This particular Summer Roll recipe was a serendipity. Originally, the dinner menu called for BBQ Chickpea Chopped Salad, but while gathering supplies at Newark Farmers Market the better half happened to noticed fresh Thai Basil. I was on the hunt for habaneros for my second batch of fermented hot sauce and it never occured to me to do my usual, totally in vain scan of their herb section for the holiest of basils. Thai Basil has to be one of my favorite herbs and since moving to the Fair Hill area three years ago, I’ve been fruitless in my efforts to find it. Back in Springfield, I often visited a local Vietnamese grocery near me, Saigon Market, where the matron who ran the place would kindly steer me in the right direction of the best noodles for my dish and always had an abundance of fresh Thai Basil for sale. Needless to say, I was a little more than excited to finally see fresh Thai Basil at NFM and we picked up two bundles of the spicy herb. I grabbed a package of fresh mint and the menu instantly changed from chopped salad to summer rolls. Instead of bbqing the chickpeas, I marinated them for a bit in Vietnamese flavors, as I have to add protein of somesort to my dinners (you can take the girl out of Texas…). However, the Summer Rolls are delicious stuffed with just fresh herbs and veggies and can easily be kept vegan. The rolls also pair well with shredded chicken, shrimp, tofu, or whatever you like really. The fresh mint and Thai basil are really what make these handheld salads something special IMO and dipping sauce is always a must for us as well. So either chop up a bit of roasted peanuts, Thai Bird chilies and add to soy sauce or serve them with your favorite peanut sauce.
Vietnamese Marinated Chickpeas
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp Fish Sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp dried or fresh Lemongrass
1″ piece of Ginger root, minced
2 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 – 2 Thai Bird Chiles, minced (caution: these are hot!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a med sized mixing bowl, add all ingredients and toss together until the chickpeas are evenly coated. Marinate the chickpeas in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to several hours. Add the marinated chickpeas to Summer Rolls as a meatless protein option. To keep the summer rolls vegetarian/vegan either use an appropriate “fish” sauce or skip this ingredient altogether.
For detailed instructions on how to assemble Summer Rolls, please visit my previously posted recipe: