We’re deep into the hot days of summer, and I’m craving fresh cool meals. These easy summer rolls are perfect for giving your family a little entertainment while providing a healthy and simple meal.
If you’ve never made summer rolls, don’t be intimidated! I’ll give you a few suggestions for wrapping, but messy summer rolls are just as delicious, and you don’t want to miss out on this fun food. Our family has an insatiable appetite for these chewy, sticky wraps that are so lightweight yet satisfying at the same time.
Rice paper wrappers are widely available in the Asian section of ordinary grocery stores. At Asian supermarkets, you will find all kinds of shapes and sizes of rice paper. You can try any size, but I recommend 8 1/2″ (22cm) diameter rice paper for more comfortable wrapping. Three Ladies Brand is one of the most popular.
Look for rice vermicelli noodles (also called rice sticks) also in the Asian section of your supermarket. If you have trouble finding this exact name, just try the thinnest rice noodles you can find.
Summer Rolls How-To
In the recipe below, I offer instructions for how to soften and wrap your summer rolls. In case you are a visual learner, here’s a video you can watch by Ming Tsai. My husband and I are both big fans of Ming Tsai, who has a cooking show called Simply Ming. He’s inspired us with his healthy blend of Eastern and Western influenced recipes.
We don’t do the towel trick shown in the video, but put the rice paper right on the plate and start rolling.
Dipping Sauce Options
You can have as few or as many fillings as you like with summer rolls, but be sure to have several dipping sauces. I offer our favorites with this recipe, but let your kids make up some crazy sauces to try too, which adds to the excitement. Having different sauces means you can appeal to all tastes—sweet, hot, tangy.
Although it’s fun and healthier to make your own dipping sauces, you can also buy them to save time. Just look for peanut, hoisin, and hot mustard sauces in the Asian section of your grocery store, or you can order online.
Fun Food with Friends
Since summer rolls are such a fun food, we invited our neighbors over for a Summer Rolling Girls Night. June and Anna made 3 different dipping sauces, while her mom and I prepped the fillings. We all had fun softening the rice wrappers in the warm water and folding up our individual masterpieces.
We had 3 different proteins: shrimp, eggs, and cooked tofu, which, along with the dipping sauces, made it fun to rate which kind was our favorite. I also recommend baked chicken strips and smoked salmon as alternate summer rolls fillings.
Take a look at our Summer Rolls Party below. I hope it inspires you to try summer rolls for your family!