Summer rolls are the bomb dot com. They are basically Vietnamese spring rolls, except they aren't fried. They are #sofresh #soclean.
LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIES! And they are SO easy to make.
All you need to make summer rolls are rice paper wrappers and a ton of fresh veg, plus some protein, and maybe some fruit? In our case, we're making these with charred pineapple (brb wiping the drool of my laptop) and gently cooked salmon!
We'll stuff our rolls up (but not too much, but how do I stop myself?) with cabbage and cucumber and fresh herbs, plus our starring cast members and give them a fold and a tuck and voila!
But wait, there's more. THAT'S NOT ALL FOLKS! You need a dipping sauce when you make summer rolls. You gotta swish that pup into a bowl full of zippy, sweet, spicy goodness that I call my jalapeño-mint sauce. It's inspired by the traditional Vietnamese nuoc cham dressing, but I make mine a little differently. Coooooool. If you didn't want to make a dressing, or if you prefer a sweet-sticky sauce (mine is very liquidy) these would be delish with a store-bought sweet Thai chili sauce.
If you're feeling intimidated by now, don't. I'll hold your hand throughout this whole process and I promise by the end of this we will all be summer roll champions. Let's go!
Wait, What? I still don't get it.
Okay, okay, basically we're going to take rice paper wrappers. You can get these on Amazon or at your local Asian specialty market. When you get them, they're really stiff and need hydration. No, this won't require a 4-step skincare routine to get that ~glow~ Just soak them in warm water for a few seconds. Swish! They'll be soft and ready to roll in under a minute.
How Will We Char Pineapple?
On a really, really, really, hot cast-iron, or a grill, if you are one of the millions of normal Americans who doesn't succumb to the realities of living in an 800 square foot Brooklyn apartment! You just need REALLY HIGH HEAT. (Feeling hot, hot, hot 🎵anyone? no? just me? okay)
What If I Can't Find Fresh Pineapple?
You can use any other fruit you like or you can buy canned pineapple, just try it really well before charring it on the pan.
How Do We Cook Salmon For These Summer Rolls?
Any way you'd like, as long as it's not over-cooked. I cook mine on the same pan as the pineapple because I am lazy and a certified member of Team Less Dishes™, always. If you had access to sushi-grade salmon, you could even add raw salmon straight into the summer rolls. Just make sure in that case that you enjoy them right away or put them straight into the fridge. No room temp raw fish please. No way.
Can I use a different type of fish?
Sure! Any protein will work in this recipe honestly. If you wanted to make it vegetarian or vegan-friendly, you could use tofu or avocado.
Can I use a different type of fruit?
YAS KWEEN! I am not the summer roll police, do your thang! You can get so creative with these. I do love charring the fruit because it adds an element of complexity to the otherwise raw ingredients. Peaches would be 🤤🤤🤤
I can't find Thai basil. What should I use instead?
While it may seem like the right swap here is regular basil, NOPE! Cilantro is a better replacement for the often-times-hard-to-find-thai-basil. BUT! If you can, get the goods, aka the thai basil. It's so mystical and magical and lemony and mmmm.
Alright, without further adieu..Print
fresh and vibrant summer rolls spiced up with flaky salmon and juicy charred pineapple served with a spicy jalapeño mint sauce
For the summer rolls:
10 rice paper wrappers
1 english cucumber, sliced into matchsticks.
⅛ head of red cabbage, shredded
10 leaves thai basil or cilantro, stems removed
small handful mint leaves, stems removed
½ lb. piece of king salmon
½ lb. pineapple chunks or strips
2 tbs neutral oil
salt + pepper
For the japaleño mint dipping sauce:
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp minced jalapeño, with seeds*
¼ tsp chili flakes*
- To start, make your dressing: in a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, mint, jalapeño and chili flakes. Let this mixture sit until you're ready to eat.
- Now bring a large cast-iron pan to a really high heat. Add 1 tbs neutral oil and pineapple chunks and sear them for 4-5 minutes per side. Then pull them from the pan and allow them to cool. If your chunks are thick (like mine were) slice in half lengthwise so they become thinner.
- Rub your salmon with 1 tbs neutral oil, salt and pepper.
- Bring the pan down to a medium heat and add a tablespoon of neutral oil. Add salmon to the pan and cook until medium-well, about 5-7 minutes per side, flipping in between. If you wanted to cook it less for a more rare middle, you totally could.
- Once the salmon is cooked, set it aside. You want both the salmon and the pineapple to chill a little before adding them to your summer rolls otherwise it'll be hard to work with them.
- Making summer rolls is easy if you get all of your ingredients ready in advance and create a work station. You'll want a large, shallow bowl or dish (with edges) that has warm water in it. A plate with your rice wrappers, and all of your fruit/veg/herbs already cut up and in individual bowls around you
- Take a wrapper and submerge it in warm water for 5-10 seconds. Once it looks mostly clear, remove from the water and place onto a clean cutting board where you intend to do your rolling. It will finish hydrating on the plate.
- You want to add a little bit of all of your toppings into a summer roll but not so much that it will over stuff, about a tablespoon of each. Flake of some salmon with your hands or a fork for ease. Aim for bigger pieces.
- The way I created my layers was wrapper-cabbage-cucumber-herbs-pineapple, salmon.
- You want to be fairly quick so the wrapper doesn't stick to the plate or dry out.
- Fold both sides in towards one another tightly over the filling (east and west side of the wrapper if that makes sense) and then roll upwards from south to north. It's the same as making a burrito. Aim for a tight roll.
- And that's it! Enjoy these immediately with the sauce, or store neatly in the fridge for a few hours.
These aren't great to make in advance as the rice paper tends to dry out. If you'd like, just prepare all of the fillings and dressings in advance, but save the hydrating/rolling for the day you actually want to eat the summer rolls
*for the dip, I would start with these quantities of jalapeño and chili flakes and add more depending on your love of spice
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Cook + Assemble
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keywords: vietnamese cooking, vietnamese recipes, summer rolls, nuoc cham, asian cooking, rice wrappers, salmon recipes, easy summer rolls
Want to make something a little heartier, but still Southeast Asian? Try my favorite, easy chicken Pad Thai, made with just 11 ingredients!