With summer right around the corner, what better way to welcome the new season than with Vietnamese-style shrimp summer rolls? This is my take on the classic shrimp summer rolls recipe but with a little twist on the inside. Instead of using raw carrots and radishes, I quickly pickle them which helps to add more flavor to every bite.
Depending on where you live, this dish is also called spring rolls. Here in New York City, most restaurants serve these as summer rolls and the fried version as spring rolls. But no matter where you’re located, these summer rolls are the perfect spring or summer meal when you’re craving something light, healthy, and delicious.
Now of course, you can’t have a summer roll without a dipping sauce so my creamy peanut dipping sauce is the most delicious pairing to this delectable dish. It’s so jam-packed with flavor that I can guarantee you’ll be making this time and time again!
Why you’ll love this recipe
If the colors of this vibrant dish don’t tempt you into taking a bite, then maybe the sweet and spicy peanut butter sauce will entice you into giving the rolls a try.
These shrimp summer rolls are made of fresh ingredients that combine a medley of sweet, spicy, umami, and tangy flavors into one mouth-watering dish. Because it mostly consists of vegetables, these refreshing summer rolls are a great snack, appetizer, or light meal during the warmer months.
Most of the ingredients may already be in your pantry or easily accessible so you can easily prepare this in just 20 minutes! Considering there’s not much cooking required and most of the work will be assembling the summer rolls, this is a great recipe to make together with your friends and family.
How do I prepare Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce?
To prepare this refreshing dish, you can follow the steps below:
Step 1: Prepare the pickled vegetables.
Start by slicing the carrots and Daikon radish into matchstick pieces. Then, transfer them to a shallow bowl or container.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and hot water until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the lime, fish sauce, minced garlic, and sliced Thai chili peppers, then stir to mix well. Pour the mixture over the sliced carrots and Daikon radish and place the container in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2: Prepare the vermicelli noodles.
In a bowl, place the vermicelli noodles and fill the bowl up with hot water. Make sure the noodles are completely submerged. Let them soak according to the package instructions or until they turn soft. Next, drain the hot water and set the vermicelli noodles aside.
Step 3: Make the peanut sauce.
In a bowl, combine the creamy peanut butter, hoisin sauce, hot water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic paste, grated garlic, and sugar. Mix until they’re fully combined. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings according to your preferences. For example, if you prefer a sweeter dipping sauce, you can add more sugar. Once you’re satisfied, garnish with a generous amount of crushed peanuts. I really enjoy the crunchy texture of the peanuts so I like to add a lot!
Step 4: Cook the shrimp
In a pot, combine 3 cups of water, sliced ginger, shallots, and scallions, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the shrimp. Cover with a lid and poach for 3 minutes.
Once the time is up, strain the shrimp from the water and transfer it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Step 5: Assemble the summer roll
To assemble the summer roll, dip a sheet of rice paper into lukewarm water and set it down on a cutting board or flat clean surface.
Layer on the ingredients of the summer roll, including the lettuce, Thai basil, cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, vermicelli noodles, and shrimp. You can also watch the video below to see how I assemble the rolls!
Step 6: Serve!
Repeat the steps until you wrap all of the ingredients. Serve with the peanut sauce and enjoy!
Preparation Tips for Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
If you’ve never tried making summer rolls before, here are a couple of tips and tricks you can follow to help you make the best version of this dish every time:
- The longer you pickle the carrots and radish in the brine, the more flavorful they will be. If you like, you can even make them the night before and store them in the fridge until they’re ready to be used.
- Make sure to devein the shrimp before poaching. This ensures that you get rid of that grainy or sandy texture when you bite into them.
- Be careful not to add too much filling to the rice paper wrapper otherwise, you’ll run the risk of ripping the wrapper. If the wrapper does rip, just double-wrap the summer roll with another piece of rice paper.
- Depending on your spice tolerance level, you can adjust the amount of chili garlic paste and Thai chili peppers you want to add. If you don’t want it to be spicy, you can also omit the two ingredients completely.
Summer Roll Ingredients & Substitutions
Shrimp: I like using jumbo shrimp however, any size would work for this. You can also swap the shrimp for your favorite proteins including chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or even crab meat.
Ginger, Shallots, and Scallions: these fragrant aromatics are used to impart flavor while poaching the shrimp. You can still poach the shrimp without any of these aromatics however, it won’t be as flavorful.
Rice Paper: I like to use the round 22 cm size rice paper wrappers however, you can use any size or shape that you prefer.
Vermicelli noodles: the vermicelli noodles help to balance out the protein and vegetables in the roll. For soft noodles that are easy to cook, you can also use rice noodles or shirataki noodles. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you can also omit the noodles and add more vegetables.
Lettuce: I prefer using red-leaf or green-leaf lettuce for summer rolls. Other leafy greens can also be used as a substitute for lettuce, including arugula, kale, or watercress.
Thai basil leaves: Thai basil leaves are vibrant and pungent, and common ingredient filling for summer rolls. Regular basil is an excellent substitute for Thai basil leaves, but expect it to have a milder flavor.
Cucumber: cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to the summer rolls, but you can use zucchini as well.
Pickled Carrots & Radish Ingredients & Substitutions
Carrots: carrots are a classic summer roll ingredient and I wanted to add a twist by quickly pickling them for more flavor. This portion of the recipe is entirely optional, however, it’ll definitely take your summer rolls to the next level!
Daikon Radish: while daikon radish isn’t normally served inside a summer roll, pickled radish is a popular Vietnamese side dish called Do Chua. It’s usually made with carrots, which was why I wanted to include Daikon radish in this filling as well.
Thai Chili Peppers: to spice things up, Thai chili peppers are added. You can also use other peppers including jalapeno, serrano, or red pepper flakes. If you don’t want this spicy, you can skip it completely.
Sugar: the sugar helps to balance out the saltiness from the fish sauce and tartness from the lime juice. You could substitute the sugar with honey.
Lime juice: the lime juice brings freshness and acidity to the brine. It can be substituted with white vinegar.
Fish sauce: instead of using salt, I used fish sauce to carry the flavors of this pickling brine. It’s very pungent and salty and perfectly balanced with sugar and lime juice. You can substitute fish sauce with salt.
Garlic: the garlicky aroma, while subtle, complements the flavors of the brine. As it sits, the garlic will slowly infuse in the pickling liquid, making it even more scrumptious!
Peanut Dipping Sauce Ingredients & Substitutions
Creamy peanut butter: feel free to use creamy peanut butter or chunky peanut butter for the dipping sauce. Other types of nut butter will also work well with this recipe, including almond, cashew, or hazelnut butter. But if you’re allergic to nuts, you can also try sunflower seed butter.
Hoisin sauce: hoisin sauce has a distinct sweet and umami flavor, but you can also replicate it by mixing soy sauce with peanut butter, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.
Rice vinegar: the acidity in the rice vinegar helps to cut through the nuttiness, saltiness, and spiciness of the dipping sauce. You can also substitute rice vinegar with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Soy sauce: the soy sauce adds savoriness and smokiness to the sauce. If you wanted to adjust the saltiness without sacrificing the consistency, you can substitute regular soy sauce with low-sodium soy sauce.
Fish sauce: the fish sauce adds a depth of umami flavors however you can substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce.
Thai chili peppers: you can substitute Thai chili peppers with any of your favorite chilies, like jalapeno, serrano, or red pepper flakes. If you don’t want this spicy, you can omit this.
Sesame oil: the sesame oil adds a nutty and smoky flavor to the sauce. I think it plays an essential role and cannot be substituted.
Garlic: the garlic adds an extra boost of flavor and aroma to the sauce which I personally love. Feel free to skip the garlic or add as much as you like!
Sugar: the sugar balances out the acidity, saltiness, and nuttiness of the sauce. You can substitute sugar with honey.
Roasted unsalted peanuts: the peanuts are crushed to add a crunchy texture to the sauce. I think roasted peanuts are more flavorful than raw peanuts and I prefer unsalted peanuts to limit the amount of salt added to the sauce. If you’re using chunky peanut butter instead of creamy peanut butter, you can skip this. You can also use any type of nut that you prefer, including cashews, walnuts, or almonds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you soak rice paper in cold water?
I recommend that you soak the rice paper in lukewarm water because it will soften a bit faster compared to cold water. However, never use hot water to soak the rice paper because it will soften up too fast and become a sticky mess! I find that lukewarm water is the perfect middle ground for soaking rice paper.
What are vermicelli noodles?
Vermicelli noodles are very thin noodles made of rice flour. They are commonly used in Asian cuisine for soups, stir-fry, and fillings for spring/summer rolls. Because they’re so thin, you can easily cook them by soaking them in hot water for several minutes. Adding vermicelli noodles to these summer rolls adds an extra variety of texture and makes them more filling to eat.
Can you store Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce?
Yes, you can store leftover summer rolls and peanut sauce in the fridge. Just make sure to wrap each roll with plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container. This will prevent the rice paper from drying up and stop them from sticking to each other. Make sure to consume them in the next 2 days before they go bad. Also, don’t forget to give the peanut sauce a good stir before eating to mix the ingredients together.
Looking for more easy and delicious shrimp recipes?
Here are some of my delectable shrimp recipes as inspiration for your next meal!
1. Crispy Shrimp Bao Bun – serve these crispy shrimp katsu wrapped in pillowy soft bao buns for an instant crowd-pleaser. Since homemade bao buns make a huge difference to this dish, I highly recommend you make them yourself!
2. Roasted Red Pepper Shrimp Pasta – if you think you’ve tried every pasta sauce available, indulge your taste buds in this rich and spicy red pepper shrimp pasta recipe!
3. Thai Shrimp Green Curry with Vegetables – the creamy and spicy flavors of this classic Thai curry dish will make you think you’ve been transported right to the streets of Bangkok. It’s also jam-packed with vegetables, making it hearty and comforting!
4. Shrimp Pan Fried Noodle – you can recreate this crunchy dim sum staple at home by adding a ton of shrimp or any assortment of seafood that you like!
5. Honey Walnut Shrimp – if you love this classic Cantonese banquet dish, wait til you make it at home but better than the restaurants! Served with crispy shrimp, honey walnuts, and fresh broccoli and tossed in a delectable sweet mayo sauce.
Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls
- 8 jumbo shrimp peeled + deveined
- 1 inch knob ginger thinly sliced
- 2 small shallots halved
- 2 scallions roughly chopped
- 6 sheets of rice paper
- 6 oz vermicelli noodles cooked
- 6 lettuce red leaf, green leaf, or your choice of greens
- 12 thai basil leaves substitute for regular basil
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 3 cups water for boiling
Pickled Carrots + Radish
- 1/3 cup carrot julienned
- 1/4 cup daikon radish julienned
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 thai chili peppers sliced
- 2 1/2 tbsp creamy peanut butter substitute with chunky peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp chili garlic paste like sambal oelek
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1 tsp sugar
- crushed peanuts for garnish
- To prepare the pickled carrots and radish, start by thinly slicing the carrots and radish. Transfer to a shallow bowl or container.
- In a small bowl, combine hot water and sugar and hot water. Mix together until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, minced garlic, and sliced Thai chili peppers then stir to mix well. Pour the mixture over the carrot and radish, making sure everything is fully submerged. Place in the fridge while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
- To prepare the peanut sauce, combine the creamy peanut butter, hoisin sauce, hot water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic paste, grated garlic, and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Mix until fully combined. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste and preferences! Finally, garnish with crushed peanuts. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Now let's finish up the dish!
- In a pot, combine 3 cups water, sliced ginger, shallots, and scallions, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the shrimp. Cover with a lid and poach for 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- To assemble the summer roll, dip a sheet of rice paper into lukewarm water and set it down on a cutting board or clean surface area.
- Layer on the ingredients including lettuce, Thai basil, cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, vermicelli noodles, and shrimp.
- Serve and enjoy with peanut sauce!
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