Cool off this summer with these delicious Veggie Spring Rolls! This refreshing, no cook recipe is packed with fresh summer flavors and so easy to make.
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Do you go through recipe phases? I know I do.
I'll make a favorite recipe for years and then stop for some reason. I love trying new recipes, which probably has something to do with it.
Whatever the reason, it's fun to rediscover old favorites .... like these Veggie Spring Rolls (which I first shared here way back in 2014)!
Years ago when I lived in Chicago, I made these fresh vegetable summer rolls all the time. For some reason, I stopped making them when I moved to San Francisco. Even though I lived in neighborhood with lots of great Asian grocery stores which made finding the ingredients super easy.
Maybe it was the cooler weather ... who knows. But I rediscovered my easy vegetable spring rolls recipe when I lived in New York, and I've been on a Veggie Spring Roll kick ever since!
These easy vegetable spring rolls are perfect for hot summer days. So I decided to give my original recipe a little update and share it with you again ... because you are going to want to make these yummy rolls all summer long!
My yummy Veggie Spring Rolls are packed with crunchy veggies, fresh herbs, and flavorful baked tofu. They're similar to the fresh (not fried) spring rolls that you'd find in a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant. And even better, these rolls have two easy dipping sauces that are simple to make and so delicious.
I think my favorite thing about these vegetable summer rolls (apart from the awesome taste) is that they're light, healthy, and low in calories. No guilt here!
They're also really pretty (perfect for parties where you want to impress your guests), and much easier to make than you'd think. Once you get the hang of working with the wrappers, there will be no stopping you!
Veggie Spring Rolls Ingredients
Before we talk about how to make veggie spring rolls, let's talk about the ingredients. Most veggie spring roll ingredients are easy to find in a well-stocked grocery store. If you have a local Chinese or Vietnamese grocery nearby, then I highly recommend you shop there. You'll find a bigger selection of ingredients, and the prices can't be beat.
The veggies and herbs are the star of these fresh summer vegetable rolls, so choose the freshest produce you can find. And once you're comfortable with the recipe, feel free to substitute your favorite veggies and fruit (check out my tips at the end of the post).
Baked tofu is perfect for these vegan rolls, because it's already cooked and packed with flavor. You could leave the tofu out altogether if you wanted though, or even substitute it with cooked shrimp or chicken if you're not a vegetarian.
To hold the rolls together, you'll need rice paper wrappers, which are super thin, round discs made from rice, water, and salt. Look for wrappers that are about 8 to 10 inches in diameter. You probably won't use a whole package, which means you can make these rolls all summer long!
You'll also need thin rice noodles (sometimes called rice sticks or vermicelli). Most grocery stores will carry these noodles.
The two sauces include items you probably already have in your pantry, as well as rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and sriracha. If you do a lot of Chinese or Thai cooking, you will use these ingredients frequently in other recipes (try my Vegetable Tofu Lo Mein, Chinese Chopped Salad, or Teriyaki Tofu Bowl).
How to Make Veggie Spring Rolls
Now that you know all about veggie spring roll ingredients, let's talk about how to make veggie spring rolls. The process is very easy, but a little organization goes a long way.
Start by preparing your sauces. I've included recipes for an Almond Butter Sauce (substitute peanut butter, if you wish) and a Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce. Both are delish and can be made in minutes by whisking together the ingredients.
Next, you'll prepare the rice noodles. Simply soak the rice noodles in boiling water for a few minutes until they're tender, then rinse them in cold water. I like to chop the cooked noodles a couple times, too, since they tend to be pretty long.
Prep your veggies and tofu next. You'll slice the tofu thinly and julienne the red peppers, carrots, and basil. Remove the leaves from the mint and cilantro and discard the stems. Slice the lettuce.
Once you've prepped these ingredients organize everything on a platter or cutting board. I like to arrange the ingredients in the order I'll be using them, assembly line style. This makes putting the rolls together quick and easy.
The only semi-tricky part of this recipe is dealing with the rice paper wrappers. They're really thin and will sometimes rip or stick together. If you have any mishaps though, just toss the wrapper out and start again.
To soften the rice paper wrappers, you'll fill a large, flat dish with warm water (a skillet works great). Dip a wrapper into the water and completely submerge it, then remove it and place it on a flat surface, like a cutting board.
Let the wrapper sit for a bit, and once it's soft, add the veggies, herbs, and tofu in a line in the middle of the wrapper (avoid overfilling). Then, wrap everything up burrito style. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, and then it's time to eat!
It takes a bit of practice to make vegetable summer rolls, but once you have the process down, you'll be making these Veggie Spring Rolls in minutes!
Veggie Spring Rolls
For Almond Butter Sauce:
- ¼ cup almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey**
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey**
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
For Veggie Spring Rolls:
- 4 ounces thin rice noodles
- 1 (6-ounce) package baked tofu, cut into 24 thin slices
- 2 small red peppers, julienned
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- 1 cup basil, julienned (try Thai basil, if you can find it)
- ¾ cup mint, leaves only
- ½ cup cilantro, leaves only
- 1 small head butter lettuce, sliced
- 1 package rice paper wrappers
Prepare Almond Butter Sauce:
- Whisk together almond butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and crushed red pepper flakes until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- Whisk together vinegar, honey, and sriracha until combined. Set aside.
Prepare Spring Rolls:
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Place rice noodles in a large bowl; cover with boiling water. Let sit for a minimum of 2 minutes or until tender.
- Transfer noodles to a colander, then rinse well with cold water. Drain well.
- Using a knife, give the noodles a couple chops (so they aren't super long) and set aside.
- Arrange tofu and vegetables on a platter or cutting board for easy assembly.
Assemble Spring Rolls:
- Fill a large, flat pan or dish with warm water (a large skillet works well).
- Submerge one rice paper wrapper completely in warm water. Remove from water and set on a flat surface. Let the wrapper sit for a minute or two, or until softened.
- When the wrapper is soft, place a few cilantro or mint leaves across the center of the wrapper.
- Top the herbs with a couple slices of tofu.
- Top tofu with: a little red pepper; a few carrots; and a little basil, cilantro, and mint (in that order).
- Place a small handful of rice noodles over herbs.
- Cover the noodles with a little lettuce.
- Roll up the rice paper wrapper (being careful not to tear it) like a burrito: fold the lower half of the wrapper over the ingredients; then fold in ends; and finally, roll up as tightly as possible.
- Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
- Serve Spring Rolls immediately (or store in an airtight container) with dipping sauces. Enjoy!
Other Veggie Spring Roll Ideas
Now that you know how to make these easy Veggie Spring Rolls, here are some fun ideas for customizing and serving them:
- Substitute other veggies for the red peppers and carrots. Cucumber, zucchini, and cabbage would all be delicious.
- Experiment with adding other ingredients, such as fruit (try mango or other tropical fruits), avocado, edamame, or green onions.
- Try other dipping sauces, such as sriracha mixed with mayo.
- Create a DIY spring roll station for a party. Simply set out the ingredients and a few bowls of warm water for the wrappers, then give everyone a quick tutorial. Make sure to prepare extra filling ingredients, because most people will try to stuff in a little too much!
Have you ever discovered an old favorite recipe?