Homemade Summer Rolls, also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, are a delightful dish that’s both refreshing and flavorful. Loaded with fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, coconut noodles, and succulent shrimp, all wrapped in a delicate rice paper sheet, it’s a burst of flavor in every bite. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy light meal, a healthy snack, or a unique appetizer for the holidays, this summer roll recipe is the answer.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
Bursting with Freshness
One of the standout features of summer rolls is their undeniable freshness. With ingredients like fresh mint, Thai basil leaves, and crunchy vegetables, every bite of this fresh spring roll recipe is a refreshing experience. It’s like having a garden on your plate! And let’s not forget the poached shrimp, which adds a touch of the sea to this delightful dish.
Quick and Easy to Make
You might think that something this delicious would be complicated, but that’s the beauty of rice paper rolls. With a bit of preparation, you can have these rolls ready in no time. Plus, the rice paper sheets are surprisingly easy to work with once you get the hang of it. So, whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, this recipe works wonders.
Versatile Dipping Sauces
The dipping sauce is the unsung hero of the summer roll experience. From the classic peanut dipping sauce to a spicy hoisin sauce, or an exotic Nuoc Cham, there’s a dip for every palate. And the best part? You can customize them to your taste. Add a dash of lime juice or a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and you’ve got yourself a dip that’s uniquely yours.
Perfect for Any Occasion
Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue, a cozy winter gathering, or just enjoying a light lunch, fresh summer rolls fit the bill. They’re a crowd-pleaser, making them ideal for parties and potlucks. Plus, they’re light on the stomach, ensuring you have room for other delicious treats.
Not only are summer rolls delicious, but they’re also packed with nutritional benefits. With ingredients rich in vitamin C, low in saturated fat, and a good balance of protein from the shrimp, you can indulge without the guilt. It’s a win-win!
A Taste Adventure
Every bite of a summer roll is a journey. The combination of herbs, rice noodles, raw vegetables, and shrimp, all wrapped in a delicate rice paper wrapper, offers a symphony of textures and flavors. It’s a dish that never gets old, no matter how many times you make it.
🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Rice Paper Wrappers
The foundation of any summer roll, rice paper wrappers hold all the delicious ingredients together. They’re light, slightly chewy, and become transparent when wet, showcasing the vibrant ingredients inside.
Thin rice vermicelli noodles add a delightful chewy texture to the fresh spring rolls. They soak up the flavors of the other ingredients and the dipping sauce, making each bite a treat. If you want to switch things up, you can use glass noodles or zucchini noodles.
Poached shrimp brings a sweet and succulent taste to the rolls. It’s a source of lean protein that complements the fresh herbs and veggies. If you’re vegetarian or allergic to shellfish, you can substitute with tofu, tempeh, or even grilled chicken slices.
Shrimp Sauce Ingredients: Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, and More
The shrimp sauce really elevates your summer roll experience. The combination of sesame oil, soy sauce, chili, garlic, and honey creates a savory, spicy, and sauce for poaching the shrimp. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, tamari can replace soy sauce. For a nuttier flavor, try adding a little peanut or cashew butter.
Fresh Herbs: Basil and Mint
Thai basil leaves and fresh mint are the aromatic stars of the show. They add a burst of freshness and a unique flavor profile to the rolls. If Thai basil is hard to come by, you can use sweet basil. For those who aren’t fans of mint, cilantro is a great alternative.
Fresh Vegetables: Carrot, Cucumber, and Red Bell Pepper
These crunchy vegetables add color, texture, and a dose of vitamins to the rolls. Feel free to get creative here! You can add avocado for creaminess, lettuce or bean sprouts for extra crunch, or even mango for a sweet twist. Pro tip: Make the fresh vegetables as thin as possible! We shredded carrots with a potato peeler, but a grater would be great too!
🥣 How to make Vietnamese Summer Rolls
1. Preparing the Noodles and Shrimp
Start by cooking the vermicelli noodles. If you’re feeling adventurous, cook them in coconut milk instead of a large saucepan of water to give them a creamy texture and a subtle coconut flavor. Once cooked, a dash of sesame oil prevents them from sticking together and adds a hint of nuttiness.
For the shrimp, sauté them with aromatic ingredients: garlic, chili pepper, and green onion to infuse them with flavor. The addition of honey balances out the spiciness and gives the shrimp a lovely glaze. If the shrimp are large, slice them into shrimp halves.
2. Assembling the Rolls
This is where the fun begins! Dipping the rice paper sheets in a bowl of warm water for about 30 seconds makes them pliable. We use a large pasta bowl for this. You can also use cold water if you want to work a little slower. But remember, don’t let them soak for too long, or they’ll become too soft and tear easily. Once you’ve got your rice paper ready, lay it on a large cutting board or damp plate, and then it’s all about layering. Start with the shrimp, followed by the noodles, and then pile on the fresh veggies. Drizzling some of the shrimp sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the ingredients before rolling ensures every bite is flavorful.
3. Rolling Technique
Rolling might seem intimidating at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. The key is to not overfill the rice paper. Begin by folding the side closest to you over the ingredients. Then, fold in the sides and continue rolling until you have a neat, tight roll. Using a damp towel or parchment paper between rolls prevents them from sticking together.
4. Serving and Dipping
Once you’ve rolled all your delicious summer rolls, it’s time to serve! Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce, whether it’s the classic homemade peanut sauce, a spicy hoisin sauce, sweet chili sauce, or our favorite: Nuoc Cham made with fish sauce, chilis, garlic, and lime. The combination of the fresh, crunchy roll with the savory, tangy dip is pure bliss.
Keeping Them Fresh
It’s essential to store these Vietnamese rolls properly to maintain their freshness. Place the rolls in an airtight container, ensuring they aren’t touching each other. If they’re in close contact, place a piece of parchment paper or a lettuce leaf between them, or wrap them in plastic wrap to prevent sticking.
Refrigeration is Key
Always store your leftover summer rolls in the refrigerator. They can last for up to two days when stored correctly. However, it’s worth noting that while the rolls will still taste good, the rice paper might lose some of its elasticity over time, making it a bit chewier than when fresh.
Rejuvenating Leftover Rolls
If you find that your refrigerated rolls have become a tad dry, here’s a trick: Wrap a damp paper around the Thai summer roll. Microwave it for just 10-15 seconds. This process helps to reintroduce some moisture into the rice paper, making it more pliable and closer to its original texture.
🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips
Choosing the Right Rice Paper
Not all rice wrappers are created equal. Look for ones that are slightly thicker, as they’re less likely to tear when rolling. If you’re new to using rice paper, it might be a good idea to buy an extra pack. This way, if a few tear or don’t turn out perfectly, you have backups, or you can double-wrap them. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Customizing Your Filling
While the recipe provides a guideline for the fillings, summer rolls are incredibly versatile. Feel free to add or omit ingredients based on your preferences. Love herbs? Add more mint or basil. Not a fan of shrimp? Substitute with grilled chicken or tofu. The possibilities are endless, so let your taste buds guide you.
Preventing the Rolls from Sticking
There’s nothing more frustrating than making a perfect roll, only to have it stick to the others. To prevent this, place a piece of lettuce leaf or parchment paper between each roll when storing them. If you’re using a plate, lightly dampen the surface before placing the rolls on it. This ensures they don’t stick to the plate or each other.
Summer rolls are best enjoyed fresh, but if you’re preparing them a few hours in advance, cover them with a damp towel and store them in an airtight container. This keeps them moist and prevents them from drying out. When it’s time to serve, pair them with a variety of dipping sauces. This way, everyone can choose their favorite and even mix and match!
🍽️ What can I serve with Fresh Spring Rolls?
Light Salads for a Refreshing Pair
Summer rolls are light and fresh, making them a perfect pairing with various salads. A tangy green papaya salad or a simple cucumber salad with rice vinegar and sesame seeds can complement the flavors of the rolls. If you’re looking for something with a bit more substance, a noodle salad with a spicy peanut sauce can be a delightful addition.
Soups for a Comforting Combo
If you’re enjoying these rolls on a cooler day or just want something warm on the side, Vietnamese pho, Chicken Ramen, or Thai coconut milk soup can be a heartwarming choice. The rich flavors of the soup combined with the freshness of the summer rolls create a balanced and satisfying meal.
🥜 3 Dipping Sauce Recipes for Summer Rolls
- Peanut Dipping Sauce: We love our fresh rolls with peanut dipping sauce! The rich, nutty flavors complement the freshness of the rolls so well. It’s a match made in heaven!
- Nuoc Cham: This fish sauce-based dip is tangy, salty, and sweet, with loads of umami! It is a game-changer when it comes to dips. All you need is honey, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, chili pepper, and some water. Here is the recipe:
- Spicy Hoisin Sauce: This one is quick, simple, and can be made with common pantry staples. Simply mix 4 tablespoons of hoisin with 2 teaspoons of a hot sauce of your choice (like Franks or Sriracha) and…that’s it! You can thin it out with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil if desired. Dip and enjoy!
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Simply replace the shrimp with tofu or tempeh, and ensure your dipping sauces are vegan-friendly.
Dip the rice paper in water just long enough to soften it, but not too long. Working on a damp surface can also help prevent tearing.
Yes, grilled chicken, beef slices, or even fish can be used as alternatives to shrimp.
The primary ingredients in summer rolls are gluten-free. However, ensure that any sauces, especially soy sauce, are gluten-free variants.
Summer rolls are typically served cold and are not fried, while spring rolls are often deep-fried and have a crispy exterior.
😋 More Healthy Recipes You Will Love
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Summer Rolls With Shrimp
For the noodles:
- 4 oz thin rice vermicelli noodles
- 2 cups coconut milk or coconut berveage or water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the shrimp:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 small chili diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 green onion stems chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 oz shrimp fresh or frozen (thawed)
For the roll:
- 8 Rice paper wrappers or 16 if you want to double-wrap them
- 1/2 carrot thinly sliced
- 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- Fresh basil leaves 2-3 per roll, to taste
- Fresh mint leaves 2-3 per roll, to taste
- 1 Fresh lime cut into 8 wedges
- Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe see note 1
- Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce Recipe see note 2
For the noodles:
- Cook the vermicelli noodles as per the package instructions, or cook them in 1 can of coconut milk, plus water as needed.
- Drain the noodles and toss them with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
For the shrimp:
- Add the sesame oil and soy sauce to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the oil and soy sauce are hot, add the garlic, chili pepper, and green onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and tender.
- Add the honey and stir until combined.
- Add the shrimp, stir well, and cook until pink and no longer translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
For the rolls:
- Place 1 rice paper in a bowl of water (I used a large pasta bowl) and let it sit for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Don’t leave it too long or it will be difficult to work with.
- Grab a plate or chopping board and lightly dampen the surface.
- Place the rice paper flat on the surface, smoothing out the edges as necessary. Place another sheet of rice paper in the water bowl.
- Lay 3 shrimp in the middle of the rice paper, followed by 2-3 tablespoons of the vermicelli noodles.
- Add the carrot, cucumber and bell pepper.
- Spoon a tablespoon of the shrimp sauce over the ingredients and squeeze a wedge of lime over it all.
- Place a 2-3 fresh basil leaves and 2-3 fresh mint leaves on top.
- Roll the summer roll up by folding the side closest to you up over the ingredients first, then fold over each side, and then roll it over the top of the rice paper.
- Repeat with a second rice paper wrapper if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe
- Nuoc Cham Recipe
- Spicy Hoisin Sauce: Simply mix 4 tablespoons of hoisin with 2 teaspoons of a hot sauce of your choice (like Franks or Sriracha). Thin it out with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil if desired.
- Rice Paper: Not all rice wrappers are created equal. Look for ones that are slightly thicker, as they’re less likely to tear when rolling. If you’re new to using rice paper, it might be a good idea to buy an extra pack. This way, if a few tear or don’t turn out perfectly, you have backups, or you can double-wrap them.
- Customizing Your Filling: While the recipe provides a guideline for the fillings, summer rolls are incredibly versatile. Feel free to add or omit ingredients based on your preferences.
- Storage Instructions: Place the rolls in an airtight container, ensuring they aren’t touching each other. If they’re in close contact, place a piece of parchment paper or a lettuce leaf between them, or wrap them in plastic wrap to prevent sticking.
- Fridge: Always store your leftover summer rolls in the refrigerator. They can last for up to two days when stored correctly. However, it’s worth noting that while the rolls will still taste good, the rice paper might lose some of its elasticity over time, making it a bit chewier than when fresh.
- Rejuvenating Leftover Rolls: If you find that your refrigerated rolls have become a tad dry, here’s a trick: Wrap a damp paper around the Thai summer roll. Microwave it for just 10-15 seconds. This process helps to reintroduce some moisture into the rice paper, making it more pliable and closer to its original texture.