Summer rolls (or spring rolls as they’re sometimes known) are a favorite at our house! They’re something like the Vietnamese version of a sandwich. Pair them with a dipping sauce, and you have the perfect healthy, vibrant lunch or dinner.
Summer rolls pretty much sum up Vietnamese cooking – they’re full of fresh flavors, crunchy textures and an explosion of tangy, spicy and sweet flavors. And, best of all – this delicious summer roll recipe is vegan and gluten free !
Make a batch for your next party or get-together. They look surprisingly complicated and fancy, but are actually easy to DIY.
Ingredients For Summer Rolls:
- Tofu: Use an extra firm variety of tofu to ensure that your tofu fingers come out nice and crispy.
- Cornflour: For dredging the tofu in – cornflour is naturally gluten free, and is finer than flour.
- Oil: I used canola oil, but coconut oil is fine to use here too.
- Vermicelli Noodles: Choose the extra thin kind of rice noodles, not the thicker variety you find in Pad Thai. Look for noodles like these.
- Lime juice and Coconut sugar: This combination gives the noodles a bit of a tangy bite.
- Carrots: Cut your carrots using either a knife, julienne tool or a mandolin. I have a julienne tool, and it’s perfect for jobs like this. This is the tool that I use.
- Cucumbers: Aim for about a cup and half of julienned cucumber.
- Red Pepper: You’ll need to cut your red pepper using a knife. Cut into thin strips.
- Cabbage: Shred your cabbage. I just chop mine up using a sharp kitchen knife.
- Gem lettuce: Remove the hard spines, and use the soft part.
- Herbs: Mint and Coriander are my top choices!
- Rice Paper Wraps: Rice paper wraps come in a variety of sizes. I think it’s easier to use the largest size you can fine. I use wraps that are 22 cm in diameter. Look for wraps like these.
How to Make Summer Rolls:
Summer rolls (or spring rolls) are easier to make than they look. There’s a few prepping step and assembling the rolls takes a bit of practice, but I’ll give you some tips that will hopefully ensure success.
Begin by cutting your tofu into finger sized pieces. Now heat the oil in a heavy bottom fry pan; I find that my cast-iron pan gives the best results for making crispy tofu. Next, fill a shallow bowl with cornflour and dredge the tofu fingers in it, shaking off any excess; once the tofu fingers are coated in flour, put them in the pan with the hot oil and fry until they’re crispy and golden, turning at regular intervals. Lastly, Remove them from the pan with tongs and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Next, let’s cook the vermicelli. Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the noodles and boil the noodles for 2-3 minutes. When they’re finished cooking, drain and rinse them in cold water. Now put the noodles in a bowl and combine the lime juice with coconut sugar in a small glass or bowl. Drizzle this sauce over the noodles, gently tossing the noodles to ensure that they’re coated in the lime juice and coconut sugar.
Cut the vegetables into thin matchstick-sized pieces. I use a julienne tool for cutting the carrots and cucumber (see above for a link to the tool that I use.) Using a sharp knife, cut the red pepper and cabbage into thin pieces.
Have all the filling ingredients lined up and ready to go. Fill a shallow baking tray with warm water and dip each rice paper into the water for about 10 seconds. Don’t leave the rice paper in the water for too long or it will get too mushy to roll. Lay the rice paper out on a plate or chopping board and layer your fillings in the center, leaving 1/4-1/2 inch on the horizontal sides free of filling. Fold the sides in, pull the bottom flap up, and holding the filling in place with your fingers, roll it up tightly. Set your rolls aside, and let’s mix up our two sauces – a Vietnamese dipping sauce and a peanut sauce.
Make the Dipping Sauces:
This is as simple as combining the ingredients for each sauce in its own bowl. You can thin the peanut sauce by adding as much water as you like. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time so that you don’t make your sauce too runny.
If you love spring rolls you might like:
Easy Summer Rolls (Rainbow Rolls)
For The Summer Rolls
- 1 block (250-300 grams) tofu extra firm
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
- 100 grams rice vemicelli noodles
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 carrots (medium sized) julienned or sliced into matchstick- sized pieces
- 1 red pepper julienned or sliced into matchstick-sized pieces
- 1 cup (70 grams) purple cabbage thinly sliced or shredded
- 1 large cucumber julienned or sliced into matchstick- sized pieces
- 2 cups lettuce (I used Romaine, remove the spine)
- 1 cup chopped herbs
For The Dipping Sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 2 tbsp soy or tamari sauce
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
For The Peanut Sauce
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
- 1½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1½ tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 tsp ginger grated
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water or enough
To Make The Spring Rolls:
- Put the cornflour in a shallow bowl. Cut the tofu into fingers and dredge in the cornflour.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottom fry pan (cast iron is best), and fry the tofu until it's golden and crispy, turning at regular intervals. Set the tofu aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- Cut the carrots, cucumbers, red peppers into matchstick-sized pieces. Shred the cabbage and chop the herbs.
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, heat enough water to cover the noodles. Cook the noodles for 2-3 minutes, stirring to separate. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water. Put the noodles in a bowl.
- Mix the lime juice and coconut sugar in a small bowl. Pour it over the noodles and set aside.
- To assemble the spring rolls, dip the rice paper wraps in a bowl of warm water for about 10 seconds. Lay the rice paper on a cutting board or plate and pile your ingredients in the middle, leaving about ¼-½ inch free. Fold the sides in, pull the bottom flap up, and holding the filling in place with your fingers, roll it up tightly.
To Make The Sauces:
- To make the Vietnamese dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
- To make the peanut sauce, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Thin to the desired consistency with water 1 tbsp at a time.