Shrimp-Watercress Summer Rolls 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Local Living Jul 29, 2014

This seasonal dish can be served as a healthful appetizer, snack or light entree. It packs a good deal of flavor from the spicy dipping sauce and fresh mint. Watercress is a delicate leafy green that provides calcium and vitamins A and C (important for skin and immune health).

Use standard rice paper wrappers or brown rice paper wrappers (for extra fiber). Either way, the rolls are gluten-free, low-calorie and easy to prepare. For a vegetarian version, black beans can take the place of shrimp.

Make Ahead: Summer rolls can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. Refrigerate the dipping sauce in a separate airtight container for up to 5 days.

Where to Buy: Rice paper spring roll wrappers can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores. They are typically 6 inches in diameter. Brown rice paper spring roll wrappers can be found at Whole Foods and MOM's Organic Market. They are typically 8 inches in diameter and can accommodate more ingredients, if desired.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings; makes 18 rolls

  • For the sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (may substitute unsalted creamy peanut butter)
  • 2 teaspoons light agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, for garnish
  • For the rolls
  • 1 small yellow peach, pitted and cut into 9 slices
  • Flesh of 1/2 avocado, cut into 9 thin slices
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 9 thin strips (julienne)
  • 18 rice paper wrappers or brown rice paper wrappers (see headnote)
  • 36 small cooked, peeled, deveined and chilled shrimp
  • 2 cups watercress (leaves and tender stems)
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 18 fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish


For the sauce: Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to crush the garlic cloves, then mince and smash them to a paste. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the lime zest and juice, tahini, agave nectar or honey, canola oil, toasted sesame oil, crushed red pepper flakes, ginger, salt and white pepper. Seal; shake vigorously to create an emulsified dressing. If it seems too thick (not easily pourable), add the water; seal and shake. Transfer to a small bowl for dipping; garnish with white sesame seeds, if using. The yield is a generous 1/2 cup.

For the rolls: Cut each of the peach, avocado and red bell pepper pieces in half, so there are 18 pieces of each.

Working with 1 wrapper at a time, dip them ever so briefly in a large bowl of hot water, then lay them flat. Arrange/stack 2 shrimp, a good pinch of watercress, 1 peach slice, 1 avocado slice, 1 red bell pepper slice, a pinch of scallions and 1 mint leaf (torn into smaller pieces) at the center of each wrapper. Fold 2 opposite wrapper sides inward, overlapping them, then fold the bottom up and roll upward to form a tight cylinder.

Arrange the summer rolls on a platter or individual plates; garnish with cilantro and serve with the dipping sauce.

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Recipe Source

From Elaine Gordon, a master of public health and master certified health education specialist, is the creator of the healthful recipe site Find her on Twitter at @eatingbyelaine.

Tested by Nicole Schofer.

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