Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls

Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls
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Okay, this recipe is barely a recipe. But we’re at that point in the summer when people are barely cooking. I mean, it’s been so humid here I rarely feel hungry. Do I lust over extremely cold sparkling water? Yes! But dinner just doesn’t have the same appeal. And if I’m feeling this as a food obsessive, I can only imagine how normal people are feeling. But even if you’re hot, you still gotta eat. And that’s where these Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls come in. These rolls come together in moments, require only a few minutes by the stove, and involve an ice bath, which you are more than welcome to partake in if necessary. And the taste? Well, these rolls are spicy, refreshing, a little funky, and above all, delicious. So let’s get started. 

The ingredients for the crab salad in a bowl ready to be mixed.

The first thing we’re going to do is tackle the crab. Now, you can get as fancy with your crabmeat as you wish. You can go all in with some colossal-grade blue crab meat and really treat yourself. Or you can play it a more low-key and select some canned chunk crab meat. That’s what I did and my fresh rolls were no worse for wear. In fact, if you’re going with a pricier crab, I would scale back on the amount of ingredients you add to it. Premium seafood needs room to shine, honey! And if the crab is not your thing, feel free to swap it for a bit of seafood that does speak to you. Canned tuna would do very nicely here.

Pouring boiling water over rice vermicelli in a bowl
Blanched green beans in an ice bath

Drain your crab meat very well before placing it in a bowl. Excess moisture in the crab meat will lead to a runny crab salad, which will result in a gooey fresh roll. And I’m not about that kind of experience. I shuddered as I wrote “gooey fresh roll”. Once the crab is in the bowl, add mayo, lemongrass puree, fish sauce, red chilis, and a little honey for balance. Give it a good stir and your crab salad is done. Chill it until you’re ready for it. 

Cucumber ribbons and julienned cucumber on a cutting board.

With the crab salad quite literally chilling, let’s move on to the noodles. We’re using rice vermicelli noodles today and they’re very easy to overcook. So instead of cooking them on the stove, we’re going to put the kettle on. Place the noodles in a bowl and pour a recently boiled kettlesworth of water over top. Let the noodles sit for 10 minutes. Drain them thoroughly and add a little sesame oil and toss to coat. While the sesame oil brings a little flavor to the proceedings its primary purpose is the keep the noodles from clumping together. Just set the noodles aside until you’re ready to play with them. 

Red ruby basil leaves on an unrolled rice paper sheet.

Now for the last few bits of prep before we get rolling. See what I did there? First, we’re going to blanche some green beans. Bring a pot of water up to a boil and add the beans. Simmer for 2 minutes before plunging them into an ice bath. Let them hang out for a minute or two more before draining them and setting them aside. And finally, shave some mini cucumbers into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Once you hit the seeds in the center on either side of the cuke, switch to a chef’s knife and julienne what’s left. 

The fillings for the rolls arranged on top of an unrolled rice paper sheet on a cutting board.

Grab some rice paper and let’s get rolling. Dunk a sheet into some cold water and place it on a cutting board. I find a wooden cutting board works best for this but you do you. You don’t have to get the rice paper absolutely sopping. It’s better if it’s still slightly rigid when it hits the cutting board. It will continue to soften as we build our roll. 

Crab Cucumber Fresh rolls

Start by laying down some basil leaves, I used red Rubin basil because it’s currently growing in my garden and it’s purple, which is a very big plus in my books. Lay the cucumber ribbons lengthwise on top of the basil. Place some of the vermicelli on the end closest to you and place the crab salad on top. Lay some of the julienned cucumbers next to the noodles and a few green beans next to that. I only added 3 green beans to each roll and I regret my decision. Don’t be like me, add more green beans.  Fold the sides of the rice paper towards the center and grab the end closest to you and roll it away from yourself until the roll forms a seal. Repeat with the remaining rice paper sheets.

Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls

Transfer the finished rolls to a platter and serve them alongside sweet chili sauce for dipping. And that’s really it. Like I said this isn’t much of a recipe but I can tell you these Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls make for one hell of a meal. 


Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls

Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls

These Crab Cucumber Fresh Rolls feature a lemongrass and chili spiked crab salad paired with crisp green beans and fresh basil enveloped in cucumber ribbons and a rice paper wrapper.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Servings 8 rolls


  • 1 pie plate
  • 1 small saucepan


  • 2 (120g, 4oz) cans crab meat drained
  • 2-3 red chilis thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp mayo heaping
  • tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass pureé
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 100g (3.5oz) uncooked rice vermicelli
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 200g (7oz) green beans
  • 6 mini cucumbers
  • ¼ cup basil leaves tightly packed
  • 8 rice paper sheets
  • Sweet chili sauce for dipping


  • Place the crab meat, mayo, lemongrass purée, fish sauce, honey, sesame oil, and chilis in a bowl. Stir to combine and chill until ready to use. 
    2 (120g, 4oz) cans crab meat, 2-3 red chilis, 2 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp lemongrass pureé, 1½ tbsp fish sauce, 2 tsp honey
  • Place the rice vermicelli in a bowl. Pour a kettles’ worth of recently boiled water over top. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and toss with the sesame oil. Set aside.
    100g (3.5oz) uncooked rice vermicelli, 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the green beans. Cook for 2 minutes before plunging the beans into an ice bath. Let sit for 2 minutes more before draining and setting aside.
    200g (7oz) green beans
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers into ribbons. Peel until your reach the seeds in the middle of the cucumber, then flip it over and repeat on the opposite side. Julienne the remaining portioons of the cucumbers.
    6 mini cucumbers
  • Fill a wide shallow vessel with water, I used a pie plate for this. Dunk a piece of rice paper in the water and soak it until slightly softened. Place the rice paper on a cutting board and arrange the basil leaves in the center. Place the cucumber ribbons on top of the basil and add a small pile of rice vermicelli on the end closest to you. Top the noodles with the crab salad and place some of the julienned cucumber and a few green beans alongside it. 
    8 rice paper sheets, ¼ cup basil leaves
  • Grab the sides of the rice paper and fold them towards the center. Take the end of the rice paper that is closest to you and fold it over the fillings. Continue to roll away from yourself until the roll seals. Transfer the fresh rolls to a platter and serve with sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping.
    Sweet chili sauce
Keyword Basil, crab, cucumber, green beans, lemongrass

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