These shrimp winter rolls are easy to make and make for an awesome main course or appetizer, no matter the season!
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.
Healthy winter rolls
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) with Creamy Peanut Sauce
- ¼ cup roasted, salted peanuts
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped ginger
- ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, to taste
- ½ cup water, plus more as needed
- 4 ounces thin rice noodles or bean thread noodles
- 1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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)
Place the peanuts in a mini food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside (these will be used later to sprinkle inside the rolls).
In the same processor or blender (no need to wash), add the garlic and ginger, and process until finely chopped. Add the peanut butter, tamari, honey, 1-2 teaspoons of sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it), 1-2 teaspoons of fish sauce (different brands vary in their intensities—I go for 2 teaspoons of Red Boat Brand), and the water. Season lightly with salt (the fish sauce is salty, so you won’t need much). Process until smooth. If the sauce is really thick, add another tablespoon or two (or more) of water to thin to your liking. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Toss with the oil, lime juice and 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.
- 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.
- The peanut sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
- The rolls can be covered with damp paper towels then plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.