These refreshing Rainbow Summer Rolls are like a cool breeze on a hot day, and they get bonus points for fitting in to just about any diet you’re on, from low carb and gluten free, to vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, and Weight Watchers ~
These summer rolls are made for those dog days of summer when you don’t even feel like eating, much less cooking…
The idea comes from Southeast Asia where they know a little bit about hot humid weather. Their food is famous for being fresh and clean, with very little gluten, dairy, oil, or sugar. The focus is on fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices, and it’s a beautiful way to eat.
Are summer rolls outside of your comfort zone? Think of them as super refreshing salad wraps, and don’t worry, they’re not filled with exotic or hard to find ingredients ~ any fresh crunchy salad veggies will work. Today I’ve used
- carrots, both regular and rainbow variety
- cilantro and basil
- you can also use zucchini, firm avocado, bell peppers, green onions, beets, snap peas, lettuce, spinach, and kale
…just slice everything (except the greens) into fine matchsticks. The leafy greens and sprouts lend a delicate crunch to balance out the harder raw vegetables. You’ll wrap everything, burrito style, in a barely-there rice paper wrapper, I’ll show you just how easy it is in the video below.
The dip, or dressing if you want to follow the salad analogy, is super important and provides some wonderful flavor to every bite. You can go light and cool, or spicy. I’ve done a SPICY PEANUT SAUCE which makes a great contrast to the rolls, but today I’m going with an uber simple coconut milk and lime mixture. Dunk, crunch, dunk, crunch…once you get a rhythm going it’s hard to stop.
TIP: Summer rolls are best enjoyed immediately, but you can make them up to a few hours ahead if you keep them covered in a damp towel, and then a layer of plastic, in the refrigerator.
OK, so let’s cut to the chase, you’ll need some rice paper wrappers…if you’re lucky your local supermarket will stock them, right in the same place you find other Asian foods like soy sauce and ramen noodles. These round wrappers come in dried, flat circular disks, and they’re the same ones you’d use to make fried spring rolls. You can always buy them on Amazon, here, and because they last forever, I’d recommend stocking up on several packages so you’ll have them on hand. Once you start making summer rolls you’ll never want to be without them. Click on the photo below for all the info.
You’ll soften the dried wraps by dunking them in a pan of water for about 15 seconds, just until they become pliable…then pile on your fillings and roll away…
The translucent wrappers look delicate, but are surprisingly elastic and sturdy, so you don’t have to have any special skills to make these rainbow summer rolls, have a look~
- 10 9-inch rice paper spring roll wrappers
- 3 rainbow carrots of assorted colors
- 1 orange carrot
- 1 watermelon radish
- 1/2 jicama
- 2 Persian cucumbers, or
- 1 1/2 cups sprouts, any type
- handful cilantro or basil leaves
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- juice of 1-2 limes
- Peel and cut your carrots, radish, jicama, and cucumbers into very thin matchsticks, about 5 inches long, or as close as you can get to that. Don't stress too much about the length. Keep them under a wet kitchen towel so they won't dry out as you work. If you plan to chop your veggies ahead of time, make sure they are well wrapped and kept damp.
- Pour a little cool water into a large pie plate or other dish that is large enough to fit the spring roll wrappers. Work one at a time and immerse a wrapper into the water for about 15 seconds, just until it starts to soften.
- Lay the wrapper on a flat surface and arrange a few of the cilantro or basil leaves, face down, onto the center of the wrap. Pile the cut veggies on top of the herbs. Bring the edge of the wrap up and over the pile of veggies, folding in each side as you go, just like you would wrap a burrito or flatbread sandwich wrap. Slice in half with a very sharp knife before serving. Place the rolls under a damp paper towel while you make the others, to keep them moist.
- To make the sauce whisk the coconut milk together with the lime juice, adding the lime juice to your taste. If you are making it ahead, the coconut milk will solidify in the refrigerator, so bring it to room temperature before serving.
Make them your own ~
- Experiment with different types of sauces, or serve a selection for people to sample.
- Summer rolls can be filled with lots of different kinds of things, including fruit! Consider cutting matchstick pieces of apple, pear, or mango, and serving with a sweetened sauce for a snack or dessert roll. The rice paper wrapper has no flavor of its own, so it can go sweet or savory.