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When I was 18, a friend and I went out to a random Chinese restaurant in the heart of Winnipeg’s Chinatown and ordered a “Miscellaneous meat” dish. Aside from the mystery meat, I only recall that it contained noodles. And that is about as far back into the cobwebbed recesses of my memory that I am able to reach. Obviously alcohol was involved. And I may have blocked the rest of it out, given that it was a crappy experience that was based solely on a bad decision that my gut and I soon came to regret. But what I did learn was that I would never leave my meat consumption to chance like that again.
I was much more adventurous in those days because I was basically making up for lost time. You see, growing up in my household, food was kind of boring (sorry Mom!) Don’t get me wrong, it was still GOOD. But it was not the least bit adventurous. We ate the basics- meat, potatoes and veg. Oh and Ukrainian food, given that we are Ukrainian. That was good too. Sometimes we had Chinese food, but I’m talkin’ chicken balls and fried rice- nothing remotely authentic. I didn’t even eat my first Indian food until I moved out and was introduced to samosas by my roommates. Italian food meant spaghetti or lasagna. My first cookbook even had a section called “Foreign Fare” that included a recipe for lasagna.
My kids are a little more food worldly. They request butter chicken regularly and were ordering calamari off restaurant menus by the age of 4. Oh, and they love these salad rolls. I’m not saying that this is exactly foreign fare but this is far more multicultural and daring than I would have ever have had the opportunity to eat as a kid.
Simple Salad Rolls:
Although I like to add a wee bit of a ‘foreign flare’ to many of my recipes, I still try to keep it simple. And that’s what I had in mind when I created these salad rolls. A bagged salad kit, a little chopping, some wrapping and voilà! You have yourself one of the best appetizers you’ve ever eaten, a snack or even a meal. We often have a snacky dinner of these salad rolls, healthy yogurt hummus and carrots, potstickers and shrimp on a Friday night when we’re watching movies. Hey, we’re all busy doing other stuff, even if we love to cook!
I also try to focus on healthy (most of the time). These Italian summer rolls with peanut dipping sauce are not only healthy, they are hearty – your veggies, meat and carbs all in one wrap, making them perfectly acceptable as a light meal. And the addition of the melon adds a refreshing burst of flavor. They are also great for munching on a hot summer day, preferably outside on the deck , with a cold glass of white wine (or whatever your choice of beverage is).
If you are the least bit intimidated by making salad rolls, no need to be – they are pretty straightforward (see video demonstration “how to wrap a salad roll” in directions below).
*NOTE: If you are not a red meat eater, you could substitute chicken or turkey for the salami/prosciutto. Or leave the meat out for a vegetarian dish.
Tuscan Melon Summer Salad Rolls with Zesty Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 25 oz pkg Taylor Italian chopped salad kit (I use Taylor farms from Costco because it already has the meat in it) but you can use any Italian salad kit and add the salami
- 75 g Prosciutto chopped
- 1/2 cup grated honeydew melon
- 1/2 cup grated cantaloupe
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 12 22 cm (large) rice wrappers/rice paper
- 1/2 -250 gram pkg rice vermicelli noodles
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Place rice vermicelli in boiling water, remove from heat, and let soak 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Fill a large bowl or shallow pan with hot water. Dip one rice wrapper in the hot water for approximately 10 seconds (or however long it takes) to soften. Lay wrapper flat on damp tea towel.
- Squeeze liquid from grated melons and pat melon dry with paper towel. Set aside.
- Place about 2 tsp of prosciutto, then 2 Tbsps. of Taylor farms Italian chopped salad, 1-2 Tbsp. of noodles, then 2 tsp of each, cilantro, basil and mint on wrapper, just below the middle of the wrapper.
- Add about 1-2 tsp of each type of melon to the filling.
- Roll the edges of the wrapper slightly inward. Beginning at the bottom edge of wrapper, tightly wrap the ingredients. Repeat with remaining wrappers until all ingredients are used. (See video "How to wrap a salad roll" in Notes below)
- In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water and orange juice until combined.
- While continuing to whisk, add the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, chili paste and ginger and dressing from bagged salad mix. Mix well.
- Serve salad rolls with dipping sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not serving immediately.