One of the things I love most about summer are the long evenings that stretch out from early afternoon all the way until the sun dips behind the horizon. Here, at the height of summer, the sun sets just after 10 o’clock. Dinner time happens a little later than usual and lasts a lot longer too. We linger at the table, chatting and eating, and taking everything slow and easy, the heavy heat of the day cooling off as we make roll after roll, satiating our hunger and filling our hearts.
Summer rolls, or salad rolls (as they’re often called), happen to be a perennial favorite around our house. They’re incredibly versatile and the DIY nature of them makes them easy for everyone to customize at the table. The fillings: simply poached chicken breast, thin and crunchy julienned carrots, creamy avocado, quickly crisped broccoli rabe with garlic, and slippery rice vermicelli. Wrap every thing up in a rice paper hug and dip into a creamy almond hoisin sauce for a bite filled with varying textures and flavors combining into a perfect bite.
The broccoli rabe was definitely the hit in this mix. With its crisp and crunchy stalks and tender leaves, broccoli rabe is one of those vegetables that I never turn my nose down at. Here I simply stir-fried it with garlic, but I also love roasting it, which deepens, sweetens and caramelizes the flavors. Normally I see broccoli rabe with pasta or on pizza (which I love!) but I feel the summer roll really lets it shine. I’m looking forward to many more nights filled with these refreshing little rolls.
Avocado Chicken Broccoli Rabe Summer Rolls
makes 12 rolls
prep time: 20 minutes
active time: 40 minutes
total time: 1 hour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 12 stalks broccoli rabe
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 bundles vermicelli*
- 1 chicken breast, poached and sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 12 rounds rice paper, or as needed
Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy almond butter
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- hot water to thin
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, stirring, until just brown, about 1 minute. Transfer garlic to a plate. Add the rabe and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan, cover and cook until just tender but still crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and top with the sliced garlic.
Cook the vermicelli according to the package. Drain, rinse and cool.
Mix together the ingredients for the almond butter sauce. Taste and adjust if needed.
Take a rice paper wrapper and completely submerge it in a bowl of hot tap water for 10-15 seconds. Place the wrapper on a plate or cutting board – it’ll continue to soften as your assembling your roll. Add fillings as desired: avocado slices, a couple slices of chicken, rabe, carrots, and a bit of vermicelli. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the filling, hold the fold in place, tuck in the sides and roll tightly. Repeat as needed and enjoy immediately with the dipping sauce.
You can serve these rolls whole, but I prefer to cut them into bite size – makes them easier to pop into your mouth!
Notes: Vermicelli typical comes in 65 gram bundles. You’re looking for approximately 2-3 cups cooked vermicelli.