When I think cabbage rolls, I usually think of a comforting fall or winter meal. I’ve switched things up and turned cabbage rolls into a warm-weather treat! Napa Cabbage Summer Rolls with Chicken & Spicy Peanut Sauce makes a great light meal to enjoy this season.
Cabbage rolls in the summer? I say yes to Napa Cabbage Summer Rolls with Chicken & Spicy Peanut Sauce. Why? Well, because they’re delicious and filled with crunchy and hearty ingredients, and they only require — literally — two minutes on the stovetop. See what I’m saying?
I wanted to make summer rolls using something leafy and good for you. Napa cabbage (sometimes called Chinese cabbage) is full of vitamins and fiber and other good things, and it has a nice, medium-sized leaf – perfect for rolling. If you haven’t had Napa cabbage before, the flavor isn’t overpowering. It’s actually fairly mild and tastes a bit like celery.
Napa cabbage is oblong, with bright green outer leaves, and pale green inner leaves. I used the outer and middle leaves for this recipe and saved the inner ones for another recipe. I used about 15-20 leaves.
To keep things easy, I used precooked chicken (shredded) along with carrots and cucumbers. I also added a sprinkling of crispy rice noodles into the rolls for added crunch. Totally simple, right? The dipping sauce that I’ve paired with these rolls could not be easier to make: peanut butter along with soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and a handful of other ingredients. Whisk it up and, tah-dah!
Napa Summer Rolls with Chicken & Spicy Peanut Sauce are perfect for the warm summer days and nights. These little rolls are hearty but not heavy, and the limited cooking time (again…two minutes!) is perfect when you other things to do besides stand over a stove.
Try one of these recipes for simple summer meal options:
Barley Salad in Radicchio Bowls with Champagne-Orange Vinaigrette
Grilled Tofu Tostadas with Tomato-Mango Salsa
Grilled Eggplant, Cherries, and Couscous Salad
This is a great meal for the summer season! It's easy to make -- with just a few minutes on the stove -- and you can use your favorite veggies!
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1/2 pound pre-cooked chicken, shredded
- 1-1/2 cups carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1/3 cup crispy rice noodles
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (or to taste)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the whole head of Napa cabbage to the boiling water for just 2 minutes or so. Drain the water and transfer the cabbage to the bowl of ice water. After a few minutes, remove the cabbage and let the excess water drain away.
- Carefully remove the large leaves from the cabbage and place in a colander. After the cabbage has drained for a bit, place a few paper towels on a baking sheet. Add several leaves in a single layer on top of the paper towels. Add another layer of paper towels, then another single layer of cabbage. Continue (on another baking sheet if necessary) until the larger leaves are used. Save the remaining inner, smaller leaves for another recipe.
- Allow the leaves to dry.
- As the leaves dry, make the dipping sauce. Combine the water, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, and chili-garlic sauce in a bowl. Use a whisk to combine until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before serving.
- When the leaves are dry (they can be slightly damp), cut a triangle-shaped notch out of the bottom of the stem of each leaf. Set aside.
- One at a time, lay a cabbage leaf on a flat surface. Using a small portion of each, layer the shredded chicken, carrots, cucumber, and crispy rice noodles at the bottom of the leaf (where the notch was cut out). Carefully, and as tightly as you can, roll the leaf from the bottom end to the top. Place on a serving dish, seam side down.
- Serve with the Spicy Peanut Sauce.