Shrimp Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Rice paper wraps filled with red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, crushed peanuts and shrimp – or lobster served with a spicy peanut sauce and lime wedges.

An overhead image of fresh summer rolls

This is one dish I could eat every single day. It’s so fresh so light and jammed packed with flavor.

My love for fresh spring rolls, also known as summer rolls, began in college at one of my favorite Boston Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Pasteur. I would go there at least twice a week in college and grad school because those fresh spring rolls were so cheap and so good – and you could make your own with mint, carrots, tofu or shrimp, rice vermicelli and lettuce. They were served with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce for dipping. They were so crisp, fresh and packed with flavor.

And my love for these fresh summer rolls continues decades later. So much so, that when I was pregnant with Lucca, I would beg Adrian to bring me home fresh summer rolls from Market Basket each night when he got home from work. That was my only real pregnancy craving, but it was very strong!

An image of fresh shrimp spring rolls with lime and peanut sauce

Making your own fresh spring rolls is easy. The most time consuming part is washing and chopping all the fresh veggies. Then you’ll assemble the rolls by dipping the rice paper wrappers in warm water, then layering the shrimp, brown rice and veggies on top, then wrapping the rolls up like you would a burrito.

An overhead image of fresh spring rolls

We serve these fresh shrimp summer rolls with a homemade peanut sauce.

We always serve our rolls with a homemade peanut sauce. No store-bought peanut sauce has ever come close to homemade and the homemade version is so easy to make – why bother finding a substitute. In addition to using this spicy peanut sauce as a dipping sauce for these spring rolls, it makes a great dipping sauce for pan fried or baked tofu.

As for the spiciness of the peanut sauce, that comes from the sriracha, so adjust the amount you use based on your heat tolerance.

Make these rolls according to your likes and what you have on hand.

These fresh rolls are a little different each time we make them. Sometimes we use shrimp, sometimes tofu. And here, I had some leftover lobster meat, so we used half shrimp half lobster. Sometimes we add avocado for creaminess. Normally we’ll use both cilantro and mint (love the combo) other times we use just one or the other – and this year we have Thai basil growing in the garden, so I added that to the mix.

Oftentimes too we will add rice vermicelli (rice noodles) which is traditional to these Vietnamese summer rolls, but you can also use sushi rice, brown rice (we used that here), etc. The bottom line is, personalize these fresh spring rolls depending on what you like (veggies, herbs, protein) and what you have on hand.

Everyone can make their own fresh spring rolls.

The best part about making the fresh spring rolls at home? It makes for a fun hands-on dinner – everyone assembles their own, adding what and how much they want of each ingredient. Also, if you have a vegetarian or vegan at your table or other dietary restrictions, each guest can construct their summer rolls according to their dietary preferences. And, because you need to make your own rolls, it forces you to slow down when you eat because you’re making them as you go.

You can also assemble these summer rolls a few hours ahead of time, if you prefer. Just don’t assemble more than a few hours ahead, because the rice paper wrapped become stiff as time goes on.

How gorgeous are these ingredients?

These fresh rolls make a great dinner or appetizer. We typically have them for dinner, but at Vietnamese restaurants, they serve as more of an appetizer.

Here’s how to make these Shrimp Summer Rolls:

An overhead image of fresh spring rolls

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Shrimp Summer Rolls. Rice paper wraps filled with red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, brown rice and shrimp – or lobster and served with spicy peanut sauce.
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 599 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 rice paper wraps
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp or lobster meat, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 english cucumber sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 carrots shaved or cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted peanuts crushed
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges

For the spicy peanut sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha use more or less depending on your spice tolerance
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

For the fresh summer rolls

  • Put all ingredients into small bowls on the table or a top a large cutting board. Prepare a large pot of warm water and set on table.
  • Dip a rice paper wrap in the water (make sure all parts of the wrap have gotten wet) and lay on your plate - the wrap should soften and be pliable. If the water is too hot, the wrappers will be too sticky. Then, build your own spring roll and roll it like a mini burrito. Serve with lime segments and spicy peanut sauce (below).

For the spicy peanut sauce

  • Combine all ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl. Whisk well. Heat in 10 second increments (2-3 times) in the microwave, stirring after each increment until smooth and combined.

Notes

These fresh summer rolls can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge, but should not be kept in the fridge more than a few hours or the rice paper wraps will begin to harden and dry out. 

Nutrition

Calories: 599kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 42gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 293mgSodium: 1801mgPotassium: 765mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 6194IUVitamin C: 46mgCalcium: 290mgIron: 7mg
Keyword fresh shrimp rolls, fresh spring rolls, lobster summer rolls, shrimp rolls, shrimp spring rolls, Shrimp Summer Rolls, summer rolls
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This recipe was first published on January 21st, 2015, but has been updated with new images.