Ditch the boring salad and have some fresh, crisp Vietnamese summer rolls instead! Together with the tangy tahini dipping sauce, these summer rolls do not only make a great appetizer or snack, but they are also perfect travel companions.
Unlike Chinese spring rolls – as seen at most Asian buffets – Vietnamese summer rolls aren’t fried but instead eaten fresh. So not only do they look very pretty, but filled with the right ingredients they happen to be very healthy, too. Due to the rice paper wrapper, summer rolls are a lot lighter than tortilla wraps. You can find rice paper and glass noodles at Asian stores or sometimes even at grocery stores with a selection of Asian groceries. With this recipe and foolproof instructions on how to roll them (see pictures), these delicious rolls are made within a few minutes. I find it really helpful to wrap the vegetables in a lettuce leaf first before rolling the rice paper rolls. This way, single vegetable sticks won’t pierce through the thin rice paper. As with any other recipe, but with this one specifically, pictures paint a thousand words:
- 50 g vermicelli (glass noodles) (about 2 oz)
- 1-2 carrots
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 bell pepper
- 1/4 medium head red cabbage
- 1/2 mango
- 10 lettuce leaves (e.g. romaine lettuce)
- 10 rice paper wrappers
- a bunch of fresh mint (optional)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- 5 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/2-1 inch ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder) grated
- 1-2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp garlic powder) crushed
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1 tbsp tamari/ soy sauce
- 2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes, then drain well.
Chop carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, red cabbage and mango into thin strips. Set out all the ingredients (chopped vegetables, lettuce, mint and noodles) within easy reach of work surface (such as a cutting board).
Fill a plate big enough to fit the wrappers with lukewarm water and dunk one in for a few seconds until it's pliable. Place flat onto cutting board.
Arrange lettuce leaf on the bottom third of the wrapper, fill with a small amount of noodles and a few vegetable sticks. Place 2-3 mint leaves towards the top edge of the wrapper.
Gently pull up the bottom of the wrapper and, holding the filling in position with your fingers, start rolling up tightly.
Fold the sides of the rice paper in and over the filling.
Continue to roll up tightly until the whole wrapper is rolled up
To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add 2-3 tbsp water until desired consistency.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with tahini sauce.
These summer rolls can be made ahead of time. Keep in the fridge until serving.