This is the best meal I have ever not cooked.
I’m sounding a bit like Dr. Seuss. Let me rephrase. This meal requires NO ACTUAL COOKING besides boiling some water! I’m serious, folks. This makes it an ideal meal for hot summer days since it’s nice and cool to eat, and doesn’t heat up your kitchen.
Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls are extremely healthy, crisp, and refreshing. They taste fresh and bright from an awesome combination of fresh cilantro, mint, and basil, and the hoisin peanut sauce adds a salty, savory umami to the mix. They will satisfy you and leave you full (but won’t weigh you down) since they have protein (shrimp- for a vegan alternative, you can use tofu), vegetables (herbs, carrots, and cucumbers), AND whole grains (brown rice vermicelli noodles). I firmly believe that I could eat these every day and never get sick of them.
Now. While these are very fast and easy to make, they do require a few specific, unique ingredients. You will likely find all of these at Whole Foods, but they can also be found at Asian markets and often times just at your regular grocery store in the Asian foods section.
First, the sauce. THE SAUCE. It’s so good! All it consists of is a mix of Hoisin Sauce, peanut butter (homemade or store-bought), and a bit of Sriracha to spice things up (you can leave this out if spicy isn’t your thing). I found all of these ingredients at my regular grocery store- they are pretty common.
Second, the vermicelli noodles. I found Instant Whole Grain Vermicelli at Whole Foods, which require no boiling. All you have to do to soften them is pour hot water over them in a bowl and let them sit for a couple of minutes. They come in packs very similar to ramen noodles, and likely can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Or, on Amazon! (you can also use regular white rice vermicelli noodles, which can be found almost anywhere, or another variety of rice noodle).
Finally, the rice paper. This is probably going to be the most challenging thing for you to find, but Whole Foods usually has it, Amazon definitely does, and many other grocery stores (especially Asian grocery stores) will have it as well. It’s usually very inexpensive.
Here’s how to use the rice paper and assemble your spring rolls.
You should first set up all your ingredients so you are ready to assemble everything at once. Slice some cucumber julienne, soften the instant noodles with hot water (I just boiled water in my teapot, then after they sat for a few minutes I drained them and ran cool water over them). Cut the carrots into thin strips with a vegetable peeler, roughly chop your herbs (cilantro, mint, and basil), and cut the cooked shrimp into small, manageable pieces.
Then, you will need to soften the rice paper. Rice paper comes in large, circular sheets about the size of a tortilla. They are hard- kind of like big flat noodles- and are softened with warm water so they become malleable. Just fill a large container or skillet with some warm water, and dip the rice paper roll into it for about 5 seconds. If it’s not completely malleable after 5 seconds, don’t worry- the residual water will seep into it while you are assembling the rolls and make it easy to roll up.
Place the softened rice paper on a plate, and begin layering your ingredients on the bottom half of the paper. Then, fold the sides of the rice paper over the filling and roll up like a burrito. It’s so easy! Finish with the remaining pieces of rice paper and fillings, mix up your sauce, and you are ready to dip and eat :-)
These make an excellent meal for dinner or lunch. Make them ahead of time to take to school or work all week long, or make them mini (you can buy the rice paper in various sizes) as a fresh and healthy appetizer for a party. Experiment with the fillings- try pickling the carrots first (a la Momofuku) or substituting the shrimp with pork, chicken, edamame, tofu, or other protein. Have fun with it- you can’t go wrong!
Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce (Vegan-Friendly!)
For the Spring Rolls:
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoons Sriracha
- Boil some water (I used my teapot) and pour over the noodles in a bowl. Allow them to sit for about 3 minutes (or until softened), then drain and run cool water over them.
- Arrange all of your ingredients so they are easily accessed.
- Fill a large container or skillet with some warm water, and dip one rice paper roll into it for about 5 seconds. If it's not completely malleable after 5 seconds, don't worry- the residual water will seep into it while you are assembling the rolls and make it easy to roll up.
- Place the softened rice paper on a plate, and begin layering your ingredients on the bottom half of the paper. Begin with the noodles, then add the carrots, cucumbers, herbs, and finally the shrimp. Then, fold the sides of the rice paper over the filling and roll up like a burrito.
- Repeat for the remaining rice paper rolls.
- Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Serve rolls with the sauce for dipping.