healthy fat that tahini provides, it is associated with anti-inflammatory functions [v]. 

Recipe

Vegan Tofu Summer Rolls with Tahini Sauce

Serves: 5, 10 rolls total

Ingredients

For the rolls:

  • 10 rice paper sheets 
  • 1 block extra firm tofu sliced into strips  
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not gluten free) 
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • ¾ cup thinly slice carrot 
  • ¾ cup red cabbage, thinly sliced  
  • 1 avocado, sliced thin lengthwise 
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 

For the tahini sauce: 

  • 2 tbsp tahini (or any nut/seed butter of choice) 
  • 1 tsp avocado oil 
  • ½ tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp cold water 
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder 
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

Cooking the tofu: 

  1. Preheat the oven or air fryer to 400°F. Drain and blot the tofu with paper towels. Cut the block in half, then cut each half into 2. Then slice the tofu into thin strips (should have about 16 tofu strips in total). 
  2. Sprinkle the spices and coconut aminos evenly over the tofu, careful not to break any of the strips. Spray or drizzle avocado oil over the top of the tofu and gently mix. Transfer the tofu to a baking sheet for oven use or to the air fryer. 
  3. Bake for about 30 mins in oven or 15-20 min in air fryer, or until golden.  

Making the sauce: 

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl until the sauce gets to a creamy consistency (can add more or less water depending on desired consistency). 

Assembling the summer rolls: 

  1. Lay out all of the prepped ingredients to be placed inside of the summer rolls (cooked tofu, carrots, basil, mint, red cabbage, avocado, and tahini sauce).
  2. Fill a shallow bowl or large plate with warm water and dip a rice paper sheet in the water, turning once, until soft (only about 10 seconds – we don’t want it to fall apart when rolling!), and lay the rice paper sheet flat on a plate or cutting board. 
  3. Just below the center of the rice paper, begin layering ingredients starting with a small amount of red cabbage, and then place a few of the mint and basil leaves on top. Then continue to layer with 2 strips of tofu, 2 carrot slices, 2-3 slices of avocado, and topping with 1 tablespoon of the tahini sauce. 
  4. With all of the ingredients placed just below the center of the rice paper, fold all uncovered sides inward and then tightly, but carefully, roll. 
  5. Repeat the process until all of the filling ingredients are used up. 
  6. Serve with the tahini sauce on the side for dipping and enjoy!

Notes:

  • For optimal freshness, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no longer than two days.  
  • If you’re looking to boost the calorie and protein content of the dish to make a more satiating meal, consider adding more tofu, avocado, and tahini sauce to each roll.
  • To make prep easier, opt for a packaged coleslaw mix in place of the carrots and cabbage. 
  • Feel free to get creative with this dish and add, swap, or omit any ingredients. Some examples could include swapping the tofu for animal-based protein such as cooked shrimp or chicken, trading in the carrots or cabbage for bell peppers, adding a fruit like mango, and substituting the tahini for any other preferred nut or seed butter including peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter.

References:

[i] Gordon S, Bernadett M, Evans D, Shapiro NB, Dang L. Vietnamese culture: influences and implications for health care. Molina Healthcare. 

[ii] Rani S, Singh A, Kumar P. Evaluation of nutritional facts and health benefits of red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra). The Journal of Rural and Agricultural Research. 2021;21(1):37-39. 

[iii] Fonseca Duarte P, Alves Chaves M, Dellinghausen Borges C, Barboza Mendonca CR. Avocado: characteristics, health benefits and uses. Ciencia Rural. 2016;46(4):747-754. https://doi.org/10.1590/0103-8478cr20141516. 

[iv] Pal M, Devrani M, Ayele Y. Tofu: a popular food with high nutritional and health benefits. Food & Beverages Processing. 

[v] Sumaina G, Laban L. Tahini: the magical condiment in-depth look at its nutritional and health benefits. Journal of Food Processing and Technology. 2021;12(1). doi:10.1111/nyas.13308.

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Susan started Savor Health after losing a close friend to a brain tumor and, through that experience, becoming aware of the significant unmet nutritional needs of people with cancer.  Struck by the fact that her friend was told “nutrition doesn’t matter” and “eat whatever you want,” Susan read the evidence-based literature on the subject, interviewed oncologists, oncology nurses and oncology dietitians, as well as patients and caregivers, and found that, in fact, nutrition does matter in oncology. Armed with solid scientific evidence supporting the clinical and quality of life benefits of proper nutrition, Susan left Wall Street and created Savor Health, an AI-based provider of personalized and clinically appropriate nutrition solutions for cancer patients, their caregivers and health enterprises. Susan brings to Savor Health over 25 years of industry experience in healthcare and business as well as expertise in strategy, finance and management.

Susan is an outspoken and tireless advocate for cancer patients receiving proper nutrition and nutrition support before, during and after treatment. She strongly believes that the U. S. healthcare system requires new innovation to transform it into a more holistic and integrated system of care whereby multiple disciplines coordinate care together for the benefit of the whole patient. As part of this, her goal is for nutrition to be an integral component of such an integrated cancer care delivery system.  Susan’s commitment to the field of oncology extends beyond Savor Health to volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatrics and as a runner for Fred’s Team to raise money for research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Susan participated in the Cancer Moonshot in June of 2016 where she was a breakout session group “igniter” tasked with starting and leading discussion. Susan’s first book, the Meals to Heal Cancer Cookbook, was published in March 2016.

In addition to her role as CEO of Savor Health, Susan speaks nationally about the importance of ensuring proper nutrition in the cancer patient and on topics including leadership and startups. She has been a speaker at the Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare, ESMO World Congress on GI Cancer, BioPharm America, AARP Live @50+, Lake Nona Impact Forum, and IIR ePharma Summit.

Prior to starting Savor Health, Susan had a successful career on Wall Street as a healthcare services investment banker working at prestigious firms including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Wasserstein Perella and Robertson Stephens. Susan earned a B.A. from Duke University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

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Marissa Buchan is a registered dietitian, with advanced practice certifications in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) and Clinical Research (CCRP). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Duke University, and Master’s of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Marissa worked for 10 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in both the clinical research and nutrition departments.  In addition to counseling patients before, during, and after cancer therapy, she spearheaded nutrition-research efforts for the bone marrow transplant service. She has co-authored over 20 articles and has a particular interest in the role of nutrition on the intestinal microbiota and its impact on patient outcomes. When Marissa’s not wearing her lab coat, she’s in her apron whipping up healthy and delicious recipes that you can find on her blog, Get Off Your Tush and Cook.

Marissa is Chief Operating Officer of Savor Health where she leads operations working with the technology, clinical, and business development teams and management. Prior to assuming the role of COO in March 2020, Marissa was Vice President, Clinical Research and Operations at Savor Health where she worked closely with Savor Health’s Chief Medical Advisor, Scientific Advisory Board, and Clinical Operations Team to evaluate, design and conduct clinical research.  She also counsels patients on oncology nutrition issues and contributes to the Company website’s clinical content.

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Dr. DeFrance has a unique background including clinical interventional cardiologist, chief medical officer, educator, outcomes researcher and entrepreneur. He has expertise in Lifestyle medicine in which he was board certified in 2020 and is highly interested in the prevention and reversal of chronic disease. Dr. DeFrance also has expertise in appropriate utilization of technology in medicine, healthcare economics, value-based metrics, and educational design and delivery. He worked as Chief Medical Officer for HealthHelp, one of the largest specialty benefit managers in the US, and led large teams of healthcare professionals in writing evidence based appropriate care guidelines and rule sets which improve the quality and safety of medicine for over 20 million people in the US while also creating sustained savings in healthcare. He has also designed clinical decision support systems that are currently in use helping to improve patient care.

In 2018 Dr. DeFrance founded MedMentor Education, a company that provides state of the art CME content using the latest in eLearning science and online delivery platforms. Dr. DeFrance is also the founder and President of Digimedica, a consulting and educational design and delivery company for healthcare professionals, hospitals, and universities. He is passionate about creating systems to optimize knowledge transfer and has won numerous awards for teaching excellence during his career. He is an expert in cardiovascular CT imaging and has taught more than 3,000 physicians how to perform and interpret cardiac CT nationally and internationally and has lectured extensively on this subject.

Dr. DeFrance has a stellar reputation in the medical field and continues work to improve the quality and safety of patient care in the US.

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Alyson is a registered nurse and is certified in oncology nursing (OCN) through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). She also has her certification as an ONS Biotherapy and Chemotherapy Provider. Alyson studied nursing at Thomas Jefferson University where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since starting her nursing career in 2004, Alyson has had a strong dedication and commitment to oncology patients. She has worked inpatient specializing in Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Alyson currently works in outpatient oncology at the North Shore-LIJ Monter Cancer Center. Alyson is part of the clinical team at Savor Health where she counsels patients on oncology and oncology nutrition issues and contributes to website and other Savor Health content.

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Chelsey is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology nutrition (CSO). She completed her Dietetic Internship at Northwell Health, received her BS in Dietetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MS in Nutrition at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine. Chelsey works as an outpatient dietitian at Mount Sinai covering all of the downtown cancer services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Philips Ambulatory Care Center. Chelsey works with patients and families before, during and after treatment to optimize their nutrition through dietary counseling and support. Chelsey has experience counseling clients with a variety of diagnoses including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head & neck cancer, and more. Chelsey also enjoys sharing nutrition knowledge with her peers by running a monthly Employee Wellness program that showcases healthy topics, recipes and food demos.

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Michelle is a Registered Dietitian specializing in oncology. She works as a clinical dietitian at an ambulatory cancer center in New York City and is a consultant for Savor Health. She is passionate about educating oncology patients on the importance of nutrition during their fight against cancer and helping them to optimize their nutrition through all phases of treatment. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.

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Denise Sievering is a Registered Dietitian who is board certified in Oncology Nutrition as well as Nutrition Support. A fluent Spanish speaker, Denise joined the Savor Health team to support Spanish speaking cancer patients and to continue to expand the Platform’s nutritional strategies and recommendations in Spanish. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University, and completed her internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP). Denise started her career as a registered dietitian at NYP-Columbia University Medical Center, primarily covering inpatient Oncology units. Denise also holds a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling from New York University, and incorporates her advanced training in motivational interviewing and empathic listening in her patient encounters, particularly those whose lives have been forever changed by a cancer diagnosis. A New Jersey native, Denise now resides in sunny San Diego, CA where she works as a part-time outpatient Oncology dietitian at Scripps Health-MD Anderson Cancer Center, and also works as an inpatient dietitian at Kaiser Permanente. In her spare time, Denise can be found at a mom-and-pop taco shop, one of the many local craft breweries, and exploring her new city of San Diego with her husband and her rescue pup, Ripley.

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Karen is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and registered in New York as a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist. Fluent in Spanish, Karen joined the Savor Health team to support Spanish speaking cancer patients and to continue to expand the Platform’s nutritional strategies and recommendations in Spanish. Karen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College and her Master of Science degree from Hunter College. She works as an outpatient oncology dietitian in New York. Karen often works with local community centers to host nutrition programs for cancer survivors and their families, leading classes on how to live healthier lifestyles throughout their continuum of care. The American Institute of Cancer Research selected to showcase one of her many programs at their conference in 2019. Karen has written for and lent commentary to various publications and truly enjoys teaching people how to eat better. She loves to cook and strongly feels that healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad.

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Allie is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Specialist in Oncology (CSO). She joins Savor in 2023, bringing years of experience from the John Theurer Cancer Center in New Jersey, where she worked with patients with a variety of cancers. Her goal is to help people feel their best, both mentally and physically, when physical health challenges arise. She believes in the power of nutrition ever since the impact it made on her athletic career as a volleyball player during college. Allie graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Maryland-Baltimore County and has her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin Stout. She enjoys travelling, enjoying different cuisines, cooking, and hiking and other outdoor activities with her family and dog.

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Julia Penberg is a seasoned healthcare professional with more than 30 years of experience focusing on maximizing operational excellence, leading clinical program development and building strong cross-functional teams. Her previous roles include overseeing the performance of clinical managers and nurse practitioners across multiple markets within United Healthcare-Optum’s Medicare Advantage and dual-eligible special needs populations, payer outreach and program development at Mayo Clinic, ground level specialty hospital development and direct patient care as a family and dermatology nurse practitioner. Julia volunteered as an operating room nurse and nurse practitioner on several mission trips to Romania and was a support group leader for the Kansas City chapter of the International Myeloma Foundation. Her motivation throughout her career has been with wellness promotion, disease risk modification and ensuring the best patient experience across the health continuum. Ms. Penberg received an MBA from the University of Dallas; a MS in Nursing from the University of Kansas and a BS in Nursing from the University of Texas-Austin. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

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Rachel is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (“CSO”). She joined NYP-Columbia as the outpatient oncology dietitian in 2020 after working at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for two years. Rachel completed her dietetic internship through Keene State College in 2017. She is pursuing an MS in Integrative Nutrition at Stony Brook University and has a BS in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech. Rachel provides nutrition counseling to all types of oncology patients and helps them understand the mental and physical benefits of nutrition as an ally in their fight against cancer. In her free time she enjoys slow meals with family and friends, Pilates, and tending to her fire escape garden.

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Allie Werner is a Registered Dietitian at Fresenius Kidney Care where she provides medical nutrition therapy diet counseling to patients on Dialysis. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition from Indiana University and completed her Master’s Degree and dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, checking out the amazing food scene in downtown Chicago, and exercising on her Peloton bike.

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Immersed in the tech world for a decade, I've coded, led teams, and honed my skills in architecture and design. As a tech enthusiast, I've seamlessly woven through full-stack projects, fusing my love for code with the art of leadership.

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Mohit is a full-stack developer with expertise in Python and JavaScript, known for his efficient coding and ability to deliver scalable software solutions. His technical contributions are highlighted on GitHub and Stack Overflow, demonstrating his commitment to the tech community and problem-solving skills. With a solid educational foundation and a diverse project portfolio, Mohit excels at navigating complex challenges and is well-equipped to contribute to dynamic software projects.

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Rayna McCann is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher and yoga4cancer certified. She received her BS in Nutrition at Penn State University and her MS from Stony Brook University. For work, Rayna wears many hats in the world of nutrition and worked for years in clinical settings focusing on oncology nutrition. She is also an Adjunct Professor and passionate about inspiring the future of dietitians. Throughout her career, she has received awards recognizing her dedication to patient safety and her contributions to improving malnutrition awareness. In 2022, Rayna was proud to accept the ‘Dietitian of the Year’ award through the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Rayna has co-authored abstracts for poster presentations within the American Institute for Cancer Research conference, as well as, the Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference Expo and subsequent publication. She has enjoyed authoring articles, including an article for The Cure magazine regarding Multiple Myeloma and nutrition. When Rayna is not participating in nutrition related activities, she is dedicated to dog rescue.

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