These fresh vegetarian spring rolls (aka summer rolls ) are our healthier and more nutritious version of the traditional Vietnamese and Thai favorite. They are a perfect blend of sweet and crunchy vegetables, fragrant fresh herbs, luscious avocado, protein rich baked tofu, and bright flavored dipping sauces.
These vegetable spring rolls are a great first course, easy and refreshing lunch or dinner, and travel well if you want to take them for a picnic! Pair these fresh vegetarian spring rolls with our Flavor Bomb Thai Peanut Sauce ( highly addictive! ) or Easiest 5 Minute Garlic Chili Sauce.
They are great for meal prep: if you get the vegetables and sauce ready in advance, you’ll be eating in minutes. We also love them for entertaining because it can be prepared long enough ahead so that it can be waiting for your guests when they arrive! ( Make sure to check out a SUPER helpful tip in Step 3. )
Video tutorial on making Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls:
Step by Step Instructions for Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Step 1: Preparing the Filling Ingredients for vegetable spring rolls.
We replaced the traditional rice noodle filling with a variety of fresh vegetables in our fresh vegetarian spring rolls. Although this was not intentionally low-carb, all your friends who are on low carb diet would love this!
The key to making these vegetable spring rolls easy is to have all of the filling ingredients ready to go before your start rolling your first roll. This recipe is a great place to start but you can really use just about anything you like.
Things to think about when making fresh vegetarian spring rolls are flavor, texture, and substance. The carrots and jicama are naturally sweet and crunchy but you could also use cucumbers or bean sprouts instead. The lettuce adds flavor and since it’s bulky and soft it helps fill the roll. Avocado adds richness and creaminess. The radish adds crunch and a bit of spice. Variations that are not vegetarian may include cooked chicken or shrimp.
Herbs like cilantro and basil are so flavorful and fragrant. You could add or substitute fresh mint, another popular herb in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
Step 2: Using Spring Roll Wrappers
There are many brands of wrappers for making fresh vegetarian spring rolls, such as these Three Ladies Spring Roll Rice Paper Wrappers on Amazon. The key when using them is to not let them get too wet or they will fall apart.
Fill a bowl large enough to submerge the rice paper with warm water. We prefer a wood cutting board for wrapping, but plastic works as well. Place the wrapper in the water just to submerge it and then remove. Let the excess water drip off and then place the wrapper on the board. Gently rub your hand over the surface to flatten and then you are ready to roll. As you stack the ingredients on the paper it will slowly absorb the water and soften.
Step 3: Filling and Rolling the fresh vegetable Spring Rolls
SECRET TIP: It’s best to keep wet ingredients such as avocado, on the inside. If those ingredients sit against the wrapper too long the wrapper can tend to break.
We find it easiest to place down the lettuce ( washed and let dry ) first. Start just below center, and be sure to leave about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of space on the sides for wrapping. Feel free to break and stack the pieces of lettuce as needed. Then add the shredded carrots and jicama, followed by two pieces of baked tofu along the top.
Next comes the avocado, followed by the herbs. For the radish, you’ll want to place them against the paper, just above where you’ve piled everything else, this is so when you roll the paper you will see them on the outside for a beautiful look.
Now it’s time to roll. At this point the paper should be soft and slightly stretchy. If you get really fast at making these, they may still feel a bit firm. Just wait a little longer and the paper will soften soon enough.
Starting with the edge of the rice paper closest to yourself pull slightly and wrap it around the filling while tucking the ingredients in. Next, fold in the left and right edge where the filling ends, and then go ahead and roll away from yourself until you’ve rolled the paper and filling all the way to form nice, compact fresh vegetarian spring rolls.
Time to eat! You can certainly make a bunch of them at once. They hold up well and don’t need to be served immediately ( See FAQ & Helpful Tips section below on this ). We love to dip these fresh vegetarian spring rolls in our Flavor Bomb Thai Peanut Sauce or Garlic Chili Sauce.
Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
How far ahead can I make these vegetable spring rolls?
These fresh vegetarian spring rolls are great for meal prep, but we prefer to get the vegetables and sauce ready in advance, and roll them right before eating. We’ve made them two to thee hours ahead and they held up great at room temperature.
It’s best to eat them the same day you make them, but don’t be afraid to put the leftovers in the fridge, just know they won’t be exactly the same the next day. Over time the moisture from the filling softens the wrapper so it starts to break. The wrapper also becomes a bit brittle and not as soft as when you eat them fresh.
What size rice paper is best for making fresh vegetarian spring rolls?
The most common size and the one that we used is 8 inches round. They come in larger sizes and you will also find square versions. We found the square version to work well but the size was a bit excessive, leaving too much wrapper relative to the filling. Of course, you could use the larger square ones and use more filling. We found the 8 inch round wrappers to be perfect.
Where can I buy the rice paper?
These are easy to find in any Asian market and even most mainstream supermarkets with an Asian food section will have them. You will probably have to buy a 12 ounce package which will contain about 25-30 wrappers. Three Ladies Brand Rice Paper Wrappers is a good choice that is available on Amazon.
How do I choose from all the different brands of rice paper for making spring rolls?
If you are shopping in an Asian market you will find many brands and each one may be made slightly differently. Some will include rice flour, water, and salt, Others will include those plus the addition of tapioca. You may also find some with tapioca only, and no rice flour. We have never used the ones with only tapioca but people say they are the most delicate and therefore the most difficult to work with.
We tried the ones made with rice only and the ones made with rice and tapioca to make our fresh vegetarian spring rolls. They performed very similarly. The ones with tapioca seemed a bit easier to work with as they felt sturdier and elastic once wet, but for the same reason we found them just a bit chewier to eat. We preferred the texture of the rice flour ones only, which were also easy to work with. Ultimately, we wouldn’t hesitate to use either.
How long can I store the extra spring roll wrappers?
As long as they are kept dry and stored in a sealed bag or container they should last almost indefinitely.
Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls Recipe
Easy 10 minute fresh vegetarian spring rolls: exploding with flavors and more nutritious than the traditional Vietnamese & Thai favorite. Two amazing dipping sauces: Authentic Peanut Sauce and Easiest Garlic Chili sauce, plus video tutorial and lots of great tips to make the best vegetable spring rolls ever!
- 8 pieces of Vietnamese rice paper wrappers also known as spring roll wrappers
- 8 leaves lettuce, washed and dried (romaine, leaf lettuce, and butter lettuce work well)
- 8 ounces baked tofu cut into 16 rectangles
- 1 ½ to 2 cups julienne or shredded carrot
- 1 ½ to 2 cups julienne or shredded jicama
- 2 small radishes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 avocado cut into 8 wedges
- 16-20 cilantro stems with leaves, washed and dry
- 8 large or 16 small basil leaves, washed and dry
- 1 cup of Thai peanut sauce and/or garlic chili sauce
The most important part of making these spring rolls is to have all of the ingredients listed ready to go. You will also want to have a smooth surface such as a cutting board to place the wrappers on when rolling. We found a wooden cutting board works best but plastic is fine as well.
Prepare a warm bowl of water deep enough and wide enough to submerge the spring roll wrapper.
Working with one wrapper at a time, submerge the piece of rice paper in the water just long enough to fully wet it on both sides. Remove from the water and let the excess water drain.
Place the wrapper on your work surface and gently rub your fingers across the top surface to be sure it is laying flat. It will slowly start to soften as you work.
As shown in the video, layer the vegetables starting with the lettuce just below the center line. Follow with a small handful of carrots, jicama ( or cucumber ), two pieces of tofu, an avocado wedge, a few sprigs of cilantro, basil. Placing the radishes just above the lettuce and against the paper will result in a beautiful presentation as you can see in the picture!
Starting at the edge closest to yourself, wrap the bottom edge around the filling, pulling very gently, so as not to tear, but to create a bit of tension. Then bring in the sides of the roll towards the center to close off the ends, and then finish by rolling the paper away from yourself until it is sealed. There’s no need to press hard, it will stick to itself.