Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Vegan Style!) with Peanut Dipping Sauce + Step-by-Step Guide on How to Roll Rice Papers

I absolutely love this time of year, with the trees full of blossom and the wisteria out in flower. Not only does it look stunning, but it smells glorious too! Here in Bath, the weather is finally starting to warm up and we’ve actually managed a few meals in the garden this past week. Our dinners have definitely shifted to lighter dishes, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of our favourites over the coming weeks.

The rolls are a vegan twist on the classic Vietnamese spring roll. Instead of meat or prawns, the rolls are filled with a rainbow of fresh veggies, making them both visually beautiful and delicious.

My family loves Vietnamese spring rolls! We typically eat them as a light evening meal, enjoyed out in the garden, but they’re also great for buffets and picnics. We like to add strips of smoked or marinated tofu into the rolls for protein. When accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce, they’re surprisingly filling!

Have you ever tried making rice paper rolls before? I find that they fall into the category of ‘easy when you know how’. The first time I tried to make them, I got myself in a real tangle with the rice paper. I soaked it for too long then it folded in on itself and was beyond saving.

I was determined not to be defeated by a rice paper though, so I did some research and discovered that with a couple of easy steps, rolling is a cinch. I found this 37 second YouTube tutorial especially helpful.

I’ve rolled countless rolls now, and my only failure was that initial one. My rolls aren’t very neat (neatness isn’t a forte of mine!) but the rolls work. They taste good. And most importantly, Lil’ L loves them. I’ll keep working on the neatness.

Learning from my past mistakes, I thought I’d put together a step-by-step guide on how to successfully roll rice papers. Even if it helps one person out, I’ll be more than delighted.

So firstly, we need some rice papers…

You’ll find them widely available in oriental supermarkets. I buy Vietnamese Banh Trang from Hai Na Oriental Supermarket in Union Street in Bath. You get about 45 papers (22cm / 8½ inches in diameter) in a pack for £1.89, which is great value. Waitrose and Ocado also sell Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers.

It’s important to prep all the ingredients before you start rolling (known as ‘mise-en-place’ if you happen to be French… or a chef!) I typically use a large carrot, small courgette (zucchini), sweet pointed romano pepper, some red cabbage and a romaine lettuce. For a protein kick, I add in strips of organic smoked or marinated tofu (I’m currently loving the Taifun brand).

Once everything is ready, prepare a bowl of warm water. It doesn’t matter what kind of container you use, as long as it’s big enough to fit your rice paper.

Want to know something funny? To take the shot below I ended up pressing the shutter with my nose!! How ridiculous is that? You only dip for a second so no time to set up the timer!

Anyway, back to the guide… Take a rice paper in both hands and dip half of it in the water. Quickly keep turning the paper in the water (like you’re turning a steering wheel) until the whole paper is wet. Shake off the excess water and lay the paper on a plastic chopping board or smooth work top (not wood as it sticks!) The paper is still quite firm when I remove it from the water but it continues to soften up as it absorbs the moisture. (I find that if you dip it for too long, it goes gloopy and impossible to control).

Arrange your veggies on one half of the rice paper, leaving a border either side. You want to make sure that there are no sharp edges poking out as the rice papers are delicate and easily tear.

Squash the filling together then start rolling. Gently pull the rice paper up and over the vegetables, tuck in the edges as you roll. Try to keep it as tight as you can (like you’re rolling a burrito). Here comes another nose shutter shot!

One thing that surprised me when I first made Vietnamese rolls is that they are sticky! I never saw this mentioned in recipes, so I googled it and, yes, they are meant to be sticky. Some people recommend wrapping each roll in cling film (plastic wrap) to stop them sticking together but I didn’t like the idea of the plastic waste (plus Mark was worried that he’d accidentally eat the cling film) so I found a way to get round the stickiness… roll them in toasted sesame seeds!

Not only do the rolls feel much nicer to hold when they’re covered in seeds, but the sesame coating actually boosts their nutritional profile too. Sesame seeds are nutritional powerhouses.

Once rolled and seeded, place the roll on a plate and repeat the process. I make eight rolls for four people, but if your rice papers are smaller than mine, you may want to roll more.

Just before serving, I cut the rolls in half. I give everyone their own little dipping bowl for the peanut sauce (so they can double dip to their heart’s content), then it’s time to tuck in!

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If you make these Vietnamese Spring Rolls (or any other recipes on my blog), I’d love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for adaptations! Tag your photos with #bitofthegoodstuff on social media and they’ll find their way to me. You can also connect with me on my social media channels here: InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest.   

Happy rolling!

With love,

13 thoughts on “Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Vegan Style!) with Peanut Dipping Sauce + Step-by-Step Guide on How to Roll Rice Papers

  1. What a great idea to roll your summer rolls in sesame seeds. That’s a genius way to avoid having them stick together, and they look so pretty!

  2. Thanks for such detailed instructions – they look delicious. And great idea about the seeds. All the color of the veg looks lovely.

    1. Thanks Lyn! These summer rolls are perfect for the hot weather we’re having right now. It’s so lovely to see the blue skies and sun shining. Let’s hope it lasts! x

  3. Summer rolls are one of my favourite foods EVER and these look gorgeous! They are definitely a little tricky at first…your guide is so helpful! Also…I’ve never seen anyone coat them in sesame seeds before- I think that’s brilliant!! I imagine it would be cool to do a mix of white and black sesame…but then again, they already look too pretty to eat 😉

    1. I LOVE the idea of black sesame seeds! It’ll make the summer rolls look so eye catching. Will definitely pick some up next time I’m at the oriental supermarket 🙂 x

    1. Yes, you’ll definitely have to give rice papers a go! Summer rolls are perfect for supper in this mini heat wave we’re having. Long may it continue! 🙂

  4. I looked at this the other day on my phone – this recipe will be invaluable to me. I haven’t ever bought rice paper wraps before and didn’t know you had to dip them in water first. What a great tutorial! BTW I’ve been able to buy the magazine in Sainsbury’s recently – they must be stocking more copies.

    1. So pleased to hear you’ve been able to buy Vegan Life in Sainsbury’s! For me, the magazine just keeps getting better and better. I especially love the interviews. I find them really inspiring x

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