Oh. My. Goodness.
Vacation did a number on me, guys. I have never felt so sluggish and bloated and out of it after a vacation before. I think it is a combination of things: mainly, that we subsisted on white carbs (pasta and bread and gelato) for most of our trip (let’s be honest: wine was also a huge part of the regular rotation). But also the long flights. Whew. Vacation can take a lot out of a girl! #firstworldprobs
I’ve been so dehydrated since we got back from Italy. All I want are gallons and gallons of icy cold water. Topped off with salads. And smoothies. And more salads. Every now and then my classic french fry craving makes an appearance, but really, my body is in major detox mode. Or at least it wants to be!
So! Today, I’m sharing a light and healthy dinner option with you. This is just where I’m AT right now.
Summer rolls are one of my all-time favorite light lunches or summertime dinners. They’re so…satisfying! While staying light! I don’t feel completely gross after eating these, and that is something I’m definitely down with at the moment.
These summer rolls are loaded with some of my favorite things! Chewy rice noodles. Crunchy cucumber. Loads of fresh herbs. A handful of greens for good measure. And sweet, tender, lovely LUMP CRAB MEAT. Yessssss.
A few months ago, I was flipping through my latest copy of Food & Wine magazine, and a page showing the most succulent-looking summer rolls caught my eye. Bonus? They were CRAB summer rolls.
I was sold on the spot. I knew immediately what we were having for dinner that night. Literally.
Yup. My crazy ass ran out to the store at first chance and got all the ingredients to make a version of those crab summer rolls at home. Me being me, I never stick with a recipe as written and had to make a tweak or two. The tweaked version is what you see here.
Summer rolls, like many of my favorite things to make, are very versatile. You can add or adjust the filling as you see fit. Skip the noodles and bulk them up with more greens. Add in some avocado (I’m totally doing that next time). Swap the cucumber for slices of carrot or bell pepper. Whatever you decide to do, just promise me that you’ll make the delicious dipping sauce to go alongside! It’s drinkable.
Well, OK, maybe not drinkable. That certainly would not help my bloat situation, but if I COULD get away with chugging down the slightly sweet, salty, spicy, and delicious concoction, I totally would. Did I mention it’s delicious? (Get this girl a thesaurus already.)
I could see these summer rolls working for dinner (which is how we enjoyed them), but also as a light first course or appetizer, a lunch, or even just an afternoon snack. They’re SO GOOD, guys. Bonus: you can totally make them ahead! I like to make a large batch of these and keep them in an airtight container lined with damp paper towels (which help keep the rice paper from drying out too much). They’re best cold from the fridge, so it works out well for meal prep and planning.
Until my body adjusts from vacation, most meals at my house will look like this. And I’m juuuuuust fine with that.
4 oz rice noodles
Rice paper wrappers (8-inch rounds)
1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced into julienned strips
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup chopped scallions
½ chopped salted peanuts, for garnish
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 Thai chile pepper, finely minced (See NOTE)
1 scallion, chopped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Fresh mint and cilantro, chopped
Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain well and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
Before soaking the rice paper and assembling the rolls, make sure to have all the fillings ready to go (prep everything while the rice noodles soak).
Fill a large bowl or baking dish with warm water. Add one rice paper to the water and let it sit in the water until just pliable, about 10 seconds.
Spread the paper out gently on a work surface and add some of the rice noodles, crab, cucumber, lettuce, scallions, and herbs. Roll the paper around the fillings like you would a burrito: fold in the sides as you tightly roll the ingredients inside the wrapper.
Place the formed summer roll on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Continue with the other rolls.
Once all the rolls have been formed, sliced each in half and serve garnished with the chopped peanuts and with the dipping sauce on the side.
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl, adjusting the seasoning to your tastes, and garnish with a little chopped mint and cilantro.
If you cannot find fresh Thai chile peppers, feel free to sub in a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Adapted from here.