the perfect summer meal.

I’ll admit it.  Sometimes I buy things just because I think they’re pretty.  Or strange.  Or completely unique.

I think bibb lettuce is pretty.

(tell me I’m not alone???)

I was walking proudly through the grocery store with this bibb lettuce in my cart, and not an inkling of knowledge with what I was going to do with it.  I considered wraps at first.  Or just using it as an accent to an ordinary old sandwich.

But then.  My herb garden needed trimming this morning, and I needed a good excuse to use these goodies up.

So.  Really, just like that.  Spring rolls were born.

Spring rolls can be as simple or complicated as you want them to be.

Obviously, you guys know me by now.

And, well.  My spring rolls were pretty simple.  Obviously.

I threw some rice paper into my cart, just as the thought of spring rolls popped into my head.  And to think it all started with a package of bibb lettuce.  

If you’ve never used rice paper before, it can be a little intimidating.  But you’ll get the hang of it in no time.  Simply heat some water and pour it into a shallow dish.  Your basic pie pan will work nicely!

Douse the rice wrapper for about 30 seconds or so, just until the paper is soft and slightly sticky.

Then place it on a dry working station (I used my cutting board.)

Fill it up with veggies, noodles and other such yummy things.

Flip up two sides…

…and roll it up nice and tightly.

WARNING: Be sure not to overfill it.  And yes, I am being totally hypocritical when stating this, as I inevitably always overfill it.  Sigh.

(As an aside, if you happen to have some extra bibb lettuce, chop it all up and make yourself a crunchy, garden fresh salad on the side.  Those sunny garden tomatoes need an excuse to be eaten!)

I’m pretty sure this is the perfect summer meal.

No ovens.  No cooking.  No hot kitchens.

(No frizzy hair.)

Just a lil’ chopping, dicing and rolling.  And dunking and eating.

Sigh.  I heart summer.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Feel free to add shrimp or tofu to these simple wraps!  Honey roasted peanuts are also a nice, unexpected touch.

This recipe makes 2 very stuffed spring rolls or 4 very elegant spring rolls.  I won’t judge you for taking either route. 😉  Serve these with your favorite dipping sauce or use the hot and sour sauce recipe at the bottom.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 cup bibb lettuce, sliced thinly
  • 1-1/2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup mint, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 oz uncooked brown rice noodles, cooked and rinsed under cold water
  • 8 rice sheets
  • 1 avocado, sliced thinly
  1. In a medium bowl, combine lettuce, carrots, herbs, bean sprouts and noodles.
  2. Heat water and pour into pie plate or other shallow dish.  Douse the rice sheets in the water for about 30 seconds, or until soft and slightly sticky.  Carefully lift out of pan and place on flat working station, such as a cutting board.  On one-third of the paper’s side, place about 1/8 (or 1/4 if making larger sized) of the filling and place 1/8 of the avocado on top.  Be sure to leave some wiggle room for rolling!  Roll up two of the ends towards the middle.  Roll up the other side into a tight bundle.  Repeat for all of the rice sheets.
  3. Cut spring rolls in half and serve 2 rolls to each person, along with a dipping sauce.  Enjoy!
Quick and Easy Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce:  Whisk together the following: 1 Tbsp sugar + 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar + 1 tsp chili sauce + 1 clove garlic + 1 tsp lite soy sauce
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite summery things (or foods?)  
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35 comments on “the perfect summer meal.

  1. BroccoliHut says:

    Beautiful! I happen to think Bibb/Boston lettuce is quite pretty too 🙂
    I used to make spring rolls with thinly sliced mango and red bell pepper, dipped in peanut sauce:)

  2. i’ve been looking for a new kale recipe and this fits the bill perfectly 🙂 all of your photography is beautiful, and your recipes always look delicious! thanks for the inspiration 😀

  3. Katie says:

    Spring rolls are one of my favorite summer things to make! Yours are absolutely gorgeous. I usually make a peanut based dipping sauce, but I really like your version – much lighter!

  4. Kshama21 says:

    Yummy! Now I know how to make this recipe. Thanks.

    A favorite summer food is raw zucchini fettuccine “noodles” with a delicious raw “spaghetti” sauce by Jennifer Cornbleet. Delicious, light, and refreshing.

  5. I tend to buy things because they’re “pretty,” too 😛

    I’ve never actually had spring rolls before, though. You’re making me really want to give them a try!

  6. Spring rolls are one of those dishes we frequently order out and I always say ‘we need to make these at home’. Your post inspired me, I REALLY need to make these at home! 🙂

  7. You are definitely not alone! I swoon over pretty lettuce. It can be a difficult thing to find here, so when I find a bunch that is seriously pretty I snatch it up right away. And then I almost hesitate to eat it – it’s just too pretty! I wish I could make such lovely spring rolls, I never have any luck wrapping them up though.

    • Haha! I agree, with some lettuces being simply too pretty to eat. 😉

      Spring rolls get easier and easier, the more you make them. Eventually, the right amount of pressure and right amount of filling just becomes habit…practice makes perfect! 😀

  8. Caitlyn says:

    Rice paper and I did not have a great start. They would rip everytime I rolled them up, partly because I rolled to tight and partly because I was trying to wrap sharp carrots. In the end, though, I was able to make enough for everyone to eat for dinner!

    And yes, I also buy things just becuase their weird or pretty. I think that’s why grocery shopping can end up being slightly expensive for me 🙂

  9. &rea says:

    I love using rice sheets. I also had a hard time using them in the beginning, but we have a great relationship now!

    http://www.mangledlollipop.wordpress.com

  10. Wow I am amazed by your pictures, so beautiful! And obviously I bet this tastes quite good 🙂
    I actually had some spring rolls from Whole Foods today! Now I ought to make my own

  11. That’s not pretty, it’s gorgeous. I love colorful food. Great photos.

  12. These look amazing! I love spring rolls, but I usually make the fried version, i guess i gotta try something new! Nice pictures!

  13. if you don’t mind, i might add some fresh, organic cilantro and a few peanuts as well 🙂

  14. realfunfood says:

    This is something I’ve always wanted to try making. Your recipe makes it seem so … easy! For some reason I always shied away from it. Btw, your pictures are gorgeous. 🙂

    Tomorrow morning I’ve actually alread planned to post my absolute favorite summer recipe – cool veggie pizza!

  15. Lovely photos and simple to follow instructions. I have a tamarind prawn version (obviously non-veggie)with a similar nam chouc sauce and an almond dipping sauce , but my photos aren’t nearly as nice! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  16. This looks amazing. The food and photos are beautiful.

  17. Lorraine Liu says:

    Woe, all your dishes look so healthy! i may wanna try one or two in the next weekend 🙂

  18. Becky Sue says:

    Mmmmmmm, must try these!

  19. A Tablespoon of Liz says:

    yum I love spring rolls! They’re so fresh. And yours turned out so beautifully, mine always look kind of odd, haha.

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