These fresh vegan spring rolls with peanut sauce are the ultimate easy meal! Made with tempeh (or tofu), they're delicious and gluten free.
Please note, these Spring Rolls are inspired by traditional Vietnamese salad rolls, but they are not culturally authentic - I am no expert on Vietnamese cooking and this recipe is just my personal take on them. For a much more authentically Vietnamese recipe, may I suggest these Lemongrass Tofu Fresh Spring Rolls from The Viet Vegan (an incredible Vietnamese Canadian food blogger).
I love vegan spring rolls, or salad rolls (see my FAQ section to learn more about the difference), mainly because they're an (almost) effortless meal that requires minimal prep and cooking, and because they contain an abundance of fresh veggies and protein.
If you haven't yet tried making your own spring rolls, then I heartily recommend. Don't be put off by the fact that rice wrappers can be a little fiddly to start with (and scroll down for my Reel showing you how I wrap them). They're such a great way to enjoy a bunch of delicious fresh ingredients that you'll be a pro in no time!
Also, the beauty of fresh spring rolls is that they don't require any frying, and they lend themselves to so many fresh ingredients. My recipe is just a guide, but if you want to add rice noodles, cilantro, peanuts, avocado etc. - do it! You can't really go too wrong with ingredients here as long as you keep things fresh and light.
Spring Roll FAQs
1) What's the difference between spring rolls and salad rolls?
From my limited understanding, spring rolls are the general term for what is created when you roll ingredients inside a thin wrapper. Summer or salad rolls are a type of spring roll, usually associated with Vietnamese cuisine and fresh, not fried. They're often served with a peanut dipping sauce. Because these rolls are both spring rolls and salad rolls, you'll find me using both terms in this post. Thanks to Lane of Cooking with Lane for explaining the difference much better than I can - you can find her full informative article here.
2) Why don't you use vermicelli in your spring rolls?
Personally, I'm not a hug fan of vermicelli (rice noodles), so tend to just pack my spring rolls with plant protein and veggies. I'm aware that this makes this recipe even less culturally authentic, so feel free to add them to yours! They're a great addition and take just minutes to prepare.
3) Why do you use tempeh and not tofu in your spring rolls?
Because I love tempeh! It has a great savoury taste that I enjoy and think compliments the rolls well. I frequently use raw tofu instead though, because it's faster to prepare (it doesn't need to be cooked) and lets the flavour of the dipping sauce really shine. Feel free to swap it out if you prefer tofu!
How to Wrap Rice Paper Wrappers
Rice wrappers can be fiddly at first, but I promise once you get the hang of them you'll be a pro. The key is to not let them get too sticky, and to wrap them tightly!
1) Pour about 1 cup of warm (not boiling or cold) water onto a dinner plate - ideally use a plate that has a bit of a dip in it.
2) Submerge one side of the rice wrapper in the warm water, then after 5 seconds flip it over to submerge the other side.
3) Remove and place the wrapper on a chopping board or similar flat surface (it will likely still feel a bit stiff - it takes a few seconds to soften fully).
4) Add your ingredients to the top half of the wrapper, in the centre.
5) Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the ingredients, then tightly wrap the left and right side of the wrapper over the filling, leaving it exposed it at the top. Voila!
And if you're still struggling, check out my Reel below showing you exactly how to wrap spring rolls!
Vegan Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce (gluten free)
- 1 240g pack tempeh (can use tofu if preferred - see note below), sliced into thin strips
- 2 tbsp unflavoured cooking oil (I like avocado or sesame)
- Salt to taste
- 1 carrot (medium), shredded
- ¾ cup shredded cabbage
- ½ red pepper, sliced into strips
- 4" piece cucumber, sliced into strips
- 1 cup shredded collard greens or spinach
- 8 rice paper wrappers
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- ½ tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp unflavoured oil
- 1 tbsp water
- Prepare all vegetables and tempeh as described above.
- Add all dipping sauce ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- On a medium heat, sauté tempeh in oil until golden on all sides (about 10 mins). Season to taste with salt and set aside.
- Pour warm water onto a dinner plate and submerge your first rice wrapper in it. After 5 seconds flip it over to dip the other side in water, then remove. Place wrapper on a chopping board, and fill one half with carrot, cabbage, pepper, cucumber, collards and tempeh.
- Fold up bottom of rice wrapper, then fold each side over the ingredients tightly.
- Serve all rolls on a large platter with the dipping sauce.
- If using tofu instead of tempeh, there is no need to cook it. Raw tofu works fine in spring rolls!
- Although these spring rolls don't contain rice noodles (vermicelli), feel free to use them if you wish. To prepare, soak noodles in boiling water for several minutes until softened, then rinse.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a comment or tip for others below. I'd love to know how you’ve made it your own!