The other day I had a hankering for Summer Rolls. I know, it’s kind of a weird thing to have a hankering for, but for me this is quite a common thing. See, I love summer rolls. Everything about them…the peanut sauce, the hoisin sauce, the mint, the cilantro…mmmmm
But what I do not love about Summer Rolls, is painstakingly putting them together. They’re tedious to make and take a bit of patience, which I don’t always have around the dinner hour. Like most of you I’m sure, the hours between 3:30 – 6:00pm are hairy-canary. Lots going on…dogs barking, kids fighting, kids crying, phone ringing, kids fighting, TV blaring, texts bonging…and me pulling out my hair. So needless to say, I need things to be easy to make and serve.
And what’s easier than a serve-it-up-yourself dinner?
Let’s have a Summer Roll Salad Bar!
I love salad bars. Actually, any buffet style serving is the best…there’s just nothing like loading your plate up with food that you actually enjoy! And for this kind of dinner, everyone likes their summer rolls just a little different, so this set up is the perfect solution!
All you have to do is set out all the makings of a Summer Roll, then let your eaters serve up their own dinners themselves. Just provide them with a bowl for their rustic salad, and a set of chopsticks. Done.
The kids LOVED this! Me too. SO good!
Here’s what to do:
- First make your sauces: Peanut Sauce and Ginger Vinaigrette
- Then get all your salad ingredients prepped.
Summer Roll Salad Bar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 - 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger and the juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Summer Roll Salad:
- 2 - 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups pre-cooked & deveined shrimp
- 1/2 head of a small purple cabbage shredded
- 4 inches carrots sliced into thin sticks about 2 long
- 1/2 inches cucumber sliced into thin sticks about 2 long
- bunch of green onions sliced thinly
- bunch fresh cilantro
- bunch fresh mint
- limes cut into small wedges for a garnish
- 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
- hoisin sauce for additional dressing
- Sriracha sauce
- 8 oz of rice vermicelli noodles
In a small saucepan, cook the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in oil until soft, about 4 minutes.
Whisk in the remaining ingredients, and simmer while stirring, about 1 minute.
Set aside until right before serving.
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger and red pepper flakes. Set aside until right before serving.
Summer Roll Salad:
First cook the chicken. I like to poach mine in water: just add enough water to cover the chicken, then simmer until the chicken is fully cooked - about 15-20 minutes. Then using your hands, shred it up. Put it into a serving dish. Or if you want to make things really simple, use a grocery store rotisserie chicken.
Put the remaining ingredients all into separate serving bowls and lay them out on your serving table.
Right before you are ready to eat, cook your noodles according to package directions. I always cook my noodles last because rice noodles get really sticky if they sit too long.
Now it's just up to you and your eaters how to make their own salads! I like to start with the noodles first, then add a little ginger vinaigrette, then the salad fixings, topped off with mint, cilantro, peanuts and a dollop of peanut sauce!
Recipe NotesServe with peanut sauce, ginger vinaigrette, extra hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce if you like!
To make this salad bar extra great, you can have fun with your table setting:
I used a roll of polka dot kraft wrapping paper (that I found at Winners) for the table cloth, then gathered up an eclectic mixture of serving bowls for all the salad toppings, and the table setting was colourful and inviting! So get out your chop sticks, some great drinks & great friends have fun!
Eat. Good. Food.