Bursting with freshness, color and textures, these pink-wrapped Vegetable Summer Rolls are a perfect light appetizer before any meal. Step up the flavors with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce or any other sauce of your choice.
I recently took a Thai cooking course at Mengrai Thai Restaurant in Toronto with Chef Sasi Meechai and picked up a few useful tips about making cold/summer rolls. I then came across a picture of humous salad rolls in an LCBO Food & Drink Magazine with pink rice paper wrappers which looked very cool. So a few practices later, a bit more research and tips in hand, I can now make a decent pink vegetable summer roll.
The fillings for these cold rolls are really up to your imagination and preferences. In the recipe below, I used cucumber, basil, carrots, beets, sesame seeds and vermicelli or quinoa.
I find the dipping sauce is important to give the blander vegetables a bit more oomph even when bit of hoisin sauce is added to the inside of the rolls. I like to use sweet chili sauce from the bottle with a splash of lime to make it easy on myself, but another big favorite is peanut sauce or a soy-vinegar-sesame sauce.
Summer Vegetable Rolls are easier than you might think and make a great appetizer or even a brunch dish, light lunch or healthy snack. Guests watching their calories love them.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Vegetarian fillings (choose whatever you like, trying to balance colour and texture): carrots, beets, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, watercress, pea shoots, bean sprouts, cucumber, basil leaves, lettuce, tofu, cilantro, chives, mango, peppers, mint leaves, shredding purple cabbage.
- Other fillings: hummus, rice vermicelli, quinoa, cooked shrimp.
- Sauces: spicy peanut sauce, Hoisin, Thai sweet chili sauce, vinegar dipping sauce
- Skip the beet juice and use plain coloured wrappers (or make half pink, half white).
Tips on How to Make Vegetable Summer Rolls
- Buy Rose Brand wrappers if you can (Chef Sasi says they are the best).
- Find wrappers and rice vermicelli in Asian supermarkets or some larger grocery stores.
- Use 2 rice paper wrappers per roll if you’re a newbie at making summer rolls (they will be less likely to tear).
- Buy the large 8 1/2 inch round wrappers which makes tucking in the ends of the rolls easier.
- Pat veggies dry if there is a lot of moisture on them.
- For easier rolling, some chefs roll the fillings in lettuce first, then in the wrapper. The lettuce holds things together.
- Here’s a video on how to make the rolls.
- The general consensus is that you can make cold rolls up to a maximum of 2-3 hours ahead. Cover the rolls with a damp tea cloth until serving to keep them moist.
- If you have to make them the day before (or you want to store leftovers), wrap the rolls in plastic and seal them in a ziploc bag or container. Then refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.
Colourful Vegetable Summer Rolls Recipe
- 8 rice wrappers, 6 or 8.5 inch round
- 1 can sliced beets or vacuum sealed package of cooked julienne beets
- 1/2 cup cooked rice vermicelli and/or cooked quinoa
- vegetables: 1 carrot, 1 seedless cucumber, 1/2 avocado
- 4 basil leaves, sliced
- hoisin sauce
- sesame seeds
- spicy sweet chili sauce with a squeeze of lime (or peanut sauce)
- GATHER AND PREPARE INGREDIENTS: Gather sliced vegetables and pat dry if wet. Gather cooked vermicelli and/or quinoa - set aside to cool. Gather hoisin, sesame seeds, rice wrappers, clean cutting board and plate/platter. Fill a medium bowl with 3-4 cups of hot (not boiling) water. Add about 1/2 cup beet juice or julienne cooked beets to turn water dark pink/red.
- SOFTEN RICE WRAPPERS: Dip two rice wrappers at a time into the hot water with beet juice. Keep dipping and turning wrappers (holding them together) ensuring all parts are soaked. When rice wrappers soften in about 10 seconds (almost as soft as a cooked noodle), place carefully on cutting board.
- FILL WRAPPERS: Lay some vermicelli or quinoa along length of wrapper, 2 inches from bottom edge. Place some cucumber, carrot, avocado on top. Squeeze a thin strip of hoisin sauce along the veggies. Add a couple of julienne beet strips (if desired) and basil leaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. The total filling should be about 1-1 1/2 inches thick.
- TUCK AND ROLL: Fold the bottom of wrapper over filling and tuck snugly under filling. Be careful not to tear wrapper. Continue to tightly roll, tuck, roll, tuck until summer roll is complete. Wrapper is sticky so roll will stay together.
- REPEAT PREVIOUS 3 STEPS: for remaining rolls.
- SERVE: Rolls can be served whole, but I like to cut them into pieces to show the pretty insides. Cut 1/2 inch off each end, then cut roll into 3-4 pieces, depending on the size of the wrapper. Turn cut sides up or stack on a plate. To keep moist and fresh for up to 2-3 hours, cover with a well dampened tea towel (no need to refrigerate). Serve with sweet chili sauce with splash of lime juice (or hoisin or peanut sauce if preferred).
Here is a recipe you might enjoy with your Vegetable Summer Rolls: