Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls | Dishin & Dishes




“Have you watched the movie Babette’s Feast?

It’s a Danish film, by Gabriel Axel, full of annoying subtitles, washed out scenery, bland boring people that culminates into one of the most delectably prepared feasts I’ve ever seen, including the most expensive dish -“Cailles en Sarcophage” or Quail in puff pastry – deboned quail, seared, stuffed with foie gras and HUGE truffle slices, and a magnificent sauce of figs and truffle spooned over top. Watching these Puritan-type old spinsters warm and open up over delightfully thought-out and prepared cuisine is one of the reasons I love to cook.

Ordinary food becomes gastronomy, acquaintances become friends, relationships improve over each intimate and delicious bite.

It’s what makes you think about what would please that night for dinner, or that weekend for brunch with loved ones, new acquaintances or just the two of you on a romantic evening. Which led me to this dish, which is sadly not as eleborate or expensively delicious as Cailles en Sarcophage, but would satisfy anyone on the hottest of summer nights, or set out the fixings and rolled out as a group would be a fun project to bring even the somber-most hearts together.

I love fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, especially in the dog days of summer when the green seems to have disappeared among browning foliage and grass and the pavement is so hot you can’t walk barefoot on it without hopping back and forth between each foot. The cool is finally coming here but it’s hardly seemed like fall at all with our temps being in the 80’s 90’s!

You can fill these with any variety of vegetables, meats or tofu and you can use a choice of fresh herbs, but I sort of love the combination of Thai basil and mint in the more traditional way of things.

I did decide to go a little off-kilter however by using fresh and crunchy zucchini noodles in my version this week instead of the usual rice noodles. After all it’s summer (sort of), and fresh produce still abounds so I walked out to my garden and picked veggies and fresh herbs and got to rolling up some refreshing spring rolls for dinner one night when the Wonderful guy was at his men’s bible study….and it was a chick food kind of a night.

fresh basil mint and chives

Start off doing some prep work.  You can use either cook medium-sized shrimp – (you can use 1-2 shrimp depending on what size of wraps you’re using) or buy the pre-cooked shrimp, which is what I opted to do. Keep in mind that you’re only counting 1/2 of a shrimp as one shrimp however….(see next step).

Cut the shrimp in half as shown in the following photo.


They will be nice little flat halves of shrimp. You don’t have to cut your shrimp, but it just makes the roll a little less stuffed I think to halve them.  You will ned 2-3 of these halves per fresh spring roll, so count out how many you wish to make. I made 8 tonight so I really only needed 4-6 shrimp.

Next cut some chives into 4 inch pieces, at least 8 or more if you love chives.


Other ingredients I used to fill my wraps were shredded carrots, using a potato peeler (but you could also just buy the matchsticks for a time saver) slivered red peppers, slivered snap peas, cucumbers and radishes and thin spears of asparagus. You’ll want to tear some lettuce leaves into about 4 inch long by 2-3 inch wide pieces (I used green leaf lettuce) and also some leaves of mint, cilantro sprigs and leaves and either Thai basil or regular basil. Thai is the best if you can find it.

Fresh spring roll ingredients

It’s important to prep everything ahead of time because it will make rolling these spring rolls a snap.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, traditional Vietnamese spring rolls use rice noodles as a filler but I wanted to capitalize on summer, and fresh zucchini noodles, sometimes called “zoodles”, so I hauled out my spiralizer and began to make them on the plate with the smallest holes.

spiralized zucchini

Now for the wrapper – you can find these in Asian markets or order here. I use this brand:

fresh spring roll wrappers

These are crispy rice paper rounds that you will dip in water to soften and use. They are a bit tricky and awkward at first, but you’ll get it after a few.

rice paper wrappers

Fill up a round shallow sauce pan (one that’s bigger than the rice papers) with water.

Dip one right in and hold down with your fingers for about the count of 10 seconds.


Lay it out gently without letting the sides stick to each other. It’s kind of like a challenging game of cling wrap war….

I seriously detest using cling wrap.


Now typically you lay in your lettuce first. This makes a nice “nest” of sorts for all your small ingredients. Do your layering of ingredients down to the end of the rice paper wrap closest to you.


You can lay one or two of these down and then begin to top with the rest of your ingredients. I started with a blob of the zucchini noodles and then stacked the rest.

how to roll fresh spring rolls

Don’t layer on the shrimp yet.

We’re going to start to roll by holding the rice paper wrap closest to you. Gently pull it up and over your toppings taking care to your move your fingers to the back of the toppings to hold on to them and tuck them in as you roll.

rolling fresh spring rolls

Tuck the end of the wrapper under the vegetables.


Take the two ends and tuck them onto the roll. You can also do this at the end and because the wrapper is so gluey-like it will stick just fine!


Now you should have the back edge left still unrolled. Lay down your shrimp. This just makes it prettier when rolled up.


Next,  continue rolling all the way up!


If you want to be fancy-schmancy, you can add in a long chive stem down with the shrimp and leave the end open for it to stick out.


Then go ahead and roll the next seven of your fresh spring rolls! You can cut them in half to make a pretty presentation and serve them with my famous Thai peanut sauce for dipping (Find that recipe here!). It’s delicious!


Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

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  • 8 rice paper spring roll wraps (I use Three Ladies Brand)
  • 8 3 inch pieces of leaf lettuce trimmed to fit rice paper
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized on thin holes
  • 8-12 cooked medium-sized shrimp sliced in half long ways
  • 8 chives trimmed 4-5 inches long
  • 1 medium sized carrot, julienned or peeled
  • sugar snap peas sliced long ways thinly
  • 1/4 red pepper sliced long ways thinly
  • 3 large radishes, julienned
  • 8 thin asparagus stalks, ends trimmed to 3-4 inches
  • 1 small cucumber thinly sliced into julienne pieces
  • 16 whole Thai basil or basil leaves
  • 16 whole mint leaves
  • 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • *Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping
  • Make zucchini noodles and prep shrimp, and other vegetables as stated in Ingredients above.
  • Dip each rice paper wrap in shallow pan or bowl filled with water and hold it approximately 10 seconds to soften.
  • Lay out on cutting board stretching to remove most wrinkles
  • Lay down lettuce leaf on one end leaving an inch or so border of rice paper wrap around the edges
  • Layer all other vegetables as closely as possible in center of leaf lettuce EXCEPT shrimp and herbs
  • Lay mint on top of all
  • lay basil on top of mint
  • Pull the rice paper rice gently over top of all using your middle two fingers to hold vegetable and tuck the rice paper over top of all and roll leaving about 2-3 inches from end.
  • Lay shrimp evenly on remaining unroll end and continue rolling
  • Tuck ends over the bottom of the roll and press firmly to stick.
  • Serve with Thai peanut dipping sauce.





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    Blistered Shishito Peppers | Dishin & Dishes

    what is shishito pepper


    Have ya’ll had shishito peppers before?

    Usually they are served at Asian restaurants and come out crackling hot on a plate as an appetizer.  Shishito peppers are finger-sized, green, (but sometimes red) mild peppers with a delicious flavor and delicately thin skin which make them perfect to simply blister in a hot skillet, oven or over a smoky grill and snack on as an appetizer.

    We are growing shishitos in our garden this year and being rather excited about it, I watched the first lonely pepper that appeared recently begin to lengthen a tad every day.

    Finally last Saturday morning while Mr. Wonderful was at work, I whipped myself up a garden omelet with sauteed kale, peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions from the garden and a light sprinkling of goat cheese inside and a side of perfectly cooked turkey bacon.  I took that first prized pepper and toasted it on a lightly olive oiled iron skillet until the skin charred on all sides in places, sprinkled it with pink Himalayan sea salt and feasted on the entire mess as if I was royalty.

    Photo Jul 15, 9 12 03 PM

    If you garden, you know what it is to watch a vegetable hang on the vine, impatiently watching for days and then snapping it off like a coveted trophy to bring inside and cook it up. In a few short weeks, we’ll have peppers coming out of our ears, but this day, one little perfect pepper sufficed to make me smile with pleasure.

    Imagine my extreme surprise and joy when I walked into our local Sprouts store a few days later and saw a giant bag of shishitos in the fresh produce section.  I took them home, blistered them and while we made some yummy Thai Green Curry Seafood Stew and Potstickers that night, we nibbled on them in the kitchen.

    Photo Jul 20, 10 05 00 AM

    To make Blistered Shishito Peppers you can do them several ways. First off just a warning, if you don’t want them snapping and popping on you, prick each one first with a sharp knife or fork so they won’t puff up and pop, splattering you with hot oil.  Then, simply toss them on a grill pan and make them outdoors on your BBQ grill, or skewer them and do the same. You can blister them on a hot skillet barely rubbed with a bit of olive oil right on a smoking hot smove top or you can do like I did and toss the whole lot of them into the oven and broil them until the skin partially blisters black on both top and bottom  Remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with some good coarse salt like sea salt, or fleur de sel or Maldon and for an added touch of wonder, try adding a sprinkle of a seasoning called togarashi, a blended spice of chiles used in Japanese cuisine.

    shishito peppers 2

    With or without the togarashi, you’ll love the Blistered Shishito Peppers and just to warn you, it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette. One in ten peppers is said to be hot, although I popped seven or eight in my mouth without issue and then Mr. Wonderful tried his first and said “that’s HOT”.

    The luck of the draw.

    Eat them quickly while they are hot and crispy as they wilt rather quickly after removing them from the heat! You can serve them with a simple dipping sauce made of 1/2 cup of greek yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon of smoky chipotle and adobe sauce from a can of smoky peppers.

    Anyway, I now have several more peppers popping up on my shishito plants, and I cannot wait to find new uses for them in cooking.  Whether you try the stove top method to avoid turning on your oven or roast them in the oven or char them on your BBQ grill, you’ll adore these crispy little darlings as much as we do!

    shishito peppers grilled 3

    Blistered Shishito Peppers



    • 2 dozen fresh shishito peppers, stem on
    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 t. coarse salt like fleur de sel or Maldon or Himalayan sea salt
    • *Optional: 1 t. togarashi
    • ½ c. plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 t. chipotle and adobe sauce
    1. Preheat oven to broil
    2. Add oil to heavy oven-proof skillet and place in oven until blistering hot. Remove skillet and add peppers (peppers will sizzle)
    3. Return pan to oven and broil until both tops and bottoms are slightly blackened (about 4-5 minutes)
    4. Remove and sprinkle with salt and serve immediately for maximum crunchiness
    5. Mix sauce ingredients together and serve on the side!


    Blistered Shishito Peppers recipe


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    Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

    pico de gallo recipe 3


    Pico de gallo is one of those delicious little additions that really brightens up recipes.

    I used to dislike plain ol’ Mexican rice and beans at restaurants until I discovered pico de gallo. After I tossed some on top of my rice and beans, they were transformed into something fresh. Mix them together and scoop up a bite with a tortilla chip? I could just eat that now instead of ordering a main dish!

    I have played around with making pico, and find this ratio of tomatoes to onion and jalapeno to be the best for us. Depending on the level of heat you like, you’ll want to adjust according to your taste-buds.

    Like more heat? Add more jalapeno or leave in the seeds and ribs. Not a cilantro fan?  Reduce your addition to a tablespoon. Love lime? Add more! Let me show you how I like it.

    Chop up four roma tomatoes into small pieces.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 30 53 AM

    Also chop up one small onion (or half of a larger one) into the same size pieces. Uniformity is important in pico! I’m not even kidding.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 34 58 AM

    Add these into a bowl.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 35 37 AM

    Now scrape the seeds and ribs from one large jalapeno and slice it into strips long ways and then cut across them the other way to make small pieces. Removing the seeds and ribs gives you plenty of jalapeno subtle heat without the mouth-scorcher heat.

    chop jalapeno collage

    Add them into the bowl as well.

    Now chop up about 3/4 cup of loosely-packed cilantro. When you’re done you’re going to end up with about 2-3 tablespoons of cilantro. I love the stuff so I’m probably closer to 3.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 38 53 AM

    Add this into the bowl along with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 39 49 AM

    Squeeze about a tablespoon of lime over top.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 41 07 AM

    I use about 1/2 of a medium lime.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 41 17 AM

    And mix it all up.

    Photo Jan 30, 3 41 53 AM

    If you’re making guacamole, just add a few tablespoons of this to three or four avocados, add some garlic powder and voila! Guacamole!

    Some great ways to use pico de gallo:

    • top fish tacos or other tacos with it
    • brighten up creamy dishes with it like alfredo sauce or mac n cheese
    • Warm a can of black beans and add before serving for a great Mexican side dish
    • top baked potatoes with it and light sour cream instead of butter
    • Top quesadillas with it
    • Stir it into scrambled eggs or top omelets

    This week I’m making it to top individual nachos for a Super Bowl recipe. Stay tuned for the recipe!

    Pico De Gallo



    • 4 roma tomatoes
    • 1 small yellow onion
    • 1 large jalepeno
    • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
    • ½ medium lime
    • ½ t. salt
    • ¼ t. black pepper
    1. Chop tomatoes and onions in small, like-sized pieces
    2. Remove stems and ribs from jalapenos (or leave in if you like it hot!)
    3. Chop jalapenos into small sized pieces
    4. Add all to medium bowl
    5. Chop cilantro and add 2-3 tablespoons to bowl
    6. Squeeze lime over all
    7. Add salt and pepper and mix all together
    8. Will last for up to days. The tomatoes tend to break down after that.


    how to make pico de gallo


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    Smashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint



    If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know I am mildy obsessed with bruschetta of any type.  I seriously could make bruschetta and let it be my entire meal.  Toast some crostini, spread something hearty and wonderful on it and call it a day.

    My obsession began with classic Italian Bruschetta.

    And then I posted of my fav ever.  Butternut Squash Bruschetta with Sage Pesto. This one had a fall flair.

    And this week I went for a spring themed bruschetta.  There are so many options that come to mind, I could probably start a blog featuring a different type each day of the year.

    One of our grocery stores here has these fresh spring peas on display right now.

    But honestly, I think I prefer the frozen peas.

    Yes, you heard me correctly.  See, peas are a tricky thing..if you don’t use them immediately, they’ll go bad quick.  These peas were already losing that bright green vibrant color that I love from the frozen ones.

    Just rinse them in some warm water and voila,  their happy warm color just keeps shining through.

    So I just tossed the peas into a pot of boiling water.  Just for a minute. Then I drained them and dumped them right into an ice cold water bath to stop the cooking process.  This helps to just keep their brightness.

    Did you know that peas are botanically considered a fruit? Yes it’s true, although I can’t wrap my head around that…they’re still a green veggie in my head, confused as my head may be. Peas are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins so yes, they’re good for you too!

    Grate up a cup of parmesan cheese.

    Add the peas and the cheese right into your food processor bowl.

    And take a handful of fresh mint.


    I used at least a 1/2 cup of picked leaves, tasted and added a bit more, so I’d say taste and see what you like and you can always add more.  Add the mint right into your food processor along with a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

    Drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil.

    Put the lid on and whir it up for about 30 seconds.

    You want it to be somewhat chunky like this..and have some texture to it.

    Then pour it all in a bowl and squeeze a lemon over top.

    Stir it up.

    The lemon adds some brightness to the flavor of the peas and the mint.

    I suppose I could have just made life easier on myself by adding this into the processing part.  I tend to make life difficult on myself sometimes, kind of being a “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda gal though.

    Now slice up a loaf of french bread into 1/4 inch slices.  Lay it out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle it with olive oil and pop it into a 375º for about 10 minutes, or until the tops are golden bread and crisp, but the insides are still a little soft.

    If you have one of those expensive, neat stoves with a grill pan, just toss them on there and flip them after you get them crispy on one side.

    And just know that I covet your expensive stove.  Yes I do.

    Now take your luscious, divinely pureed peas and spread a good portion over top of one of the crostini.

    Top it with either some parmesan shavings or some nice tangy goat cheese (my personal preference!).

    If you want them warm, pop them back into the oven for about 3-5 minutes.

    But right now? It’s 95º here in Oklahoma on a daily basis already.  I kind of like them fresh and cool.

    Smashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint



    Recipe type: Appetizer

    • one 16 oz bag frozen peas (2 cups)
    • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
    • ¾ c. fresh mint leaves
    • 1 t. salt
    • ½ t. pepper
    • ½ c. olive oil
    • one lemon, juiced
    • for garnish – ½ c. shaved parmesan or goat cheese
    • one loaf french bread
    • ½ cup olive oil
    1. Drop peas into boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add into ice water bath until cooled. Drain again and put into food processor with remaining ingredients. Turn on food processor and process for about 30 seconds or until peas are smashed but still have some texture. Slice bread into ¼ inch rounds. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bakd at 375º for 10 minutes or until tops are golden but inside is still somewhat soft. Spread pea puree on top of bread and garnish with shaved parmesan cheese or goat cheese.
    2. For warm bruschetta – pop back into oven for 5 minutes
    3. For cold bruschetta – serve as is



    Love pea recipes? Join other  bloggers participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest by checking out their recipes for peas!

    Feed Me PhoebeSweet Pea and Green Onion Soup
    Taste With the EyesPeas and Pasta with a Garlicky Yogurt Sauce and Smoky Walnuts
    WeeliciousPeas and Pasta
    DevourQuick Salad with Peas
    Napa Farmhouse 1885Pasta with Spring Peas, Mushrooms and Greens
    Red or Green?Szechuan Spring Peas, Asparagus, Pine Nuts and Brown Rice Salad
    Blue Apron BlogSweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad
    Pinch My SaltHomemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
    Domesticate MeClean Out Fridge Frittata
    Virtually HomemadeSummer Lasagna with Skinny Alfredo Sauce
    The Sensitive EpicurePea Puree with Roasted Salmon and Chives
    Daily*DishinMarinated Spring Pea Salad
    The Heritage CookPea, Potato and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
    FN DishFavorite Shelled Pea Sides


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