Spring Rolls | A Vegetarian Vietnamese Food Treat

Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe image
Courtesy/Renato Ganoza
Spring Rolls or Summer Rolls? That is the question.

There's a lot of discussion on the web about the difference between spring rolls and summer rolls, and the general consensus seems to be that spring are fried and summer are not. Nonetheless, the developer (Ted Lee) of this recipe calls his yummy non-fried version a Spring Roll.

Spring rolls have been around a long time, even as long as a thousand years. If you're a history buff like me, you'll want to check out Pacific West's article Oriental Origins of the Spring Roll. It's a great read.

Let's get rolling!

Makes 12 large or 24 small rolls, serving 6 to 12

Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Vegetarian)


  • 2 ounces cellophane noodles
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, blanched briefly
  • 2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 5 scallions quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped mint
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 limes 
  • 12 large or 24 small round Vietnamese rice papers
  • 24 butter or Boston lettuce leaves
  • Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe included below)

  1. Soak the noodles in hot water to cover until soft and pliable, about 30 minutes. Snip them into 2-inch lengths and drain. Make the sauce and set it aside.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot right down to the core, making long, thin strips. Combine them with the noodles, bean sprouts, cabbage, scallions, herbs, and sugar. Smash the garlic in a mortar or food processor with a pinch of salt and chiles to make a paste, then stir in the lime juice. Toss with the vegetables.
  3. Fill a bowl with warm water and spread a clean towel on the counter. Working with one paper at a time, slip it into the water and soak until soft and pliable, about 10 seconds, then remove and set on the towel.
  4. Mound some of the vegetable mixture at one end of the rice paper, roll it over once, fold over the sides, and roll to the end, making a neat little package. When all are done, slice the large rolls in half and stand them, cut side up, on a plate lined with lettuce leaves. Leave small rolls whole.
  5. Use lettuce as an additional wrapper to keep all the ingredients neatly contained. 
  6. If the spring rolls aren't to be served immediately, cover them with a barely damp towel and refrigerate. Serve with the sauce.

For The Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Combine all the ingredients and let stand 10 minutes before using.
Have a favorite Vietnamese recipe? Feel free to suggest a recipe in comments.