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What are Fresh Spring Rolls
Fresh spring rolls or summer rolls originated in Vietnam where they are called gỏi cuốn, which translates to salad roll. Traditionally, Vietnamese spring rolls are filled with cooked pork, shrimp, rice vermicelli, and leafy lettuce and herbs and served with peanut sauce. In Thai cuisine there is a similar fresh spring roll recipe called kuaitiao lui suan (also known as Thai garden noodle) that is filled with fresh vegetables, wide rice noodles, herbs, meat, shrimp or tofu and are typically served with a sweet and sour green chili sauce.
This easy recipe for fresh vegan spring rolls takes inspiration from traditional Vietnamese and Thai summer rolls. They are filled with a rainbow of fresh vegetable and fruits, herbs, and rice noodles or left over sushi rice for a delicious colorful appetizer, lunch or dinner. I paired these delicious crunchy veggie spring rolls with an easy sweet, spicy and sour tahini sauce as a nut-free alternative to peanut dipping sauce.
Layer a variety of colorful vegetables, herbs and fruits to create a beautiful rainbow effect. To add more protein to the fresh vegan spring rolls you can add strips of raw or pan-fried tofu, or cooked shelled edamame.
Spring Roll Wrappers – These thin translucent rice paper wrappers are made from rice flour and/or tapioca starch and come prepackaged and dried. Rice paper wrappers are thinner than wrappers used to make egg rolls and need to be rehydrated in cold water before using them to make spring rolls. Do not use warm water or hot water to moisten the wrappers because they will just break down and become mushy. Traditional spring roll wrappers come in different sizes and are either round flat discs or square-shaped.
Vegetables and Fruit – You can use any fresh vegetables and/or fruit for vegan summer rolls. A mix of colorful fruit and vegetable fillings look like and edible rainbow through the rehydrated rice paper wrapper. Raw veggies like lettuce, carrots, cucumber, radishes, red pepper, red cabbage, mung bean sprouts, etc. add a crunchy texture. Some veggies are better blanched or lightly steamed and cooled before adding them such as green peas, snap peas, snows peas, green beans, broccoli or beets. Fresh fruits and sweetness and a tangy flavor like mango, pineapple, peaches or strawberries. Traditional Vietnamese or Thai vegetable spring rolls use just green leafy lettuce and herbs as the vegetable fillings.
Fresh Herbs – Green onions and fresh herbs like Thai basil, mint, or cilantro and a vibrant green color and lots flavor to the filling ingredients.
Noodles or Rice – Rice vermicelli noodles are the traditional starchy filling for Vietnamese and wide rice noodles for Thai spring rolls. You can also use other noodles like glass noodles, bean threads or brown rice noodles. Cooked short grain rice or sushi rice is not traditional but also makes a good starchy filling in these vegan spring rolls.
Dipping Sauce – Traditionally, peanut sauce is served as a dipping sauce for Thai or Vietnamese spring rolls. I swapped peanut butter with tahini in this recipe to make a nut-free dipping sauce. The sauce is creamy, sweet, sour and spicy. It’s made with a base of creamy sesame tahini with maple syrup for sweetness, tamari soy sauce for saltiness and umami, hot sauce for spicy heat, rice vinegar and lime juice for acidity and a sour flavor. Fresh ginger, scallions and cilantro add more flavor to the sauce. Feel free to use creamy butter instead to make a peanut dipping sauce
See the full ingredient list and amounts in the recipe card below.
How to Make the Best Spring Rolls
Step1: Prepare noodles or rice:
Cook or soak noodles such as rice vermicelli or bean thread noodles according to their package instructions then rinse and drain them to stop the cooking process and let them cool completely. Alternatively, use leftover cooked and cooled sushi rice or other short grain rice instead of noodles. Both noodles and rice are great to make ahead or use up as leftovers.
Step 2: Prepare the fruit and vegetable fillings:
This is an overview of how to prepare various fillings. Use whatever veggies or fruit you like!
Julienne, meaning to cut into very thin long strips, and crunchy raw veggies like carrots, cucumber, or sweet bell pepper. Thinly slice radishes into thin circles and shred cabbage.
Blanch or lightly steam veggies like peas, snap peas, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, beets, etc.
Cut fruits like mangoes or pineapple into strips, slice strawberries and stone fruits like peaches, leave blueberries whole.
Chop herbs like scallions and chives. Leave tender herbs like basil leaves and cilantro leaves whole.
Step 3: Roll the vegan rice paper rolls:
First, set up a rolling station with a board or flat surface to roll on and all of your prepped fillings ready to go placed around the board. Also have a tray or plate nearby to place your finished rolls on.
Fill a shallow wide bowl or baking dish that is large enough to fit the spring roll wrappers with cold water. Working with one spring roll wrapper at a time, dunk it twice into the dish of water to rehydrate it. The wrapper will still feel stiff at first but it will continue to soften as you fill and roll it.
Place the moistened wrapper on the board. Visualize what you want to see at the top of the roll and start layering the fillings with that. What you place down first is what will show through the top of the roll. I like to start with the herbs first, then a piece of fruit, a contrasting veggie, and layer from there and finish with a spoonful of rice or some noodles. Layer the fillings in the center of the wrap. Try not to overstuff the wrappers with fillings or they will be hard to roll.
To roll the fresh rolls, fold the edge of the wrapper closest to you over the filling and tuck it taught back towards you. Roll the wrapper over the filling and away from you. As you roll it, fold in the sides of the wrapper as you would when rolling a burrito. The rehydrated rice paper should stick to itself to create a sealed seam at the bottom of the wrapper.
Repeat the process to make the whole batch of spring rolls. Optionally sprinkle the tops of the veggie spring rolls with a mix of black and regular sesame seeds.
Step 4: Make the dipping sauce:
Serve summer rolls with the dipping sauce right away. Leave space between the rolls because the rice paper wrappers will stick to each other.
How to Store Spring Rolls
Fresh summer rolls are best eaten right away as the wraps tend to tear the longer they sit.
Store fresh spring rolls and the dipping sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Because fresh spring rolls will stick to each other and tear, if you want to store them they need to be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or stored spaced out in a large container.
While they are best eaten within a few hours of making them, you can store fresh spring roll in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The rice paper wrapper will tear more easily the longer they sit. They will also stick to each other so need to wrapped individually before refrigerating them.
Yes, these fresh vegan spring roll recipe is gluten free. Just be sure to check the ingredients of the rice paper wrappers you use and if you add noddles make sure they are gluten free.
Yes, there are many versions of fried spring rolls throughout the world with origins in East and Southeast Asia. These fresh rolls are not meant to fried and are a style of the salad roll called gỏi cuốn in Vietnam. Deep frying spring rolls gives them a crispy wrapper.
Fresh spring rolls or summer rolls are meant to eat fresh and should not be frozen.
Thai vegetable spring rolls should be eaten right away or with in a few hours. The spring roll fillings and the dipping sauce can be made up to 3-4 days in advance and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator though.
Thin rice vermicelli noodles or bean threads are typically used in spring rolls because their small size makes them easy to add and roll up into tiny rolls.
More Fresh Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Thai Noodle Bowls
- Vegan Bao Buns with Hoisin Mushrooms and Quick-Pickled Vegetables
- Summer Tomato Corn and Peach Salad
- Vegan Fall Harvest Bulgur Wheat Salad
- Winter Vegetable Salad with Passionfruit Dressing
- Blood Orange, Roasted Beet, Lentil & Barley Salad – Vegan
- Winter Rainbow Salad Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash
- Easy Vegan Mango Smoothie Bowl Recipe
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Fresh Spring Rolls
- 24 spring roll wrappers
- 2 cups cooked and cooled sushi rice or vermicelli noodles
- 4 cups colorful veggies and fruits of your choice
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
Tahini Dipping Sauce
Prepare the Fillings:
- Julienne (cut into very thin strips) any raw veggies like carrots, cucumber, peppers and thinly slice veggies like radishes.
- Blanch or quick steam veggies like peas, snap peas, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, beets, etc.
- Cut fruits like mangoes or pineapple into strips, slice strawberries and stone fruits like peaches, leave blueberries whole.
- Chop herbs like scallions and chives. Leave tender herbs like basil leaves and cilantro leaves whole.
Make the Rolls:
- Set up your rolling station with a board to roll on and all of your prepped fillings around the board. Also have a tray or plate nearby to place your finished rolls on.
- Fill a shallow wide bowl or baking dish with cold water. Working with one spring roll wrapper at a time, dip it into the water and remove it immediately then dip it once more. The wrapper will continue to soften as you fill and roll it.
- Place the moistened wrapper on the board. Visualize what you want to see in the roll. I start with the herbs first, then a piece of fruit, a contrasting veggie, and layer from there and finish with a spoonful of rice to the top. Layer the fillings in the center of the wrap. Do not overstuff the wrappers or you will have a hard time rolling them.
- To roll the wrapper, fold the edge closest to you over the filling and roll away from you. As you roll it, fold in the sides of the wrapper as you would when rolling a burrito. Sprinkle the rolls with a mix of black and regular sesame seeds.
Make the Sauce:
- Serve summer rolls with the dipping sauce right away. Summer rolls are best eaten right away as the wraps tend to tear the longer they sit. Enjoy!
- Store fresh spring rolls and the dipping sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.