Imagine a family of vibrant, crunchy shrimp summer rolls wearing warm, snuggly cashmere sweaters… (Is it a problem that I often envision my food as people?). These “winterized” summer rolls are filled with shrimp, carrots, beets, avocado, cilantro and mint, then dipped into a thick and creamy peanut sauce that feels like a mink coat over a bikini. They’re a delicious and refreshing wintertime meal or appetizer, with just enough gusto to keep you satisfied.
I’m not into terms like “clean eating” and “diet” but I do try to keep a balance in the long-term. Some days or weeks are filled with excess (read: holidays), but then others are filled with vegetables and stuff. I find that it usually balances out, and that there’s always room for dark chocolate. Last week we got home from a New Years trip to the Adirondacks with friends, and I was craving bright, crunchy foods (that weren’t potato chips). These summer rolls fit the bill.
Summer rolls taste better in winter
I packed them with grated beets and carrots, avocado slices, herbs, rice noodles and shrimp. Instead of my usual dipping sauce, I made a thicker, richer version (using only peanut butter and water as the base), which took the rolls into wintertime territory. They’re a fun build-your-own type of weeknight dinner, and they also make for a killer appetizer or game-time snack (the recipe makes 8 rolls, but you can cut them in half to serve a crowd).
I used brown rice paper wrappers for these rolls, but you can use any rice paper you can find. I’d advise buying more wrappers than you’ll need, as some will inevitably tear (some brands are better than others). You first dip the rice paper in warm water to soften, then transfer it to a work surface, fill it up, and roll it up gently, like a burrito. It’s a bit of an assembly line, but once you get going it moves fairly quickly (especially if you have some extra hands to help). And hey, if worse comes to worse, you can always ditch the papers altogether and make noodle bowls. 🙂
Get the recipe!
Shrimp Winter Rolls (a.k.a. summer rolls dressed up for winter!)
- 4 ounces thin rice noodles or bean thread noodles
- 1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2-3 teaspoons fish sauce , divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup roasted , salted peanuts
- 1 clove garlic , coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped ginger
- ½ cup natural peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoon water
- 12 peeled and deveined cooked medium shrimp
- 1 medium carrot , shredded
- 1 medium beet (golden or red), shredded (alternatively, you could use shredded Napa cabbage)
- 1 large avocado , pitted and thinly sliced
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 8 8- to 9-inch rice paper rounds (I used brown rice papers)
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Toss with the oil, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Give the noodles a taste—if you think they could use more lime juice or fish sauce, go for it.
Place the peanuts in a mini food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same processor or blender (no need to wash), add the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, tamari, honey, 1-2 teaspoons of sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it), 1-2 teaspoons of the fish sauce (different brands vary in their intensities—I go for 2 teaspoons of Red Boat Brand), and the water. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. The sauce is supposed to be thick, but feel free to thin it with a bit more water if you prefer. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and set aside.
Cut off the shrimp tails and slice the shrimp in half horizontally. Set up all your fixings.
Fill a pie plate with warm water. Working with 1 rice paper round at a time, dip it into the warm water and let it soak until softened, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a work surface. Arrange a layer of rice noodles across the middle, followed by a sprinkle of the chopped peanuts, some carrots, beets, a slice of avocado, a few cilantro and mint leaves, and 3 shrimp halves (don’t worry about the order; this is just what I do).
Fold the bottom of the rice paper up over the filling, then tuck in the sides and roll it up tightly like a burrito. Transfer, seam side down, to a platter. Repeat with the remaining rice papers. Serve with the peanut sauce for dipping. Do Ahead: The rolls can be covered with damp paper towels then plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.