Vietnamese vegetarian summer rolls with avocado, tofu & fresh rainbow veggies. Serve them with 3 dipping sauces – peanut sauce, hoisin & Vietnamese dipping sauce!
These Vietnamese vegetarian summer rolls are filled with an assortment of rainbow colored vegetables, creamy avocado, and protein rich tofu!
They can go by various names – summer rolls, fresh spring rolls, rainbow rolls, or rice paper rolls.
But whatever you call them, they’re great for the summer and make a healthy, crunchy meal with three different dipping sauces that are full of Vietnamese flavors!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s a healthy, gluten free meal with tons of vibrant, colorful veggies and tofu. A perfect summer time meal! (Note: the sauces will need adjustments to be gluten free)
- Make it low carb friendly by leaving out the vermicelli rice noodles.
- You can make this ahead of time – see the FAQ for how to store them.
- It’s versatile – swap out the vegetables and protein for what you have on hand.
3 Dipping Sauces
You’ll love these three delicious spring roll dipping sauces to go along with these fresh spring rolls. They offer different flavor profiles and spice so that you’ll have something everyone can enjoy.
- Peanut dipping sauce – creamy, rich, and nutty
- Hoisin dipping sauce – sweet and savory
- Vietnamese dipping sauce – tangy, citrusy, sweet
Ingredients you’ll need
- Protein – fried tofu; substitute with any protein of your choice
- Crunchy vegetables – red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, red cabbage
- Base – spring mix or shredded lettuce
- Fresh herbs – cilantro, basil, mint
- Wrapper – rice paper, 22cm
- Extras – avocado, thin vermicelli rice noodles, bean sprouts
Step by step instructions
- Cut the firm tofu into 1/2 inch pieces and pan fry them until they’re golden brown. Cut them into strips. (Photos 1 and 2)
- Dip the rice paper wrapper into water for 2 seconds and place it on a flat surface. Dip it too long and the wrapper will easily tear and be too sticky. It should be stiff at first but it will soften up in seconds. (Photo 3)
- Starting with the side closest to you, add the spring mix, shredded red cabbage, and the rest of the vegetables on the wrapper. Place the tofu, avocado, rice noodles, and herbs on top of the vegetables. (Photos 4, 5, 6).
- Alternatively, you can place the filling on top of each other into a pile. (Photo 7)
- Starting from the end closest to you, roll up the rice paper wrapper until all the filling is contained. (Photos 8 and 9)
- Fold in the left and right sides of the wrapper and roll it up completely. (Photo 10)
- Cut the rice paper roll crosswise into 2 inch pieces and lay them on a plate. Serve with peanut, hoisin, and nuoc cham sauces.
Make ahead instructions
You can make these up to 3 days ahead:
- Leave the summer rolls whole (don’t cut them into pieces).
- Wrap each individual roll in plastic wrap. This prevents the rice paper wrapper from drying out and getting hard. It also prevents them from sticking together.
- Place them in an airtight container and place a damp paper towel on top of the wrapped rice paper rolls. This helps keep the wrapper moist and soft. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Frequently asked questions
Summer rolls, called Goi Cuon in Vietnamese, are wrapped with fresh rice paper wrappers that are translucent and filled with fresh, raw vegetables. They are not fried and are served cold or room temperature.
Spring rolls, called Cha Gio in Vietnamese, are wrapped with a wheat flour wrapper and usually filled with glass noodles, cabbage, and ground meat. They are then deep fried and served hot.
You can cut them into cross sections that are about 2 inches long for easier dipping and eating. Otherwise, you can serve them whole with sauces on the side.
A fun way to serve them is deconstructed where guests can assemble and roll their own.
Wrap each individual summer roll in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container with a damp sheet of paper towel on top. Store it in the fridge.
Wrapping them in plastic wrap prevents the rice paper wrapper from drying out and getting hard. It also prevents them from sticking together. They will last for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. You can definitely make this ahead!
More vegetarian recipes:
- Asian Sesame Broccoli Salad
- PF Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- Stir Fried Garlic Scapes
- Thai Basil Tofu Stir Fry
Vegetarian Summer Rolls with 3 Dipping Sauces
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ large red bell pepper – julienned
- ½ large yellow bell pepper – julienned
- 6 cocktail cucumbers – julienned
- 16 oz firm tofu – cut into ½ inch strips
- 3 – 4 cups spring mix or shredded lettuce
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 avocado – cut into ½ inch strips
- 4 oz dried vermicelli rice noodles – cooked according to the directions
- 1 cup fresh herbs – cilantro, basil, mint (use any combination)
- rice paper wrappers – I used 10 inch wrappers (25 cm)
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce – Nuoc Cham
- ¼ cup vegan fish sauce – (See Note 1 for other vegan alternative); For non-vegetarians: substitute with regular fish sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice – freshly squeezed, about half a lime
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic – finely diced
- 1 small Thai chili pepper – finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon shredded carrot – for garnish
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce – (optional)
Hoisin Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons water
- 4 teaspoons lime juice – freshly squeezed
- 1 Tablespoon chopped peanuts – for garnish
Peanut Dipping Sauce
Make the dipping sauces (peanut, hoisin, Vietnamese nuoc cham):
- For each sauce, set aside the garnish and mix together all the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Add the garnish right before serving. Makes 3/4 cup peanut sauce; makes 3/4 cup hoisin sauce; makes 1 cup of Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham).
Pan fry the tofu
- Cut the block of tofu into 1/2 inch strips. Add a teaspoon of oil to a pan over medium high heat and fry the tofu strips until they are golden brown on both sides. About 4 – 5 minutes. Set this aside.
Make the summer rolls
- Add about a third inch of water to a large shallow dish to dip the rice paper wrappers in. Dip one sheet of rice paper wrapper in the water for two seconds and place it on a flat surface. (see Note 2)
- Starting with the side closest to you, add the mix greens/lettuce and shredded red cabbage on top of the rice paper wrapper, leaving an inch of wrapper on the edge to grab ahold of later. This will provide a barrier between the vegetable filling and the delicate rice paper wrappers.
- Next place the peppers, carrots, tofu, and avocado on top of the mixed greens. Finally add the vermicelli rice noodles and fresh herbs on top of everything. You should have a stack of the filling piled on top of each other.
- (Optional) For presentation: if you prefer to see the colorful vegetables through the wrapper, lay them flat on the rice paper wrapper in the center. As you're rolling it up, you should be able see the vegetables through the rice paper.
- Starting from the end closest to you, pick up the inch of wrapper left uncovered and roll it up a quarter of the way.
- Continue rolling until all the filling is rolled into the rice paper wrapper.
- Fold the left and right side of the wrapper towards the center and continue to roll it all the way up.
- Place the summer roll on a plate and let it sit for 1 minute or until the wrapper is no longer tacky. The surface should still feel soft and pliable but it should not feel sticky since the excess water should be absorbed by now.
- Cut each summer roll crosswise into about 2 inch pieces and arrange them on a plate. Serve with the peanut, hoisin, and Vietnamese dipping sauces.
- For vegetarians: Traditionally fish sauce is used but you can replace the amount with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of water. You will need to add sea salt to adjust for seasoning since fish sauce is salty and adding too much soy sauce can overwhelm the flavor.
- Rice paper wrappers are delicate and can easily tear if you leave it in water for too long. Too short of time and the wrapper will be too stiff to roll up. I found two seconds to be just the right amount of time. It should be stiff when you take it out of the water but it will soften very quickly – literally in seconds.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.