Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Salad Rolls

With outdoor temperatures soaring it's time to bring out the no-cook, summer, fresh recipe ideas. One of my favorites is 'Summer Salad Rolls' with an endless variety of fillings and dips. They are a great hot weather appetizer or light lunch.   
All ingredients assembled... ready to roll!
The rice paper wrappers can be found at Asian grocery stores or in the Asian section of most supermarkets. In the past, I used 'Red Rose' or 'Asian Boy' brands; made with rice, water and salt. I found the wrappers dried too fast making them unpalatable with a firm, chewy mouth feel. I now use wraps that have both rice and tapioca flour in them. They are a bit more difficult to work with, but remain pliable if made a few hours in advance. The brand I use now is 'Vina Bich-Chi'. The package front reads 'Rice Paper' but the ingredients are; 'Rice flour, tapioca flour and salt'... so read the ingredient list! I am told tapioca wraps are also available, personally I have never tried them but am told they are very difficult to work with.

It is most important to have all your ingredients cut properly and easily accessible when you start to roll. Give yourself plenty of time, a good amount of counter space and a few extra rice paper wrappers for practice. The rolling begins as sheets of rice paper are softened in water and used for the wrappers. Various dipping sauces can be used when serving the rolls; Sweet Chili, Hoisin, Fish Sauce, Peanut Sauce etc. ('Peanut Sauce' (on page 190 of 'For the Love of Food') usually accompanies the Vietnamese influenced wraps filled with shrimp, rice noodles and vegetables.) Store the rolls on a damp paper towel lined bake sheet without them touching so they don't stick together. Cover tightly with plastic wrap for a few hours. I would not suggest making salad rolls a day before, the texture deteriorates rapidly, fresh is best. Try to make them as close to serving time as possible. Cut in half and serve with a dip to rave reviews!

Crunchy Summer Salad Rolls      Yield: 8 rolls
Fill, then roll
Plenty of fresh vegetables provide color, flavor and crunch in these light, healthy summer rolls. 

 8 (22cm ~ 8-1/2") Rice paper wrappers
2 ripe avocados, remove pit and peel, slice thinly 
Leaf lettuce, wash and remove ribs 
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 6" sections, then julienne 
3-4 medium carrots, peel and cut into long julienne 
1/4 small head red cabbage, finely shredded 
Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping

Place plastic wrap, a clean damp tea towel or parchment paper on a work surface. Fill a medium fry pan or wide shallow dish (a pie plate should work) with hot tap water. Working with one rice wrapper at a time, completely submerge in the water until soft and pliable, about 15 seconds. Remove and carefully lay it on the plastic wrap. Working quickly, lay the thin avocado slices in a row, just above the center of the wrapper, leave an inch on either side.  Lay a lettuce leaf on top of the avocado then use 1/8 of each carrot, cucumber and red cabbage for each Salad Roll. 

TO ROLL: fold the bottom half of the rice paper over the filling. Holding it all firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in. Continue to roll up then turn the roll so the seam is down and the row of avocado faces up. Don't worry if the first one is messy, it usually takes at least one to get the feel for rolling the salad rolls. 
Place finished rolls on a bake sheet lined with a damp paper towel. Leave 3/4" between each roll so they don't stick together and loosely cover with plastic wrap, chill. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings. Replace the hot tap water when needed.
To serve, slice each roll in half and serve with Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.
Crunchy Summer Salad Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce

Till next week, Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks JP! Pretty, delicious and healthy... the perfect combination!