Summer might be coming to an end, but these Vietnamese summer rolls are good for any time of year—and a summer roll party is a great excuse to gather friends together for some tasty fun! Who doesn’t like being able to pick whatever ingredients they want?
It may seem like a lot of prep, but cooking with others make crafting these delicious Vietnamese summer rolls fun (it’s true)! And by using a mandolin, you can speed up the slicing this recipe calls for. To julienne, just use the mandolin to make thin slices, then stack and slice again into thin strips.
In this picture, you see the platter we had at our vegetarian-themed Aloha Table dinner. By adding shrimp, chicken, pork or even beef in addition to tofu, you can make it friendly to all types of eaters.
And remember, LOTS of different veggies would work in this. This recipe is also a good way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken or even grilled meats (as long as they aren’t heavily seasoned with a competing flavor). Be creative!
Noodles & Protein
Traditionally, shrimp and pork are used in summer rolls, but there are lots of other options. Firm tofu can be pressed to remove water, patted dry and pan fried in a little avocado oil and lightly seasoned with salt. I soaked chicken breasts overnight in a marinade of fish sauce, coconut sugar, minced garlic and black pepper, and then broiled it. Rice vermicelli noodles are also traditional and tasty, but can be skipped if you want a lower carb option.
Dipping Sauce & Herbs
Everything tastes better with sauce! You can use a traditional peanut sauce or the Asian-flavored almond butter sauce I include in the recipe. The sauce could also be used on an Asian-inspired salad or if you don’t feel like making rolls, put your desired ingredients in a bowl and drizzle the sauce over the top. And don’t forget the Thai basil, mint and cilantro. Fresh herbs are a key part of Vietnamese cuisine. They really do add a lot of flavor, plus they’re good for you (bonus!).
How To Assemble a Summer Roll
Once all your ingredients are prepped and your sauce is made, you can start assembling. The rice paper rounds are found at most Asian markets. Heads up: there are TWO kinds of rice paper wrappers, one for frying and one for fresh summer rolls. For summer rolls, be sure to get the ones made with tapioca flour.
It might seem intimidating, but with a little practice, you’ll be rolling professional looking rolls in no time. It’s just like rolling a burrito! Watch this video and give it a try.
- 1 red pepper
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small jicama
- 1 english cucumber
- 1/2 small purple cabbage
- 1 block firm tofu, pressed
- Butter lettuce
- Thai basil
- Avocado oil
- 1-1/2pound chicken breast
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- Mix together marinade and soak chicken for a few hours or overnight for best flavor, turning chicken occasionally to marinate evenly. Broil marinated chicken for 5 minutes and flip over. Broil another 5 minutes then check for doneness. Temp should be 160°F.
- Cut veggies into matchsticks, except cabbage, which should be thinly sliced. For the red pepper, saute in avocado oil for 1-2 minutes to slightly soften.
- Prepare tofu by sandwiching between two dinner plates and placing a large book on the top plate to press out water. Let sit for about 30 minutes, then drain off any liquid. Slice tofu into 1/2" thick pieces, pat dry and fry in pan with avocado oil. Season with a pinch of salt and cook for a 2-3 minutes or until light brown. Flip over, season with salt and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Combine almond sauce ingredients in a wide-mouthed jar and use an immersion blender to get a smooth sauce.
- Note: You can use all kinds of veggies in this. Snow peas or zucchini would also be good. Leftover meats like rotisserie chicken or grilled meats can be used too.