Vietnamese Style Vegetarian Spring Rolls Recipe

Vietnamese Style Vegetarian Spring Rolls are fresh, light, healthy and crunchy rice paper spring rolls filled with vegetables and herbs; normally served with a peanut dipping sauce or any spicy red sauce.  These make pretty appetizers or party starters and sometimes can even become a light meal for a hot summery day!

The first time I came across these strange looking white translucent rolls was in a Vietnamese restaurant. I have eaten at Thai, Japanese and Chinese restaurants often, but this was my first meal at a Vietnamese place.

While trying to order some appetizer, I came across a picture of delicate white rolls with a myriad of colors peeking out through the transparent cover; I had to try it. Once they were served at our table with a dipping sauce, I could not wait to bite into it.

The crunch of fresh vegetables with a riot of textures in every bite made me a fan of these pretty rolls. Since then, I had been waiting to make these at home, but could not get the rice paper rolls in the local grocery store, until last week.

There is not much cooking involved in making these healthy and fresh rolls. Just julienne or cut your choice of vegetables into thin strips (I used carrots, cucumber and bell peppers). Chop fresh herbs like cilantro and mint leaves or leave them whole.

If you want to add some protein, you can add tofu or paneer strips (non vegetarians can use cooked seafood or chicken). As these taste bland by themselves, I stir fried them with some soy sauce and chilli flakes. This step is totally optional.

Most rice paper rolls have some cooked rice vermicelli in them. I preferred not to use it in my vegetable rolls.  The soft texture of the soaked rice paper rolls was enough to balance the crunch of the vegetables.

Now, an amazing and refreshing vegetable roll like this needed something spicy to dip into for the Indian in me!! Peanut butter is one of my favorite condiments; my pantry is always stocked with a jar of creamy or crunchy peanut butter and Vietnamese cuisine uses a lot of peanuts and peanut sauce in their dishes. So, it goes without saying that I had to make a spicy peanut sauce for dipping these scrumptious healthy rolls.

Just mix peanut butter with soy sauce and chilli sauce or Sriracha sauce with a squeeze of lime juice. If you like the flavor of raw garlic, you can stir in a little grated fresh garlic. Add water to get the consistency you want and a perfect dipping sauce is ready. I loved the way it complimented the fresh flavors of the rolls.  For ketchup lovers, you can use bottled red chilli sauce as a dipping sauce too.

The tricky part in making these healthy rolls is working with the soaked rice paper rolls. Some varieties tear easily, so you have to work gently with them. Do not over soak; you just need a soft and pliable sheet to fill and fold. Just follow the instructions on the package and you will be fine. Even if some tear, once you fold them into rolls, you will hardly notice this. Initially, you may not get perfect rolls, but with practice, you will get better at it.

Once the rolls are ready, cover them with plastic wrap or wet towel to keep them moist. Place them apart from each other so that they do not stick to each other. If not serving immediately, refrigerate them until serving time.

Do try these light, healthy, refreshing and crunchy Vietnamese style vegetarian rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce as an appetizer/party starter, finger food or serve it for a light lunch or dinner.

Here is how I made them.

Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Serves 2
Fresh and healthy Vietnamese rice paper summer rolls filled with crunchy vegetables and served with a spicy peanut sauce; perfect for a light lunch/dinner or as any party starter or appetizer.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
1035 calories
161 g
0 g
31 g
30 g
5 g
536 g
655 g
11 g
0 g
25 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
536g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1035
Calories from Fat 265
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g
48%
Saturated Fat 5g
27%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 655mg
27%
Total Carbohydrates 161g
54%
Dietary Fiber 7g
28%
Sugars 11g
Protein 30g
Vitamin A
201%
Vitamin C
83%
Calcium
31%
Iron
38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 6 to 8 rice paper sheets
  2. 1 small bunch coriander leaves/cilantro
  3. 1 small bunch mint leaves
  4. 1 cucumber
  5. 1 to 2 carrots
  6. ½ red bell pepper/capsicum
  7. Salt and pepper powder (optional)
For the tofu/paneer filling
  1. ½ cup tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cut into long thick strips
  2. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  3. ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
  4. Salt to taste (optional as soy sauce has some salt)
  5. 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil
  6. Red chilli sauce or ketchup for dipping
For peanut dipping sauce
  1. ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons chilli garlic sauce or Sriracha sauce
  4. ½ teaspoon fresh lemon/lime juice
  5. Crushed salted peanuts
  6. Few chilli flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and clean cilantro and mint leaves well. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems.
  2. Roughly chop cilantro.
  3. Peel and cut carrots into fine juliennes or matchsticks.
  4. Cut cucumbers into matchsticks (I did not peel them as the green color of the skin adds to the texture and color of the rolls).
  5. Cut red bell pepper into thin long strips.
  6. If you like, you can sprinkle salt and pepper on the carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers and mix gently; I avoided them as I love the freshness and taste of these raw vegetables.
Now, to prepare the tofu/paneer stuffing
  1. Mix tofu/paneer strips with soy sauce, chilli flakes and salt to taste (if adding). Marinate for about 10 to 15 mintues.
  2. In a small nonstick saucepan, heat 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil.
  3. Add marinated tofu/paneer. Stir fry on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Take care not to break the tofu/paneer strips. Remove from heat and let cool.
To make the peanut dipping sauce
  1. In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli sauce/sriracha sauce along with the lemon/lime juice.
  2. Adjust the chilli sauce and lime juice to suit your taste.
  3. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm water until you get the desired consistency of dipping. Keep aside.
  4. Garnish with crushed peanuts.
To assemble the rolls
  1. Work with one rice paper at a time.
  2. Soften the rice paper sheet according to the instructions on the packet.(The rice paper I used just needed to be dipped in water for about 20 to 25 seconds, and then placed on a towel to drain excess water). You want them soft but still firm and pliable.
  3. Place the wet sheet on a flat plate or cutting board.
  4. Gently place few strips of carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, a small tablespoon of cilantro and some mint leaves in the center of the wet rice paper sheet.
  5. If you are adding tofu or paneer, you can place a few strips now.
  6. Do not over fill; it will be difficult to make rolls.
  7. Now, the bring sides over to the center over the filling.
  8. Next, starting from the bottom, bring up the rice paper sheet and start rolling.
  9. Roll up the filled rice paper to form a cylindrical roll; like a burrito. Seal the edges; it will stick as it is moist. You want a fairly tight roll. Don’t worry if they do not look perfect; as you practice, the rolls will start looking better!
  10. Continue doing the same with rest of the rice paper sheets. (While you are working with each roll, cover the prepared rolls with a wet cloth or towel).
  11. Serve fresh Vietnamese summer rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce or any hot chilli sauce you have.
Notes
  1. You can make the dipping sauce ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to serve.
  2. Adjust the amount of stuffing according to your taste.
  3. You can make these ahead of time, but make sure to cover them with a wet cloth or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
  4. Have fun using different vegetables for a variety of textures and colors.
beta
calories
1035
fat
31g
protein
30g
carbs
161g
more
Curry and Vanilla http://www.curryandvanilla.com/

How to make Vietnamese Style Vegetarian Spring Rolls:

Prepare the vegetable filling:

  • Wash and clean cilantro and mint leaves well. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems.
  • Roughly chop cilantro.
  • Peel and cut carrots into fine juliennes or matchsticks.
  • Cut cucumbers into matchsticks (I did not peel them as the green color of the skin adds to the texture and color of the rolls).
  • Cut red bell pepper into thin long strips.
  • If you like, you can sprinkle salt and pepper on the carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers and mix gently; I avoided them as I love the freshness and taste of these raw vegetables.

Now, to prepare the tofu/paneer stuffing:

Mix tofu/paneer strips with soy sauce, chilli flakes and salt to taste(if adding). Marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • In a small nonstick saucepan, heat 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil.
  • Add marinated tofu/paneer. Stir fry on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Take care not to break the tofu/paneer strips. Remove from heat and let cool.

To make the peanut dipping sauce:

  • In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli sauce/sriracha sauce along with the lemon/lime juice.
  • Adjust the chilli sauce and lime juice to suit your taste.
  • Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm water until you get the desired consistency of dipping.
  • Garnish with crushed peanuts. Keep aside.

To assemble the rolls:

  • Work with one rice paper at a time.
  • Soften the rice paper sheet according to the instructions on the packet.(The rice paper I used just needed to be dipped in water for about 20 to 25 seconds, and then placed on a towel to drain excess water). You want them soft but still firm and pliable.
  •  Place the wet sheet on a flat plate or cutting board.
  • Gently place few strips of carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, a small tablespoon of cilantro and some mint leaves in the center of the wet rice paper sheet.
  • If you are adding tofu or paneer, you can place a few strips now.
  • Do not over fill; it will be difficult to make rolls.

  • Now, the bring sides over to the center over the filling.

  • Next, starting from the bottom, bring up and start rolling.

  • Roll up the filled rice paper to form a cylindrical roll; like a burrito. Seal the edges; it will stick as it is moist. You want a fairly tight roll. Don’t worry if they do not look perfect; as you practice, you rolls will start looking better!

  • Continue doing the same with rest of the rice paper sheets. (While you are working with each roll, cover the prepared rolls with a wet cloth or towel).
  • Serve fresh Vietnamese summer rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce or any hot chilli sauce you have.

  • Enjoy!!!

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For more Asian recipes, try: Mushroom Fried Rice, Vegetable Manchow Soup, Schezwan Hakka Noodles etc.

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