Maybe you have been at a Vietnamese restaurant and been lucky enough to enjoy fresh spring rolls. Their colour and texture are always so inviting and delicious. But what exactly are fresh spring rolls?
What Are Spring Rolls?
Spring rolls are an incredibly popular dish enjoyed all over the world. Spring rolls can be eaten fresh or fried and that’s what differentiates the dish from different countries. Fresh spring rolls originate from Vietnamese cuisine and are made with rice paper wrappers and do not require cooking. This delicious main or side dish contains fresh colourful vegetables and consuming these rolls is an incredibly easy way to consume two or more servings of your required daily vegetable intake!
Tips for Making Spring Rolls
While making fresh spring rolls may seem intimidating like anything else in life, practice makes perfect! The best way to successfully make this yummy dish is beginning with a good assembly line and a few helpful tips.
For starters try using a plastic cutting board over a wooden one as your flat surface to avoid it sticking to the board.
Ensure all your veggies and fillings are prepped and cut out julienne style (cut into thin strips).
Grab a bowl or plate wide and deep enough to easily dip your rice paper into, and fill it with warm water and have that ready.
Finally, make sure you have enough room and a flat surface to roll.
Begin by submerging the sheet of rice paper into the water until it looks transparent while still stiff, over soaking them will make them too difficult to work with; and lay it onto your flat surface.
Place your nice julienne veggies in the center but, avoid overstuffing and fold the paper around the veggies away from you.
Then tuck in the sides and continue to roll until you have a delicious, colourful nutritious spring roll!
What About The Fillings?
The best part of this recipe is it is completely customizable and versatile and most filling combinations are super nutritious!
You can put any vegetables your heart desires, the most popular veggies to use are carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, lettuce but the options are endless. Bell peppers, cabbage, radish, green onions and avocados are all great additions as well, choose veggies that are fresh and have a nice crunch.
For some plant-based protein try adding in some tofu or tempeh, both great nutritious protein sources that would complement the dish.
What Types of Sauces Work?
Another way to customize your fresh spring rolls is with the dipping sauce. Again, the options are limitless!
A popular classic is peanut sauce, this sauce usually contains peanut butter, some coconut milk or aminos, water to thin it out and occasionally brown sugar or vinegar.
For a sweet and spicy sauce you can chop up some chillies with garlic, rice vinegar, sugar, low-sodium soy sauce and a thickening agent like cornstarch.
Another simple sauce includes ketchup, mayo, cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder and water to thin it out. If you are looking to spice up with spring rolls try mixing hot sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and fresh garlic.
Ready To Make Them At Home?
Start with my fresh spring roll recipe below.
Fresh Spring Rolls
- 12 Rice paper wraps
- 6 Leaves of leaf lettuce cut in half
- 3/4 cup Cucumber, julienned
- 3/4 cup Bell Pepper, julienned
- 1/2 cup Carrot, julienned
- 1 Mango (small), julienned
- 1 cup Tofu (extra firm), cubed
- 1/8 cup Peanut Butter
- 1 TBSP Coconut Aminos
- 1/2 TBSP Sesame Oil
- 1 TBSP Water
- Prepare all veggies and lay out on cutting board.
- Fill a shallow pan like a baking sheet with an inch of warm water. Use the kettle to bring water to boil. Fold a lint-free tea towel in half and place it next to the dish. Place one rice paper in the water and let it rest for about 20 seconds. Wait until the rice paper is soft but not translucent. Lay it on a cutting board.
- Fill each rice paper with veggies starting with the lettuce, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, mango and tofu. Fold the edge of the rice paper over the fillings, rolling upward just until the filling is compactly enclosed. Fold over the short edges and roll up.
- Repeat until all rice paper and veggies are used.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut aminos, and sesame oil. Whisk in water (add more if needed) to make a super creamy sauce. Serve the spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side.
This article was written by Deanna Najar, Nutrition Student Volunteer.
This article was reviewed by Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN.