Last Friday morning I was heading out to Hecla Island with a wicker picnic basket fully stocked with hummus, pita chips, watermelon, white wine and of course, these colourful rainbow summer rolls and an accompaning creamy spicy tahini dip. We ate beside a sun sparkled lake until our bellies were satisfied and it was time for a beachside nap. It was a pretty perfect day.

These summer rolls are a great make-ahead, portable addition to a picnic party, or any summertime gathering.  Their versatility is a definite attribute, as the neutral flavour of the rice wraps lend themselves to many variations. For these rolls, the focus was on bright, crisp, contrasting flavours and textures. Adding some form of protein (i.e. chicken, shrimp, tofu) is an option that carries these rolls from side dish to a main course. There is a great balance of sweet, salty, spice and crunch between the mango, crisp vegetables and fiery tahini sauce in each bite.

Tahini, which is essentially sesame seeds ground to a paste, makes for a wonderful creamy dip or dressing. On its own, tahini can be somewhat bitter, but the addition of lime, tamari, and hot sauce creates a delicious combination. Nutritionally, tahini is rich in minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese and zinc) and is also a source of protein, healthy fats and fibre. A great alternative to the tahini dip would be my Spicy Peanut Sauce!

Before summer turns to fall, try these rainbow summer rolls for a picnic or meal shared with your loved ones!



Rainbow Summer Rolls + Spicy Tahini Dip

Servings: 2-3 (makes 6 rolls)
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes


Spicy Tahini Dip:

3 tbsp (45 ml) tahini paste
1 tsp (5 ml) tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
Juice of 2 small limes
1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) srircha (or to your heat tolerance)
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger
1 tbsp (15 ml) hot water

Summer Rolls:

1 handful thai basil (or mint)
1 cup (250 ml) red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) zucchini, julienned or vegetable spiralized
2 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) mango, julienned
1 cup (250 ml) cucumber, julienned
1 nori sheet, cut 1/2 inch x 2 inch strips (1 cm x 5 cm) (optional)
6 rice paper wraps (9” or 22 cm diameter )
Black sesame seeds (optional garnish)

Note:  Cut the cucumber and zucchini to an appropriate length to fit within the rice paper wraps.


Spicy Tahini Dip:
Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Summer rolls:
1. Fill a shallow pie or cake pan (at least 9 inches) with about an inch of warm water. Place rice paper wraps, one at a time, in the water and let soak for about 15-20 seconds. They will become softer as you construct each roll.
2. Place wrap on a plate or flat surface and put a small amount of each ingredient on the centre of the wrap.
3. To fold the roll, bring one side towards the centre over the vegetables, and then bring in both ends. Continue to roll as tight as possible (without tearing the wrap). Or fold as you would a wrap/tortilla shell. Continue this process until all your wraps are complete!

Note:  If making these ahead of time store in an air-tight container, covered loosely with a dampened paper towel.