As much as I adore fall and its display of dark skies, the smell of smokey cedar, and the sound of crisp leaves crackling beneath our feet, I’m always eager to welcome spring with just as much enthusiasm. The sudden sight of lush landscapes and azure skies always fills me with a feeling of restoration… kind of like the default computer wallpaper of Microsoft’s Windows XP; nothing says “new beginnings” quite like that.
The weather here in North Carolina has been teetering sporadically between warm perfection and nippy disappointment, but the former is starting to outweigh the latter and I am oh-so-ready to get my terra cotta pots out, dig into some soil, plant some seeds, and admire the produce that sprouts. And then make delicious food with it.
One of my favorite things to indulge in when the days are blazin’ hot are these cool and crisp summer rolls with a savory, nutty, and slightly spicy dipping sauce which, simply put, is lip-smackin’ perfection.
I’ve partnered up with eight other Canadian food creatives to bring you a gorgeous collection of refreshing recipes that are fresh AF and *scream* “bring on spring”! You can find links to their wholesome eats at the bottom of this post.
Fresh Vegetarian Summer Rolls + Spicy Peanut Sauce
Chances are you’ve stuffed your face with flaky deep-fried spring rolls before. They’re delicious. But they can’t compete with their brighter, cooler, and much more exhilarating sister: the summer roll.
These beauties bring a mix of chewy rice vermicelli, crisp + cooling veggies, fresh basil, and earthy sprouts to your facehole — and it is straight-up ambrosial.
I like to toss my veggies in a light homemade sesame vinaigrette before rolling them up in rice paper like the delicate little presents they are, but that’s optional. Whether you dress them up or keep them nude, you’ll be pleased as punch.
Now. Let’s talk about that peanut sauce, because I could eat the damn stuff by the spoonful.
I don’t want to suggest that summer rolls can’t stand on their own, but dipping sauce makes everything a little better, doesn’t it? Especially when it’s a punchy and velvety umami-filled blend. There are plenty of summer roll dippin’ choices out there, but this silky and spicy peanut mix is where it’s at.
Fun tip: because the rice paper is so ethereal, I love strategically placing pretty ingredients down onto it first when the rolling commences. That way you can see the beauty right through the wrap. I used tiny shape-cutters to create some fun floral designs with mine!
Planning to make this? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme.
Fresh Vegetarian Summer Rolls and Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 6-8 sheets of rice paper
- 2.5 oz cucumber julienned
- 0.5 oz carrots julienned
- 0.5 oz radishes julienned
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- 2 oz (dry) vermicelli rice noodles
- Fresh basil leaves
- Any kind of leafy green sprouts clover, pea shoots, etc.
Vegetable Vinaigrette (optional)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds (you can use light sesame seeds, but black looks way cooler peeking through the rice paper!)
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 2 TBSP water
- 1-2 TBSP sambal oelek garlic chili sauce
- 1.5 tsp hoisin
- 1.25 tsp soy sauce
- freshly squeezed lime juice from 1/2 of a lime
- 2 TBSP roughly chopped peanuts
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for your vinaigrette if you're making it. Whisk with a fork until combined; set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for your spicy peanut sauce from the peanut butter to the lime juice. Mix thoroughly with a fork until well blended. Garnish with roughly chopped peanuts; set aside.
- Julienne your cucumbers, carrots, and radishes; thinly slice your scallion. Place these ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette, and garnish with black sesame seeds. Toss to evenly coat, and set aside.
- Finally, prepare your rice noodles as per the packaged instructions. These normally don't take long to cook — so stand by and be ready to strain them and run them under cook water. Once rinsed, gently pat them with a paper towel (or shake them really well in the strainer to rid of any excess water), and portion into segments. You'll want about 0.5 oz per roll, but don't stress over exact numbers — just eyeball it!
- Prepare a wide and shallow dish by filling it with lukewarm water; pie plates work perfectly for this!
- One at a time, take a sheet of rice paper and submerge it into the water for about 5-10 seconds. (Double check the instructions on the package as dipping times may vary. You don't want to submerge it for too long or the paper will become sticky and unmanageable.)
- Bring the paper to a flat work surface. The paper may still seem a bit stiff, but by the time you place your filling, it will have softened up. The first few rolls might be trial and error, but that's all right — packages of rice paper come with plenty, so if you have to start a roll over, go for it!
- Place noodles and vegetable filling on the bottom third of the rice paper leaving 1” to 2” on the left and right. Garnish with basil and sprouts.
- Wrap like a burrito by taking the edge closest to you and pulling it over the filling, almost tucking it in beneath it. (See notes.)
- Roll forward halfway, then tuck in the left and right ends. Roll forward again until you're left with a nice, clean, and sealed roll!
- Serve immediately with spicy peanut dipping sauce.
- (Please note that summer rolls don't refrigerate well as they become rubbery, so don't make these bad boys in advance; you want to eat them fresh!)
- Because I was short on time when developing this recipe, I failed to take step-by-step photos of the wrapping process (I'm sorry!). I will come back with that in the near future! But in the meantime, check out this link :)
- The amount of rolls this recipe makes depends on how much filling you use in each roll. The best way to go is approximately 2 heaping TBSP of filling. Use your best judgement.
- You may be left with extra vermicelli rice noodles. To avoid waste, store in the fridge and make a soup or cold noodle salad with them later.
Check out these delish recipes from other Canadian food creatives!
- Green Pea Salad by A Pretty Life Blog
- Cheesy Leftover Cranberry Sauce Cookies by The Cookie Writer
- Honey Sesame Chicken Stirfry by 365 Days of Easy Recipes
- Easy Marsala Wine Cooked Spring Carrots by She Loves Biscotti
- No Crust Asparagus Quiche by CulturEatz
- Rose Water Sugar Cookies by Tiny Sweet Tooth
- Cilantro and Honey Sesame Cold Noodle Bowl by The Refreshanista
- Quinoa Spring Market Salad by Sugar Love Spices