In the United States, the term “spring rolls” can be a catch-all phrase for the cylindrical Asian-American foods. This means that a lot of different rolls with different wrappers, fillings, and preparation styles may all be called “spring rolls,” even though they can taste very different and have different histories and traditions.
Spring rolls of different shapes, sizes, and fillings have been a popular dish throughout Asia for centuries. It is believed that all rolls share a common ancestry in Chinese cuisine as a seasonal food consumed during the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year celebration, which is what gave rise to the name “spring rolls.” In Vietnamese they are called “Gỏi cuốn,” which means salad roll.
Prep time 15 mins | Cook time 0 mins | Total time 15 mins | Yield: 8 spring rolls
- 8 rice paper rounds
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 1/4 head of red cabbage
- 2 oz rice vermicelli noodles
- 1/4 cup (around 8 sprigs) fresh cilantro, mint, or basil
- 16 oz extra firm tofu
Peanut dipping sauce:
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 to 3 Tbsp water as needed
- Rinse the carrot, cucumber, red cabbage, and fresh herbs.
- Julienne the carrot and cucumber. Slice the red cabbage into strips. Chop the fresh herbs.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles just until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse them under cool water, and return them to the pot.
- Fill a shallow pan (a pie pan or 9″ round cake pan works great) with an inch of water.
- Wet the rice paper round.
- Place one rice paper in the water and let it rest for about 20 seconds, or until the sheet is pliable but not super flimsy. Carefully lay it flat on a large plate.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of noodles and a little of each vegetable about 1 inch from the bottom of the round. Add the tofu and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
- Fold the bottom edge over the filling; fold in both sides and roll up tightly, like a burrito.
To make the peanut sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, tamari, honey, sesame oil, and garlic.
- Whisk in 2-to-3 tablespoons water.
Serve the spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side. This recipe is a framework; substitute whatever vegetables, herbs, proteins and seasonings you have! Try red bell peppers, fresh mango, lettuce, or green onions.
We demonstrate how to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls in this Cooking Matters at Home virtual class video. Try it yourself and tell us about it in the comments!
Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) program hosts cooking and nutrition classes to support healthy and holistic living on a budget. The CFE team created this series of cooking videos to offer resources, tips, and tricks that you can practice at home. Visit our Food and Nutrition and Coronavirus Food Resources webpages for more food and nutrition info and resources.