No offense to Mr. Bittman, but his original recipe for these summer rolls, which I thoroughly manhandled to the point of unrecognizability (totally a word, by the way), is, well.

A misnomer.

How can one call something a summer roll when it is not even slightly stuffed full of zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn and all the best that this season has to offer…and still sleep at night?


Seriously, Mark.  I had expectations.  Tsk tsk.

So being the stickler for literal interpretation that I am, when I saw that Alyssa had chosen these summer rolls for this week’s Food Matters Project pick, I knew some reinvention of the recipe was going to have to occur to make these more seasonally (and nominally) appropriate.


Out with the carrots and cucumbers, and in with some sweet chili sauce-roasted zucchini and eggplant.  Add a smattering of peanut sauce on the side for dipping (because that is timeless) and you’ve got yourself a set of summer rolls that you can feel good about eating.  Not only are they delicious, but they’re good for you and you haven’t misled any poor unfortunate impressionable souls by calling them one thing and stuffing them with another.  Definite win, in my opinion.


Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4-8, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 small graffiti eggplant, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 8 sheets rice paper, 8 to 10 inches in diameter
  • hot water, as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 cloves minced garlic, red pepper flakes, honey rice vinegar, and salt.  Toss together in a large bowl with the zucchini and eggplant matchsticks.  Place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. Process the peanuts, coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, curry paste and garlic in a food processor until fairly smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Set out a bowl of hot water and a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Put a sheet of rice paper in the water and let it soak for about 15-20 seconds, just until soft.  Lay it on the towel.
  6. Place some cabbage and some of the roasted veggies on the bottom third of one rice paper.  Don’t use more than 1/2 cup per roll.  Roll up the rice paper to enclose the filling, then tuck in the sides as you would a burrito.  Keep rolling, then press the seam to seal.  Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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86 Responses to Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce {food matters project}

  1. I would love to try one of these!! They look awesome, and I am sure the peanut sauce makes them even better!
    P.S. – I really like that plate and the place mat 🙂

  2. Oh my! Lost track of your posts, what with the move and such; glad to see you’re still producing mouthwatering things such as these rolls; so welcome with the heat and humidity in Beirut!

  3. Ranjani says:

    but carrots and cucumbers are in season too! Anyway, these do look pretty awesome the way you did it – eggplant + peanut sauce sounds like a great combo

  4. I think I could seriously live on peanut sauce.

  5. Tandy says:

    Yum yum! Great post Joanne 🙂

  6. I just love summer rolls…. vegetarian, light, yet satisfying. I think you were smart to make some changes 🙂

  7. Those look great. I find that Bittman’s recipes are always a great starting point, but I almost invariable need to alter them. Looks like you did a great re-interpretation.

  8. Beth says:

    I LOVE your interpretation! And I love how you often put your own spin on Bittman’s great recipes. What a terrific way to start the week!

  9. Hello! We look forward to your nice blog. It is a very nice menu. Effect can be expected to diet. From Japan. Ryoma Sakamoto.

  10. That Girl says:

    I feel like you can put anything in summer rolls – as long as you eat them in the summer.

  11. Yum! I have always wanted to make summer/spring rolls. Yours look fantastic and the sauce, well you know how I feel about peanut sauce, mmm, mmm! Have a great week!!

  12. I love summer rolls. I have zucchini and eggplant in my garden that would be put to good use in this recipe.

  13. Kristina says:

    Oo Yum! These look sooo good 🙂 I’ve never made my own summer/spring rolls, now I really need to try! Especially with that peanut sauce!!

  14. I have everything to make these and I think this will be lunch today.

  15. Pam says:

    NOW they are SUMMER rolls. Great adaption Joanne – they look fantastic.

  16. Pam says:

    UGH. I meant adaptation. It’s too early and I haven’t had my coffee yet.

  17. Kalyn Denny says:

    I love your version. Really I think you are quite brilliant at food combinations!

  18. Mary says:

    These are beautiful, Joanne and they sound delicious too. I love that placemat, btw!

  19. Cathleen says:

    Haha, well good thing you fixed this recipe. And what a combination! Really, I was never this creative when I was a vegetarian

  20. Jeanette says:

    I love Summer Rolls – I don’t know why, but I haven’t thought to make any this summer until I saw you post. Beautiful!

  21. Cara says:

    Love what you’ve done with these! I’ve been trying to think of more veggies to incorporate in my not-so-summery rolls.

  22. Anonymous says:

    They look delicious.

  23. Jenna says:

    These look so nice and tasty. I want to dunk the heck out of them in that peanut sauce!

  24. Lynn says:

    I love anything with a peanut sauce! These look so good.

  25. Wonderful changes to your summer rolls! Bitty would be proud!

  26. Kim says:

    I think it’s all about the dipping sauce here. That peanut sauce looks incredible!

  27. Amy says:

    Sub the peanut butter with sunflower or cashew butter and I want these so badly for lunch. It’s 109 degrees here *whimper*

  28. i LOVE summer rolls and I haven’t made them in so long! Love your veggie-full version. Yum 🙂

  29. SallyBR says:

    Loved the recipe, loved the plate! 🙂

    would love a couple of those for lunch today, I tell you that!

  30. Eileen says:

    Summer rolls are one of my favorites! Although I have to say I do like them with carrot–that is, with fresh summer carrot bursting with juice. 🙂 And mint! And cilantro! And every good thing! 🙂

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I was literally just thinking about making summer rolls. I’ve never made them and I love them

  32. Camila Faria says:

    I love the changes you made in the recipe. Definitely a win!

  33. Jenn Kendall says:

    you definitely made some delicious changes! these look so summery!

  34. Geni says:

    I have some napa cabbage that is just waiting for these! I love that you added eggplant and zucchini. I know I can always count on you for your honesty and devotion to truth in journalism.

  35. Haha, I was wondering about the title myself! I renamed mine and went with Asian- feel like that gives it the right title. These sound delicious, and I should make some with seasonal veggies- perfect idea!

  36. Pierce says:

    I’d cook from your book instead of Bitty’s 🙂 You did a nice job rolling these. I have a really hard time with that, rolling food properly so it all stays together.
    AND, thanks for being my inspiration for Meatless Monday.

  37. Innovation Joanne – great adaption 🙂

  38. I can seriously man handle a roll or two myself. I just get so excited to eat the rolls!

  39. I love the addition of eggplants. I have two in my garden now calling to be used!

  40. Summer rolls rock! And I so love peanut sauce. I always take anything with it in asian restaurants 😀

  41. Guru Uru says:

    MMMM that peanut sauce has me grinning 😀
    Lovely wraps and flavour combo!


  42. I love that these are thoroughly summery! And, this is a great dish for the heat of summer. Now I’m craving peanut sauce.

  43. shame, shame, Mark. You did an amazing job reinventing, though…and that sauce – yes, I could steal away with it and a spoon (or just the little bowl) and be happy. Yum all over this!

  44. I could eat these things by the dozen…I love that you incorporated your own style to these!! =D

  45. Peanut sauce would make anything taste amazing but I bet those are pretty good on their own with all those wonderful things stuffed inside! I need to make some summer rolls before summer’s over!

  46. Roz says:

    Joanne, as I was reading your post, my husband was overlooking my shoulder and reading the name of your blog, chuckling and saying how he thought that was a great title! I told him, ‘well you ought to read how well she writes her posts too!”. I love spring rolls, summer rolls, and I guess if they existed, fall and winter rolls! HA! But it’s the peanut sauce that called me name. Besides Italian, this is MY kind of food!

  47. I agree, peanut sauce would make anything more delicious. I love the fresh taste of spring rolls!

  48. OohLookBel says:

    Your summer rolls look so appetising. Especially with that delicious peanut sauce (which I could probably eat/drink on its own!).

  49. I love spring rolls so much, and your veggie version sounds absolutely scrumptious. 🙂

  50. Sarah B. says:

    It doesn’t matter how recently I’ve eaten, my appetite instantly appears upon viewing your blog. From one vegetarian foodie to another, well done!

    <3 Sarah Beth

  51. teresa says:

    my tummy instantly became happy looking at this picture. LOVE the veggies and the dipping sauce. we’re trying to eat less meat around here, so i’m always excited to see what you’re posting!

  52. Blond Duck says:

    I’ve always wanted to try summer rolls!

  53. Definitely summer rolls. They look so delicious! I want them for dinner 🙁

  54. Candace says:

    Summer rolls are my favorite! I am loving your interpretation of them. They look amazing, Joanne. Absolutely amazing!

  55. Gloria says:

    Really love these look delicious!

  56. I just looove fresh rolls. And the fact that you can stuff it with all sorts of great ingredients — like all these amazing veggies — makes them even better in my book.

  57. Juliana says:

    Joanne, your roll sure looks very summery…like the veggies in it with the tasty peanut sauce…beautifully done!
    Thanks for this tasty recipe and hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

  58. These rolls look so fresh and healthy!!!
    I love eating fresh and raw vegetables… This really look fabulous…
    I am loving the peanut sauce…
    And about making changes to recipe… dear I am a member of that gang!!!… Recipes for me have always been a guideline to enjoy and make my own path…

  59. Carolyn Jung says:

    Summer rolls with creamy peanut sauce. You can fill those rolls with sawdust and I’d probably eat them. Such is my love for summer rolls. LOL

  60. Dining Alone says:

    You definitely made a tasty roll, and the peanut sauce looks like something I would just drink instead of dip into 🙂 I hope you have a great week.

  61. Kari says:

    I think I’d have called the originals rice paper rolls and avoided venturing into dangerous season territory 🙂 I love your adaptation though – and the look of the peanut sauce.

  62. Johanna GGG says:

    Summer is a time for treating your oven as an extra benchtop – the less we have to turn it on the better – hence Mark Bittman’s recipe – plus he never thinks Italian fusion food like you do so well – love this variation (so long as I don’t have to roast any veg in summer)

  63. Hotly Spiced says:

    What lovely looking fresh rolls. I went to a drinks party on Saturday night and they served these with the peanut sauce and they were so popular and so delicious and you just knew when you were eating them that you weren’t having anything harmful or wrongful. The only scary thing is how many of these I could eat in one sitting xx

  64. I love that you made these your own. Plus, I absolutely love summer rolls…I’ll have to try this version before the summer is over!

  65. daphne says:

    I love how you used veges in this instead of noodles!! My kind of snack!!!! or light meal! Love it.

  66. Good call on the misnomer :-). I’ll be trying to incorporate some more summer veggies (definitely feeling some corn) into my next round of rolls. Your version looks delicious!!

  67. MM says:

    Yummmmm! These rolls are so appealing to me right now on this hot, humid morning. Craving something light!

  68. Danielle says:

    I love the veges you chose and that sauce – yum!

  69. That’s right sister, you tell Mark what’s up. I’m behind you all the way. And these summer rolls. Good-ness I love peanut sauce.

  70. Suzi says:

    You tell em girl, gets those veggies in there, LOL. I love these rolls, can’t roll them very well but I love to eat them anyway. I just made the sweet and spicy sauce yesterday to go with veggie pot stickers. Great job on these.

  71. lovely spring rolls can’t beat them fresh

  72. Reeni Pisano says:

    I concur! These are more deserving of the name. Your interpretation couldn’t be more perfect or more delicious with that luscious peanut sauce!

  73. Your version looks fabulous! Great idea to really make it a “summer” dish.

  74. Delicious version! I usually see shrimp which I can’t have and eggplant would go over very well here, especially with a peanut sauce. Your summer rolls look so good!

  75. Your summer rolls look delicious – love all the veggies in them and I especially love the dipping sauce!

  76. Katerina says:

    You made these rolls a real summer treat Joanne! They look perfect with the peanut sauce!

  77. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, This recipe is wonderful!! I would love it. Blessings dear. Catherine xox

  78. Chris says:

    That Bittman doesn’t know a thing about cooking, does he? (ha ha ha, yeaaaah, KIDDING)

    Seriously though, the end result looks great. But I have such a fetish for peanut sauce that you could probably put even FISH (BLECH!) in it and I would eat it 🙂

  79. Victoria says:

    You’re so cute with your literal translation of summer rolls haha. True that they are better with actual fresh seasonal summer vegetables! And of course the perfection of peanut sauce. Love.

  80. Lori says:

    I’m all about your substitutions. I’ve been recently obsessed with rolls – summer, spring (running mine off after all the eating ;)). These are next on the list!

  81. Dana says:

    I have my standard rolls that I make the same way every time. Noodles, carrots, cucumber, herbs. Then I take a bite and wonder, why do I always make them this way? Best to try some new options.

  82. Kerstin says:

    Looks like the very perfect summer meal! And that peanut sauce – yum!

  83. Rachel says:

    I made these as a late night snack. Joanne these are delicious – wow! I think I’ll use the leftover veggies and peanut sauce for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!

  84. This looks wonderful and the flavours sound amazing!

  85. Shannon says:

    omg i love this version of a summer roll!! and peanut sauce, how i love thee… i’d love to take a bath in it 😛

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