Fresh Summer Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce

These light and healthy Vietnamese-influenced summer rolls are filled with delicious  rice noodles, and plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables for flavor and crunch. Once your ingredients are prepped, the rolling fun begins as sheets of rice paper are softened in water and used for the wrappers. Dipped in a spicy peanut sauce, these rolls are a great hot-weather appetizer or light lunch. We love them. 

Game plan: Be sure to have all your ingredients ready and easily accessible when you start to roll, and give yourself plenty of time (and counter space) to make these. Organization is key here.  Also be sure to have a few extra rice paper wrappers on hand—it may take a few tries before you’re rolling like a pro. I STILL struggle. My rolls still are not as gorgeous but they do taste great and that's all that matters, right?!

Store the summer rolls in a dish or plastic container that’s roomy enough to hold them without their touching. Place a damp paper towel in the bottom of the container to keep the rolls moist. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

You can make the peanut sauce a day ahead. Just keep it refrigerated in a covered container. Let it sit for a bit at room temperature before serving. And try not to eat it all with a spoon !

INGREDIENTS 

For the peanut sauce:

  • 3/4 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 1/2 medium limes)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons chile-garlic paste
  • 1 medium garlic clove, mashed to a paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Easy breezy. 

For the summer rolls:

  • 4 ounces dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
  • 16 (8-1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts (about 3 ounces)
  • 32 medium fresh mint leaves (from about 1 bunch)
  • 32 fresh basil or Thai basil leaves
  • 16 small fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, seeds removed, and thinly sliced lengthwise into 32 pieces (optional)
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-by-1/4-by-2-1/2-inch sticks
  • 3 medium scallions, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2-1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves, cut in half

There are many different methods, but this one is easiest for me. Place veggies, herbs, and lettuce very tightly on 1/3 of the slightly firm rice paper wrapper. I always place them on the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper so it’s easier to roll up. Don’t over-stuff the roll. Rather, begin with a small amount of filling then add a little more until you find what works with your size/brand of rice paper roll. Again, it just takes a little practice.

Roll everything up tightly– just like a burrito. To do so, gently pull up the bottom of the roll and roll over the filling. Then, roll and use your hands to tuck the filling in as you go. Remember, you want a very tight roll. You can fold in the sides of the rice paper roll if you wish, but sometimes I don’t.

Practice makes perfect !

XO

Sam