No, it’s not really. I lie. It’s actually the 2nd day of May. And even May isn’t safe – sometimes you still get the Sn word in May when you live in the Northland.
But just look at that picture and try to not feel all like SUMMMAHHHHH. See? Right?
I mean, I have my windows and doors open all day long, and I find myself doing things like searching all the random compartments in the cars and house and basement for my sunglasses which Bjork stashed away five months ago, and I can finally turn the heat from 90 million degrees to “Away” — umm we have a Nest, like true internet nerds, and so we don’t turn it off because we are fancy and we get to select options like “Away” — and most importantly?
Most importantly –>
I’m munching on fresh, rainbow-colored, RAW vegetables and herbs wrapped neatly (okay but just don’t look too closely at the back side of those five) in deliciously chewy rice paper and dipping them in a homemade peanut sauce and here’s the catch – I’m feeling toe-tingly happy about it. About raw vegetables. !! Watch me unleash the summer self within.
My real brain knows it’s not summer, but all these things? Come ON. The spirit of summer is all around.
Here’s the honest to oh my goodness truth about these summer rolls.
I almost didn’t post them.
Not because of taste! Guys, hello! THE FRESHNESS. The chewy rice paper. The sauce. It’s all so good.
But in the looks department – not so much. On a scale of 1-10, I’d rank my rice paper rolling skills as a zero. Every wrapper broke in at least three places and the ends looked like they were “wrapped” by a three year old. I’d wrap one up and, knowing it wasn’t going to be good enough to be pictured, I’d just stand over the cutting board and eat it. It wouldn’t even make it to the plate, ever. Straight to sauce to mouth. This happened way more times than would be considered normal for a person trying to warm up their rolling skills.
In the end, I had this batch of mediocre-looking summer rolls that I was planning to eat for lunch for the week, end of story. No blog post, no pictures. Time: wasted. Me: crabby.
But then I had the magic food inspiration to do just one simple thing: cut them in half.
And you wouldn’t even believe it but a rainbow of colors and shapes and textures emerged from the cut-in-half summer rolls and covered up all the failure of my wrapping skills. I put them in a bowl to show off the colors aka hide the slopped wrapping and they looked sososososooo pretty.
And I thought: I AM AWESOME AT LIFE RIGHT NOW.
Not only was I eating raw veggies (100 bonus Awesome Points), but I figured out a way to make the average person feel really good about their summer roll rice paper wrapping skills and enjoy the fresh, raw veggies with me. BOOM!
We can do this, you guys.
This recipe is some kind of a cross between Vietnamese spring rolls and the summer rolls I get at my favorite sushi place. I couldn’t resist doing the zig-zag with the sauce over the top to give them the looks of sushi summer rolls, but they are, by definition, really similar to my favorite Vietnamese spring rolls.
MASHING>IT>UP. I make my own food rules around here.
These portable rainbow mint-and-cilantro-fresh veggie guys dipped in that creamy-sweet peanut sauce are ready to be your perfect summer lunch. Or dinner, or snack, or everythannnggggg.
It totally is summer, okay?
- 8 rice paper wrappers
- a few torn leafy greens like rainbow chard
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 medium bell pepper
- 2 medium carrots
- a handful of fresh mint
- a handful of fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado
- crushed peanuts for topping
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (sub a gluten free tamari if you need to make the recipe GF)
- 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoons honey
- a big squeeze of lime juice
- a dash of fish sauce
- Place the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until smooth.
- Slice the cucumber, pepper, and carrots into thin strips about 3 inches long. Slice the avocado into pieces.
- Soak one rice paper wrapper at a time into a bowl of warm-ish water for about 30 seconds. When you see or feel the wrapper getting loose and elastic-y, remove it from the water and set it on a damp towel. Pat it dry gently and dry your hands.
- Arrange a few of the vegetables and herbs in the center of the wrapper horizontally, starting with the leafy greens and ending with the avocado. Fold the left and right sides towards the middle; fold the top flap over the vegetables, tuck everything in, and tightly roll it all up. The wrapper will be very sticky and delicate so work carefully.
- Cut the rolls in half and place on a serving platter (because if you're like me, they'll look better when they're cut in half and you're looking at the pretty vegetables inside instead of the wrap job). Drizzle with the sauce or dip in the sauce or both! I topped mine with crushed peanuts.