These vegan Vietnamese-inspired spring rolls are filled with tender rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, and tofu. Fresh, healthy, and super simple to make! These spring rolls are delicious served with a hoisin peanut sauce!
📘 What are Spring Rolls
Spring rolls, called “Gỏi Cuốn” in Vietnamese, are rice paper rolls filled with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a variety of other ingredients. It is a very popular dish in Viet Nam that can be found everywhere, from restaurants to street food vendors.
This recipe is adapted from the vegetarian versions that can be found there. As opposed to the Westernized version of spring rolls, the Vietnamese ones usually do not contain a ton of raw veggies like cabbage, bell peppers, etc.
🥣 How to Make Vegan Spring Rolls
This recipe requires basic ingredients that can be found almost everywhere. Here is what you will need:
- Carrots – They make the base and bring a natural sweetness.
- Black mushrooms – Also called wood ear mushrooms, these are sold dried and must first be rehydrated. They add some chewiness and an earthy flavor to the rolls. I recommend using minced wood ear mushrooms for this recipe.
- Tofu – Preferably medium or firm tofu. We will fry it until golden brown for extra flavor and to prevent it from crumbling.
- Rice noodles – Use thin rice noodles, also known as bún in Vietnamese.
- Salt, sugar, and ground black pepper – For the perfect balance of flavor!
- Rice paper – I used 8.5-inch sheets here, but feel free to use the size you have on hand.
- Lettuce – For some crunch and to make the rolls lighter.
- Fresh herbs – Thai basil and cilantro. If you don’t have Thai basil, you can use regular basil. You can also throw in a few leaves of perilla for more flavor!
Preparing the Filling
It starts with the tofu that is pan-fried until golden brown. Frying the tofu will give it a chewier texture and create a thin skin around it, preventing it from crumbling.
Next, sauté chopped green onions until fragrant. Add the grated carrots, minced mushrooms, and sliced fried tofu.
Season with salt, sugar, and black pepper, and cook for 5-7 minutes or until carrots are tender but still slightly crunchy. Let the filling cool for a few minutes.
In the meantime, cook the rice noodles and drain them.
Time to assemble! To do that, dip a sheet of rice paper in water for a few seconds to soften and lay it on a working surface.
Add lettuce leaves, Thai basil, and some cilantro for plenty of freshness! Then, add some cooked rice noodles and a handful of carrots and tofu filling.
Fold the bottom edge over the filling, followed by the sides, before rolling it up tightly. Try not to overfill the rolls. While it might look very loaded in the photo above, it’s actually the lettuce that is voluminous.
Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling, and serve with the dipping sauce!
🌶 How to Serve Spring Rolls
These spring rolls are meant to be served with a sauce. It’s mandatory!
The peanut sauce brings a ton of flavor. It’s nutty, sweet, and salty! You can check out this recipe to learn how to make Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce.
- Try to roll the spring rolls as tight as possible. A tight roll will keep its shape and won’t crumble when your dip it into the sauce. Please do not make loose rolls!
- Do not let the rice paper soak for too long in water. Usually, a quick dip is enough, then after 20-30 seconds, it will soften and will become easy to roll.
- Adjust the filling to your taste. If you want your rolls with more veggies, simply add fewer rice noodles. I personally like them with about half noodles and half veggies.
- Arrange the spring rolls on a plate, but make sure they don’t touch. Otherwise, they will stick to each other.
While there is not one authentic recipe, it is based on Vietnamese recipes and inspired by the spring rolls I tried there.
Spring rolls taste best when served within the first 3-4 hours but will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Store them on a plate covered with plastic film to prevent them from drying.
If you are looking for a fresh, healthy, and flavorful meal, you are going to love these vegan spring rolls! Plus, it’s plant-based, quick, and pretty easy to make.
What I love about these spring rolls is that they leave you full without filling heavy!
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the blocks of tofu and pan-fry on both sides for 5-8 minutes per side or until golden brown. Alternatively, you can also deep-fry or air-fry the tofu.
- Transfer the tofu to a plate lined with kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil and let it cool for a few minutes. Slice it into thin strips.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in the same non-stick skillet. Once hot, add the chopped green onions and sauté for 1 minute. Next, add the grated carrot, minced wood ear mushrooms, and tofu strips.
- Season with salt, sugar, black pepper, and mushroom seasoning if using. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly until carrots are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse a few times under cold water and drain.
- Quickly dip a sheet of rice paper in room temperature water. Place the sheet on a working surface. To the 1/3 bottom of the sheet, add one folded leaf of lettuce, a few leaves of Thai basil and cilantro, cucumber, and a handful of the carrot/tofu filling. Fold the bottom edge of the rice paper over the filling, followed by the sides. Roll it up very tightly, but be careful not to break it.
- Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling, and serve with the peanut dipping sauce!
- Spring rolls are best served immediately but can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
About the Author
Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.
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