One of my absolute most favorite foods is sushi. And almost every time I order from my favorite DC takeout joint, I get shrimp summer rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce. But I’m trying to take it easy on the rice and soy, so I haven’t had much sushi lately. And that’s meant not a lot of summer rolls either. I decided that there must be a way to make relatively “clean eat” summer rolls and so I researched and shopped and chopped until I found the closest clean substitute I could. And they are delish!
Now, because one of my favorite things about summer rolls is the gorgeous transparent rice wrapper, I kept them. If you want these to be completely clean/paleo/primal, you can use a large green leaf instead (collard green or chard are my favorites to use as wraps generally, but a lighter green would probably work best with the flavors here). The rice wrappers took a little bit of practice, but they were surprisingly forgiving. I used my favorite crisp veggies, but these are so versatile, you can pretty much use whatever you want. I also subbed kelp noodles for the rice noodles traditionally used in the rolls — they were SO crunchy and really soak up whatever flavor you add to them. I actually think they might be my new favorite thing and can’t wait to try them in other Asian dishes (and they’re totally paleo compliant!). For the kicker, I came up with a fairly “clean eat” sweet/spicy cashew dipping sauce to take the place of my beloved peanut sauce. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s pretty flipping good.
Shrimp Summer Rolls + Sweet/Spicy Cashew Sauce (A Feteful Life)
- 12 – 15 rice wrappers
- 1, 12 ounce package of kelp noodles, rinsed and drained
- about 40 shrimp, cleaned, deveined, cooked and cooled (I bought mine pre-everything)
- 4-5 mini cucumbers (also called Persian cucumbers — you can use regular cukes, you just won’t need as many)
- 3 carrots, peeled, end trimmed
- 2 bell peppers (I like red and yellow for the color)
- 2 avocados
- 1 large bunch of fresh mint
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Tamari or Coconut Aminos
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp Sambal Olek (Asian chili paste)
- 1 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce (this isn’t paleo, but if you want to leave it out, just up the Sambal Olek and raw honey a bit)
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- hot water to thin sauce, as needed
- Julienne vegetables and wedge avocado, and set them up in a row for easy access. Place kelp noodles, shrimp, and mint within reach as well.
- Wet a tea towel or cloth napkin and set on a flat surface. Fill a shallow pan with water and place nearby.
- Place one rice wrapper in water pan and soak for about 20-30 seconds (until it just starts to get soft). Remove and carefully place on wet towel.
- Place selection of vegetables (I used two julienned pieces of each) in middle. Top that with a bunch of kelp noodles, then 3 – 4 shrimp, 1-2 avocado wedges, and a few mint leaves. Fold in ends, then roll up from right to left.
- Place all ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well.
- If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water and stir well until you reach the desired consistency.