To Asia With Love: Springtime Rolls With Miso-Kale Pesto With Hetty McKinnon

by Hetty McKinnon

Hetty McKinnon is a vegetarian cookbook author and food writer. In 2011, she established Arthur Street Kitchen, a local salad-delivery business run out of her home in Sydney. 

In 2015, Hetty and her family relocated to Brooklyn, New York where she has published three bestselling cookbooks: Community, Neighbourhood, and the award-winning Family. She is also the editor and publisher of the multicultural food magazine, Peddler, and hosts its podcast “The House Specials.” She is a regular recipe contributor to The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Epicurious, The Guardian and ABC Life. We've teamed up with Hetty to bring you a fresh, vegan recipe to try this spring. 

Springtime rolls with miso-kale pesto

These brightly herbaceous “spring” rolls, containing 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).

Makes 12

Vegan and gluten free


  • 12 asparagus spears (about 5 ounces / 140 g), woody ends removed
  • 3 ounces (85 g) snow peas, trimmed
  • 3 ½ ounces (100g) mung bean vermicelli, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • 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
  • Sea salt

Miso-kale pesto

  • 3 ½ ounces (100g) kale leaves
  • ½ cup (12g) basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 (45g) toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white (Shiro) miso paste
  • ¾ (185ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • Sea salt and black pepper


  • Mung bean vermicelli: rice vermicelli
  • Snow peas: sugar snap peas


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.

2. Roughly chop the kale and place in a food processor or blender. 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. If your asparagus spears are long, snap them in half so they are about 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

4. 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 refresh under cold running water until completely cold.

5. Add the mung bean vermicelli to the boiling water and cook for 1–2 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.

6. 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 30–60 seconds—don’t let it get too soft or it will break when rolling.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. To serve, cut the rolls in half and serve with the miso–kale pesto.

To Asia With Love by Hetty McKinnon is available to purchase now (Prestel, £26). All images © Hetty McKinnon.


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