Vietnamese summer rolls with chicken are fresh, light, and healthy. This Asian summer snack is loaded with lemongrass chicken, vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, and served with a flavorful peanut dipping sauce made from scratch. The best part? These salad rolls take less than 20 minutes to make and are a lot easier to make than you think. They are the perfect summer dish, especially on busy weeknights.
Why You'll Love Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Chicken
- It's fresh and light. Vietnamese summer rolls (also known as salad rolls, rice paper rolls, or spring rolls) are similar to traditional spring rolls except that they are not fried. Rice wrappers are stuffed with vermicelli noodles, protein, vegetables, and fresh herbs, and rolled up.
- The best way to use leftover chicken. Looking for a way to use up that leftover Lemongrass Chicken Skewers or Pan-Fried Lemongrass Chicken? Well here it is. In fact, you can use any cooked chicken in this recipe. It's seriously the best way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or Roast Chicken!
- Salad rolls are fun to make and eat. These salad rolls are fun to make and eat. In fact, you can make things even more fun by serving it in a salad bar style. Simply prepare all the ingredients, set them on the table, and let everyone make their own summer rolls.
- The best peanut dipping sauce. The peanut dipping sauce really takes this recipe to another level. It's loaded with Asian flavors and is easy to make with just a handful of ingredients.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make these delicious and flavorful Vietnamese summer rolls with chicken, you will need the following ingredients:
- rice wrappers - these are the wrappers that hold the salad rolls together. Keep in mind that the texture and thickness of rice wrappers depends on the brand used. You might need to dip them in for a few more seconds to make them pliable, so refer to the package instructions. Once softened, you will have to work with them quickly as they can start to tear easily if sitting out for too long.
- noodles - you will need to use thin vermicelli rice noodles. These noodles are gluten-free and easily found in Asian grocery stores.
- chicken - you can use any leftover cooked chicken that you have. I use leftover Lemongrass Chicken Skewers or Pan-Fried Lemongrass Chicken for the most traditional Vietnamese flavor, but anything works. Try leftover rotisserie chicken or roast chicken.
- vegetables - Summer rolls are typically filled with julienned carrots and cucumbers. But feel free to use other vegetables that you have one hand. Cabbage, lettuce, and avocado are some other popular choices.
- fresh basil or cilantro
- peanut dipping sauce - made with a combination of hoisin sauce (or can substitute with black bean sauce), peanut butter, water, fresh lime juice, honey (or can substitute with sugar) and topped with roasted peanuts. You can also use store-bought peanut sauce if it is easier.
How to Make the Best Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Chicken
- Prepare the vermicelli noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat and add vermicelli noodles. Cook for 2 minutes until soft. Transfer the noodles to a bowl with a strainer to completely drain out any water.
- Soften the rice wrappers. Fill a large shallow bowl with warm water, about 1 to 2 inches high. Take one rice wrapper at a time and quickly dip it into the warm water for one second, or according to package directions. Shake off excess water. The wrapper will start to soften and feel a bit sticky. Transfer the wrapper onto a clean dry flat surface.
- Assemble the summer rolls. Place some cucumbers and carrots in the center of the rice wrapper into a log shape, leaving 2 inches of space on each side. Top with about 2 tablespoons of vermicelli noodles, a few basil leaves, and 2-3 tablespoons of chicken.
- Roll the summer rolls. Roll the wrapper up tightly from the bottom but gently so that you don't tear it, rolling it up halfway over top of the noodles. Then fold over the left and right sides inward. Then continue to tightly roll the wrapper to seal the mixture inside. If the wrapper doesn’t feel soft and pliable, apply some water to your fingers and to the wrapper to help it soften.
- Make the peanut sauce. Combine hoisin sauce, peanut butter, water, lime juice, and honey. Stir well with a spoon until smooth and uniform. Sprinkle some chopped roasted peanuts on top.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Keep the ingredients are dry. Make sure that the ingredients (especially the vermicelli, vegetables, and herbs) are fairly dry prior to wrapping. If you don’t eat the salad rolls right away and you leave them out for a few hours, excessive water from the vermicelli noodles might cause the rice wrappers to disintegrate and break apart.
- Be patient. Don't be so hard on yourself the first time that you try to roll and wrap the summer rolls. It can take a few attempts before you get it right. I would suggest starting with less filling, and increase it once you get the hang of the technique.
- How to store summer rolls. Summer rolls are best served freshly made. Once they sit out for a few hours, excess water can cause the rice wrappers to break apart. If you have leftovers, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
- Make extra peanut sauce. If you love the dipping sauce as much as I do, then I recommend making a double or even triple batch. You can use it to dip anything in it, such as Lemongrass Chicken Skewers or Chicken Satay Skewers. It's even delicious as a marinade, and goes really well tossed into noodles.
More Asian Recipes
- Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Shrimp
- Vegetarian Spring Rolls
- Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce
- Miso Garlic Chicken Wings
- Vegan Soba Noodle Salad
- Korean Chicken Skewers
- Sweet Chili Chicken Bites
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