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Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Appetizer, Easy, Featured, Healthy, Lunch, Seafood, Snacks | 27 comments

Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls

Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls

Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls by My Invisible Crown

I’m sitting at my computer right now eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in salted caramel sauce and chocolate pita chips.   I’m still eating it (this amazing salted caramel) every single day with no end in sight but that’s ok with me.  It’s ok because I rarely go on such an overindulgent bender.  It’s ok because I’m the only one home right now and I don’t have anyone who needs a thing from me at the moment so ice cream and caramel is my choice for dinner.   After all, I am the one who has to pay the consequences, right?  And it’s ok because for lunch I had these amazingly healthy Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls.  There’s my balance.

Summer Rolls with Shrimp and Avocado

Today has been a super productive day for me.  It’s a Sunday and I know I really should be having a day of rest to recharge but I woke up on a mission.  I’ve got a quick trip planned and I wanted to get as many things prepared and photographed as I could.  The writing will have to come later.  It’s beginning to catch up with me and I’m pretty tired.  I want to pile up in front of the TV and watch the Golden Globe red carpet special.  But let’s talk about summer rolls first?

I love summer rolls.  They’re light and crispy and so healthy.  I didn’t realize how easy they were to make until today.  They can also be made ahead of time and would be so perfect for a party or get-together.  You always need a few healthy options, especially this time of year, when people get together and these are super special.

Most of us don’t have all these ingredients normally but they were very easy to find.  The spring roll wrappers and cellophane noodles are in the Asian section at the grocery.

wrappers for summer roll

Did you know that a summer roll is like the fresh cousin to a spring roll?  Spring rolls are fried and summer rolls are made with fresh ingredients.  You can make them with just about anything but veggie and chicken are very common along with these shrimp and avocado.  You’ll also want to grab some Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping or a peanut sauce would be nice.

I made an assembly line so that it would be easy to put them together.  It’s important to get everything chopped and lined up before you start.  You’ll boil your shrimp first and let them cool before you peel and slice them lengthwise.  It’s so important when boiling shrimp that you make sure you don’t cook them too long.  Shrimp literally need only about 2 minutes.  Bring your water to a boil, throw in your shrimp and as soon as they turn pink and opaque, they’re ready.  Sometimes I let the water come back to a boil depending on how many shrimp I’m cooking.  If the pot is super full it’ll take much longer but as soon as they begin to simmer again and you have some movement in your water, turn them off!  If they’re hard to peel they’ve gone too far.

I used my trusty mandoline because I don’t love to julienne vegetables and it’s a snap with that thing.  Nothing could be easier.  They really need to be julienned though but if you’re not worrying with presentation at all and you just want them to taste good, you could always shred the carrots and cucumber for the same effect.  To prepare the spring roll wrappers you’ll do the opposite.  You only want to work with one at a time.  It only takes a couple seconds to soak each one as you go.  I found that parchment was the best base to fill and roll the wrappers.  It does stick a little but not as bad as paper towels and if you’re gentle it comes right off.

In my recipe I decided I wanted to use mostly traditional ingredients.  I used shrimp and avocado, that’s clear, but I also used red leaf romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, cellophane noodles (sometimes called Bean Thread Noodles), red cabbage, basil and cilantro.  If you like mint, that’s normally used as well.  Be careful with the cilantro though.  It can be very overpowering if too much is used.  SOme people also use Thai Basil but I didn’t find any and Italian Basil is completely fine.

You’ll lay your halved shrimp down first and then pile on your other ingredients making sure to leave a good inch on the sides.  The less room left on the sides the longer and thinner the roll will be and that’s not as appealing, to me anyway.  When you’re done, pull the bottom half up over the pile of shrimp and veggies and begin to roll, tuck in the ends as you go.  The wrapper should be sticky enough to stick to itself and seal.  If not, wet the end slightly.  It took me a few tries to get them looking the way I wanted so give yourself a minute.  You’ll catch on quickly and be able to see what needs to be done for them to look the way you like.

rolled shrimp and avocado summer rolls

Once they’re all assembled just slice in half and arrange on a platter.  They can be made up to 6 hours ahead.  If you’re doing that, don’t slice and place them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.

Pretty simple, huh?  I think all together it took me maybe 20 minutes.  Here’s the printable.

shrimp and avocado summer rolls

Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls

15 minutes

5 minutes

Yield: 12 halves

Appetizer serving: 1-2 halves, Lunch serving: 4 ha


  • 9 large shrimp, boiled, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • red leaf lettuce, Bibb or Boston, rinsed, dried and torn to fit
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, julienned
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • About 1 ounce cellophane noodles, optional (I divided my 3.75 ounce package into fourths and used one)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar (only needed if using cellophane noodles)
  • fresh basil
  • fresh cilantro
  • spring roll wrappers, round


  1. Cover cellophane noodles with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and toss with rice wine vinegar.
  3. In a round pie plate that's bigger than the wrappers, add enough hot water to come half way up the side.
  4. Working with one at a time, submerge the spring roll wrapper in the water for 10-30 seconds until soft and pliable but not torn.
  5. Lay the wrapper on a large piece of parchment.
  6. Place 3 shrimp halves, cut side up in the middle of the bottom half of the wrapper.
  7. Arrange other ingredients with the shrimp leaving at least an inch on the sides (the fresh ingredients should be no longer than 3 inches).
  8. Bring the bottom of the wrapper up and over the pile and begin to roll gently, making sure you get it tight but don't tear the delicate wrapper.
  9. Tuck the ends in as you go.
  10. Set aside until all rolls have been assembled.
  11. Cut in half and serve with dipping sauces.

It may seem difficult at first but I promise they’re really simple and the presentation can be gorgeous.  Most of all though, just have fun!



  1. These look amazing! Thanks so much for taking photos of the Asian ingredients. These are in my top three of appetizers I order when I go out for dinner! One request–please give the recipe for the two sauces or are they store bought?
    Shiloh Barkley recently posted..Hot Cocoa CakeMy Profile

    • They are store bought. I should update the post to reflect that but I did mention you’d want to pick up some Thai Sweet Chili sauce. That’s what is sold with Summer Rolls where I buy them from the store before I knew how to make them. I guess I just didn’t make it clear. The sauces pictured are a Thai Sweet Chili and Lime and regular soy sauce. The sweet chili is a dressing/marinade I got on the refrigerated salad dressing aisle. I’m sure you can find it just about anywhere. There are also recipes all over for peanut sauce which might work well, too.

  2. These look delicious. I love spring rolls so much, but I’ve never actually tried summer rolls.
    Definitely going to give this recipe a try, maybe with chicken instead though :)

    Sophie recently posted..Flavoured VodkaMy Profile

    • Thank you! They are very light and fresh. I always feel a little extra healthy when I eat them. Not sure if I’d love them with chicken though?

  3. These are simply gorgeous Christy!

  4. These look wonderful and sound great right now! The photos are beautiful.
    Pure and Simple recently posted..Greek SaladMy Profile

    • That’s actually really funny because I AM sitting here eating ice cream!!! Thanks for the compliment. :)

  5. I made these tonight! They seemed to be lacking something. I followed the recipe almost exactly (left out the red leaf lettuce because the stuff at the store looked really sad). It definitely needs something salty to perk it up (I just used soy sauce but it would be good to have something salty in the roll itself). I also made a peanut sauce (1 cup peanut butter, zest and juice of 1 lime, ~1/2 tbsp lime, a pinch of cilantro) that made it a bit more flavourful. I’m not sure if the basil (I used Thai) really went with the dish either.

    Great photos and great recipe though! I definitely learned a lot about technique (I’ve never used rice paper wrappers before!). And I also agree with shredding — I julienned everything and the whole dish took me about two hours T_T

    I really like your blog and I’ll keep looking back for new stuff to try :)

    • Well thank you for visiting and for your comment. :D I’m sorry you found the rolls lacking but this is a very traditional and classic Asian recipe that basically has the same ingredients universally. It’s like ordering or making a California sushi roll and wishing it had something different in it. It’s just not made that way. It’s really like the healthy cousin of a spring roll or egg roll as they’re fried. This is super light and healthy. Kind of like a small salad in a roll that’s why it’s normally served with or sold with the dipping sauces. Usually the Thai Sweet Chili sauce because it’s a little sweet and spicy. If you wanted to change it and put something with a kick you could try and use green onion or a pepper of some sort? I think if you tried to add too much it would change the whole roll though. Maybe you’re just not a summer roll lover? I’m sure they’re not for everyone. I like them when I want a really light lunch or snack when I’m trying to be extra healthy!!! The lean protein in the shrimp, the veggies and the healthy fats in the avocado make this a perfect food. It’s low carb, too.

  6. Would you eat these as a snack/appetizer? What could you pair it with to make it a heavier meal?

    • You could do both snack or appetizer. I eat them a lot of them time as a light lunch. Especially when I am watching my calorie intake or trying to diet/eat healthier. You could add a large salad or a side of pasta?

  7. I was wondering what the nutritional information was on these?

    • Oh I’m sorry I really have no clue.

  8. do u think it good to bring a tray full for a bbq ?

    • I’m not sure what I think to be honest. My initial thought was no but now thinking more in depth maybe not such a bad idea. Some people really like to have a light option beside all that heavy, calorie-laden food. I would for sure serve several dipping sauces (I would get store bought for sure) like a sweet chili sauce and a peanut sauce and also a soy based or even an eel sauce that’s served with sushi. The one thing I would say is to be sure and keep a damp paper towel or even dish towel over them so the wrapper doesn’t get dry. If you decide please come back and let me know how it turned out?

  9. Looks lovely but such an expensive meal to make?!!

    • Hi Katie. It really wasn’t intended to be a full meal necessarily. A light lunch for one or two or an appetizer possibly. It’s super light. However, I don’t think terribly expensive unless maybe you’re landlocked and seafood is hard for you to get or overpriced? It only has 9 shrimp in the entire recipe and that’s probably the most expensive ingredient I would guess. Thanks for your comment Katie! :)

  10. Getting the ingredients now to make these for tonight. I absolutely can’t wait. They look completely fabulous!!!!

    • I’ve found they’re the best with a sweet chili dipping sauce!! They do need a sauce in my opinion if you’re not trying watch calories. Hope you like them. :D

  11. LOVE these!!! So yummy! Do you have any suggestions on how to prepare the rice paper so it is not so sticky?? We had a hard time eating them without making a huge mess. Thanks!!

    • No I don’t. And that seems a little odd. I didn’t have a problem at all. Do you think maybe you’re getting them too wet when you’re preparing them? I made mine up and let them sit in the fridge covered with a damp paper towel for a good hour or more. I wouldn’t think that would make any difference but maybe it did. I’m glad you liked them in general. What sauce did you uae?

      • I am really not sure if they are too wet. Directions on package say to only soak 5 seconds, but they still feel like plastic. I soaked until they were very flimsy. This was my first time making them, so I really pretended to know what I was doing.. haha! I used Thai Kitchen Sweet Chili sauce… The cool crunchie veggies & cilantro were an amazing pair with the sweet tangy sauce!

        • Oh I bet that sauce was perfect. That’s exactly the one I want to try! I do think possibly you got them too wet. Maybe next time try using warm water and see if 6 minutes will work. You want them to still have some body. I want to try this recipe with chicken. Maybe with those crunchy white noodles and some peanut dipping sauce. I’m so glad you liked the way yours turned out. Such a healthy dish!

  12. Hi, I love to chop everything up and set it out in bowls and everyone makes their own! One of my family’s favorite summer dinners…no cooking! We also like chopped peanuts!


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