Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Something happened when I turned 30. My taste buds seemed to transform overnight. I don’t seem to crave as much of the “bad” stuff anymore. For example, when I used to go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I would pick deep-fried spring rolls over the fresh variety 9 times out of 10. I just loved the greasy goodness of a golden fried spring roll. Maybe it’s because I grew up eating such healthy food (made with love by my awesome mother) that I was rebelling in my teens and 20s? Whatever it was, all that seems to have changed quite a bit in the last year. It seems as though I just prefer the taste of fresh, healthy foods these days – including fresh spring rolls. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and I still have my food-vices… But it’s nice to know that my body seems to know what it needs these days, or at least, I’ve become better at listening to it! :)

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

In Ottawa, Canada (where I’m from), there are many Vietnamese restaurants and lots of opportunities to eat great fresh spring rolls. Here in Sydney, I haven’t come across many Vietnamese restaurants and/or the rolls that I’ve had have been kind of plain (too many noodles, not enough veggies). I also prefer my rolls with peanut sauce, rather than the sweet-chili sauce (that everyone on this continent seems to be obsessed with) or hoisin sauce.

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

It never really occurred to me to make my own rolls until I was home visiting my mom this past summer, and she bought all the ingredients to make them together. While it might take a couple rolls to really get the hang of it, these are really very easy to make. It’s really more prep-work than anything, and the payoff is great, with fresh colorful rolls that you can serve to guests and eat right away. I made these again this week on my own, and I have to say that these are now my new favorite recipe. The rice paper wrappers and noddles will keep in your pantry, and you can easily use whatever veggies you have on hand to quickly throw these together for unexpected guests or as a light snack.

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

Things to keep in mind:

  • The rice noodles come in a fairly big bunch, and I really wanted my rolls to be veggie-centric so I didn’t use very many noddles. I only cooked about 1/10th of the noodles to make 12 rolls. Another option is to leave the noddles out altogether, as they don’t have add any flavor and you wouldn’t be missing anything flavor-wise by leaving them out.
  • To easily wrap the rolls, you’ll want to work on a clean and wet tea towel, as I have described below. This will prevent the wrappers from drying-out.
  • The fresh basil and mint really add a lot to these rolls and I encourage you not to skip those ingredients. They make the rolls so much fresher and tastier!
  • I initially served these “whole” but found that they look even better when cut diagonally with a sharp knife, especially because of all the bright colors that I used. I’ve also seen these done-up as “cones” (like sushi) – so feel free to experiment with your own ingredients and presentation styles!
  • The most important part when making these is to prep your ingredients beforehand. Trust me on this! Once your wrappers are ready, you’ll want to be moving fairly quickly.
  • For the peanut sauce, I was inspired by this recipe, but modified it below to make it vegan.

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free
Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free
4.8 from 4 reviews
Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These Vietnamese-style fresh spring rolls (summer rolls) are easy to make - just prep your favorite fillings, wrap, and roll! Vegan / Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 24 thin spring roll rice paper wrappers (Vietnamese or Thai, not the Chinese ones used for egg rolls)
Choice of fillings:
  • Rice vermicelli noodles
  • Red peppers (capsicum)
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Purple cabbage
  • Fresh herbs (I recommend a couple mint and/or basil leaves per roll)
  • Thin strips of lightly-fried tofu or seitan
  • Bean sprouts
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Lettuce/Spinach
Peanut Sauce
  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter (or almond/cashew/sunflower butter)
  • ½ cup soy or coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (agave would work too)
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tsp chili powder (or 1 tsp crushed red chili pepper)
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce except the chopped peanuts, set aside.
  2. Prep all your veggies so that they are thinly sliced, and shorter than your wrappers by about 5-6 cm. (My wrappers are 16 cm wide, so I cut my veggies about 10 cm long.)
  3. If using rice noodles, decide how much of the noodles you will need based on the quantity of rolls you’re making and how many ingredients you plan on using. You can break the noodles off or use scissors to gently cut them away from the bigger piece. Fill a pot with just enough hot water to submerge your noodles. Regular hot tap water should be hot enough – it doesn’t need to be boiling. Let the noodles sit in the water until they are soft and edible, about 2 minutes. Remove the noddles, shaking them to remove excess water, and set aside.
  4. Wet a clean tea towel, ring it out and lay it flat on your counter top.
  5. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Transfer the water to a large bowl and let cool a couple minutes. drop a wrapper into the water, and let it soak for 30 seconds – any longer and it will begin to get too soft and/or tear. It should be transparent and pliable. Remove wrapper from the water and gently shake it to remove any excess water. Lay the wrapper flat on your tea towel.
  6. Place your mint and basil leaves near the top of the wrapper, as per diagram. Take some noodles and fold them back so that they fit within the top of the wrapper, as shown. Add 2-3 pieces of each vegetable on top, keeping everything tight and in a nice elongated pile. Tightly fold the top of the wrapper over the ingredients, and then fold-in each side. Continue rolling the wrapper onto itself to form the roll. Continue with remaining ingredients.
  7. Before serving, add the chopped peanuts on top of the peanut sauce that you plan on serving. If desired, cut rolls diagonally with a sharp knife before serving.

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

UPDATE

March 29, 2013 – My mom made these for lunch for us today, and they were so delicious! She left the rice noodles out altogether, and added some tofu strips, which she had marinaded in Tamari and then lightly fried. Delish!

Vietnamese-Style Fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) with Peanut Sauce - Vegan / Gluten-Free

38 Comments

  1. these are beautiful and look SO tasty! the filling is PERFECT… I have never made these using the rice paper… they look easy enough! :D

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      They’re really easy, once you get the hang of wrapping them. It’s really all just prep-work,cutting up all your veggies… but so refreshing and healthy. I’m kind of obsessed with them lately! :)

      Reply
      • Seraphina Nelson says:

        I made them tonight and let me just say…. FANTASTIC! I am already obsessed with them and my family members got in on it and started creating their own combinations. Yummy, healthy, and fun for the whole family! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

        Reply
        • vegangela says:

          Hi Seraphina – I’m so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed them. They’re so fun once you get the hang of it and I love how fresh they are. I’m craving some now! :)

          Reply
  2. Nick says:

    Looks great! I switched to the “fresh” side of things as well a few years back. The fried foods have their time and place, just less frequent. Glad you enjoyed the peanut sauce =)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Nick, Glad you got the pingback on your recipe. I really prefer peanut sauce for these guys. Love your blog by the way, as I love all things peanut butter! :)

      Reply
  3. daina says:

    When I made these on the weekend, I used corriander which is also really nice and tasty – and I add alfala sprouts too as they are nice and soft and melt in the mouth

    I also make a “Vietnemese Dipping Sauce” which is nice and tangy.

    I got the inspriation here, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Shrimp-Rice-Paper-Rolls-with-Vietnamese-Dipping-Sauce-107683 – but in the process changed most of it :)

    * Rice wine vinegar
    * Lime
    * Water
    * Honey
    * Dash soy sauce

    Teeny tiny diced red cucumber, red onion and carrot and thinly sliced baby chilli’s

    Good old sweet chilli sauce is a nice sauce to have with these too

    Yummmm……

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for that recipe! I’m not a huge fan of sweet chili sauce but I like the idea of the one you posted. Would use agave for the honey. But I have to say, I love peanut butter so I doubt I would ever stray away from using it!

      Reply
  4. Brian says:

    these are gorgeous! i wish my taste buds followed your lead, mine have never turned that corner, and still want those fried spring rolls. but i bet i could make these easier, so my laziness will in fact trump my taste buds. pretty post. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Brian, yes these are definitely easier (and less messy) than the fried ones. Give them a go! Peanut butter sauce, you can’t go wrong! :)

      Reply
  5. Ian says:

    Love the recipe, and I love all the pictures that accompany it!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Ian – they’re super easy to make, don’t know why I was so hesitant to try them before! :)

      Reply
  6. Looks great and gluten free too.

    I’ve tried making them a couple of time but we have always called them rice paper rolls and the ones deep fried in pastry spring rolls.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yes, you’re right, the fried ones are usually called “spring rolls” but I’ve also heard these called *fresh* spring rolls…You’re right, they’re gluten-free. Will add a tag for that. Thanks!!

      Reply
  7. yvonne says:

    these look so awesome !!!

    Reply
  8. fazza says:

    If you want good rice paper rolls without making them yourself, try visiting Cabramatta or Canley Heights.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Fazza :)

      Reply
  9. gghie says:

    Looks great!
    I would love to share your recipe on my blog for my filipino vegan friends. I just started my blog and are already asking me for a vegan alternative, and this is perfect for my next blog.
    Let me know if it’s ok.

    gghie
    http://theredapronscravings.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  10. Edwina says:

    I made them for a party last night and they were a huge hit ! Your blog always has fantastic ideas and since going vegan 9 months ago, its always my first port of call when I’m in need of a little inspiration ! Thank you :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Aww really? That totally made my day, thank you! I’m glad to hear that these went over well! Thanks again for the kind words and for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  11. Elizabeth says:

    So beautiful and sounds so delicious!! I want to make these for my family.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
    Peace and Raw Health,
    Elizabeth

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Let me know how they go over with everyone. Thanks for stopping by ;)

      Reply
  12. Alexa Cummins says:

    Thank you for this, they are so easy and so yummy. Perfect and fresh!!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I agree – they’re one of my favorite things! Glad you liked them, thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  13. stephskare says:

    I made these last night for dinner for my boyfriend and I. It was my first attempt to make a spring roll (the rice paper scares me) and I have to say they were fresh and light while still being delicious. We used tofu, avacado, lettuce and carrots. I made the sauce as well but mine turned out to be quite runny but still good. I served it with brown rice and some garlic green beans.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad you liked them. They’re really not that hard once you get the hang of rolling them. Sorry to hear about the sauce – your peanut butter may be thinner than mine. Maybe use less soymilk/coconut milk next time?

      Reply
  14. Brittany says:

    WOW! I have had so much trouble finding good, healthy vegan recipes. Until I stumbled upon your site a few days ago and have made these for lunch the past two days in a row. They are really easy after some practice and they taste SO refreshing and delicious! I have problems cooking and nothing ever turns out good so I was excited to try this recipe because no cooking is required. Thanks so much for your blog i’m excited to try more recipes on here they all look delicious!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re right, they’re so easy to make once you’ve made them a couple time. Definitely one of my favorite things to make, especially in the summer, when you don’t want to cook and want to eat light and fresh meals. Thanks for the kind word – please let me know what else you try on the site :)

      Reply
  15. Liss says:

    Unbelievably delicious, I want to make them every day! Thank you for sharing :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I made them for a week-straight this past summer! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  16. Louise Thompson says:

    Although it is minus 6 in Ottawa today you would think I would have a warm soup for lunch; however, I felt like having something light that would remind me the warm days of summer and your spring rolls recipe came to mind. Lazy me normally uses the store bought sauce but today I made your dip. What a delight!

    Reply
  17. Elona says:

    I just tried this recipe, thank you! The sauce was delicious – I used raw cashew butter. My question is – how to make the rice paper so it is not as chewy? I kept it in the hot water for about 30 seconds but it is hard to chew it and swallow. What am I missing?

    Reply
    • Glad you liked it! Just try soaking them longer. And using hotter water. They should be soft, not chewy :)

      Reply
  18. Lis says:

    Holy wow! These are amazing! I served these at my wedding but never for a chance to really enjoy them for all the busyness of the day. Now I get why everyone raved about them. These have an amazing flavour. I stored my noodles into the sauce and they worked really well. A new favourite :)

    Reply
    • Lis says:

      Oops forgot add the rating!

      Reply
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