Spring Into Action
Sometimes, at the end of the day, I just don't have the time for putting together a healthy dinner. But, with a little planning and time in the morning, I can make sure there's a delicious, healthy, and fun dinner on the table that looks like this:
Spring rolls are a great summer dinner idea because they keep your kitchen cool, can be made ahead, and take full advantage of the plethora of fresh produce available this time of the year. In addition to some fresh salad greens (used to add some color and stability to the rolls), I put together a big container of four different types of fresh veggies from my CSA box. You can use any number of items in spring rolls, but you generally would like to have them sliced long and thin to help make rolling easier:
My biggest shrimp spring roll secret? I love using salad shrimp in them. They pack a lot of flavor, are easy to bite through so messes are kept at bay, and they don't cost a fortune so you can enjoy these great treats all summer long! Make sure you drain them well or you will have soggy rolls. I'm also a fan of including some bright, colorful edible flowers with the salad greens to give a splash of color to the final product. You can serve these rolls with any number of dipping sauces. Popular choices include plum sauce, spicy peanut sauce (pictured above), Asian BBQ sauce, hoisin sauce, and even a simple blend of soy sauce and wasabi. However you choose to enjoy them, take advantage of a great make-ahead meal that will leave your home cool as a cucumber!
- Rice wrappers
- 1 c. mixed salad greens
- 1 c. cooked, cooled rice
- 1 c. hummus (choose your favorite variety)
- 12 oz. salad shrimp, drained
- 2/3 c. matchstick-cut carrots
- 2/3 c. green onions, sliced lengthwise
- 2/3 c. thinly sliced cucumber
- 2/3 c. sugarsnap peas, ends and tough strings removed
Fill a glass pie plate or similarly dimensioned dish with hot water and set the rice wrappers within easy reach. Place a clean cutting board alongside to serve as your work surface. Place the salad greens, rice, and hummus alongside one another nearby, followed by the salad shrimp, and then the vegetables. Once your workspace has been set up, you can begin.
Slide a single rice wrapper carefully into the water. This step will take less time if the water is warm (1-2 minutes), but it can also work if the water is cool (4-5 minutes). Wait until the wrapper has become soft and pliable. Carefully remove it from the water and set it on the clean cutting board. You might find it helpful to sprinkle some water on the surface of the board to allow easier manipulation of the rice wrapper. Gently press the wrapper along the edges to set it flat on the cutting board.
Once the wrapper is flat, place a few salad greens in the center of the wrapper and add 1-2 tablespoons of either hummus or rice (alternate to give some variety to the rolls). Sprinkle a tablespoon of salad shrimp evenly over that and arrange your choice of vegetables on either side of that. Be careful not to overfill the rolls. Once you've filled them, carefully fold the top and bottom edge toward the center of the roll and lift one of the two remaining open edges and use that to tightly, but gently cover the filling. Roll it to close the remaining edge against the filling. Place the spring roll on a serving platter and repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings until you've used all of the filling. Chill the spring rolls until you are ready to serve them. If desired, serve them with a variety of dipping sauces. Sweet and spicy varieties are popular.
- Yields: About 20 spring rolls
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes