Summer Rolls Erin McDowell

These days, we’re all about making wraps--seriously, everything from sandwiches to small plates--and keeping dishes warm-weather friendly. That’s why we love this recipe for summer rolls. Think of these Vietnamese bites as spring rolls minus the deep frying: Add crisp veggies, lots of fresh herbs, soft rice noodles and juicy shrimp to rice-paper wrappers, then roll them up. You can make them ahead of time (they last up to two to three days in the refrigerator) for a snack or light lunch, or have guests roll their own (hello, super-easy dinner party).

  • Makes 6 appetizer servings
  • Start to Finish: 50 minutes

Ingredients

12 rice-paper spring-roll wrappers (available at gourmet markets and Asian groceries)

1 package rice noodles or bean threads (available at gourmet markets and Asian groceries)

1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated

1 cup thinly sliced carrot

1 cup thinly sliced cucumber

24 cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup cilantro leaves

½ cup mint leaves

Sweet chile sauce, for serving

Directions

1. Fill a large, shallow baking dish with hot water. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. To assemble the summer rolls, dip a rice-paper wrapper into the dish of hot water. Soak until translucent and soft, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Remove the wrapper and place it carefully on a cutting board. Fill with 1 lettuce leaf, a small pinch of cooked noodles (about 3 tablespoons), 2 tablespoons sliced carrot, 2 tablespoons sliced cucumber and 4 shrimp halves. Top with 2 tablespoons basil leaves, 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon mint leaves.

4. Fold the left and right sides of the wrapper inward over the filling. Starting with the side closest to you, roll up the summer roll to fully encase the filling.

5. Serve with sweet chile sauce for dipping. Store extra rolls in the refrigerator on a plate covered loosely with plastic wrap until ready to serve (eat within three days).

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Just like (almost) everything, these summer rolls are even better with avocado. Add a few slices to each roll for a creamy twist.

  • Looking for a time-saver? Stop by the salad bar at your favorite grocery store and pick up precut veggies.