Fresh Spring Rolls are a traditional Vietnamese dish made with rice paper wrappers filled with fresh veggies, herbs, and either tofu, shrimp, or chicken. These are served fresh for a healthy appetizer or meal with just 100 calories per roll.
Healthy fresh spring rolls packed with fresh veggies, tofu or shrimp, and served with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce make the best appetizer, lunch, or dinner. We love having them as an appetizer when we have an Asian themed dinner to switch things up from the usual healthy egg rolls or sesame soy edamame.
Whenever we get Vietnamese food, the first thing I order is the fresh salad spring rolls. Not only are they delicious, I like to start with something that is light and fresh. Filling up with veggies is always a good way to start a meal. That way I don't end up eating a plateful of noodles. Plus I am a sucker for dipping sauces and with spring rolls there are so many good options. You can't go wrong with peanut sauce but the traditional fish sauce and soy sauce options are pretty spectacular as well.
For these spring rolls, I stuck to the traditional fillings - lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, fresh herbs, and tofu. If you aren't a tofu fan, these are delicious with cooked shrimp or even chicken. You can also add cooked vermicelli rice noodles, which are traditionally used. I left them out to cut down on the calories and leave more room for veggies.
Although spring rolls are best served fresh, these will keep for a few days in the fridge. The best way to store a spring roll is to wrap it individually in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. This will keep the rice paper as moist as possible and will also prevent the rice paper from sticking and tearing. They will keep for a few days in the fridge stored this way. However, depending on the fillings, you may have to adjust this.
What does a fresh spring roll have inside? What kind of veggies can you include?
There are so many different options for what to include in a spring roll. In the recipe, I included my personal favorites, but below I have included a more comprehensive list so you can create your own spring rolls.
- Bean sprouts
- Red bell peppers
- Rice noodles
What kind of sauce goes with fresh salad spring rolls?
- Peanut sauce: This is what I included in the recipe and it is made with peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and red curry paste. It's sweet, savory, spicy and completely addicting.
- Garlic soy sauce: Combine equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add a touch of sesame oil, a minced garlic clove, chopped green onions, and a pinch of chili flakes if you like things spicy. You can also add a touch of sugar if you like a sweeter sauce.
- Fish dipping sauce: Fish sauce is traditionally used in almost all Vietnamese spring rolls sauce. Try combining 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 3 tablespoons water, the juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, a teaspoon of fresh ginger, and a teaspoon of Sriracha.
- Store bought options: Sweet chili sauce, sesame ginger dressing, chicken satay sauce, hoisin sauce, duck sauce, thick teriyaki sauce, or straight up Sriracha
Are spring rolls healthy?
Fresh spring rolls are very healthy, especially if you pack them full of raw veggies and lean protein. The biggest questions people have the healthfulness of spring rolls is the wrapper. Spring roll wrappers are low in fat and calories. One piece of rice paper usually has between 30-40 calories. When spring rolls because less healthy are when they are fried. Deep fried spring rolls absorb a lot fo the oil they are cooked in and aren't as healthy as the fresh version. They also normally contain less healthful fillings like ground pork sausage.
What's the difference between a spring roll and an egg roll?
There are many differences between egg rolls and spring rolls. First off is their country of origin. Spring rolls are normally Vietnamese while egg rolls are from China. Next comes the wrappers. Spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper, which is made from rice flour. They are transparent and normally very thin. On the other hand, egg roll wrappers are made with flour and eggs generally. They are thicker than a spring roll wrapper. Although spring rolls can be served fresh or fried, egg rolls are always fried. Lastly comes the fillings. Egg rolls are typically stuffed with ground meat and cabbage. Spring rolls usually have rice noodles and vegetables. They sometimes may have meat or shrimp as well.
Here are some of the tools and products I used for this recipe:
- Rice paper: This is my go-to brand for rice paper since it is high quality and don't tear easily. They are the best in my opinion.
- Rice paper wrapper water bowl: If you plan on making spring rolls often, it is absolutely necessary to get one of these rice paper wrapper water bowls. It makes the process of hydrating the wrapper so much easier.
Fresh Spring Rolls
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- 10 oz firm tofu, drained well
- 8 U rice paper spring roll wrappers
- 1 U carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 U cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 cup lettuce
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1/8 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/8 cup basil
- 1/8 cup mint
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (or PB2 combined with water)
- 1.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp warm water
To make the spring rolls, submerge one piece of rice paper into water for 15-20 seconds. Remove and place on a damp cloth. Place the tofu in the center of the paper. Layer on the vegetables and herbs. Carefully fold over one end and then fold over the sides. Then roll over carefully to close the spring roll. Normally there are directions on the rice paper package for rolling.
To make peanut sauce: Warm the peanut butter in the microwave until slightly melted. This step can be skipped but makes it a bit easier to stir. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic chili paste, and ground ginger to a small bowl. Whisk together, adding water a little at a time until it reaches a smooth consistency. It should be thick but still pourable. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed - more soy sauce for salt, more lime juice for tang, more chili paste for heat, etc.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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