Home » Blog » Healthy living: Vegan Summer Rolls Recipe

Healthy living: Vegan Summer Rolls Recipe

Healthy living: Vegan Summer Rolls Recipe

Practice mindful eating with this easy vegan summer roll recipe. Summer cooking from Vietnam.

Wow a hot summer it’s been in Hanoi! Where did our rainy season go?! While it’s so hot AND we’ve been locked at home with no swimming pools all summer, it can be a bit trying sometimes to find new and interesting things to do – and eat. You may be sick of your go-to recipes so give them a rest – they’re still great recipes – and try something new. One of my favourite things to make as either a light meal in the evening or a snack are summer rolls or fresh rolls! They take a little bit of time so they’re not something I’d usually make after school or a long day of work, so this is the perfect time!

What are summer rolls and why are they not normally vegan?

You may be familiar with spring rolls – and who isn’t, they’re delightful – but they are fried which does bring down their healthy nature a bit as a snack. Summer rolls are not fried! Their outside is soft and their insides full of amazing fresh produce. They often will have shrimp or some kind of prawn thing in them, so they’re often not vegan, and may even include fish sauce, so not vegetarian either! You can use an abundance of fresh herbs in them too, from coriander to mint or Thai basil! The opportunity to mix n match your rolls with whatever you’ve got in the fridge is limitless.

The key thing to make these is, of course, the wrappers. I use rice paper to make these so the dish is also gluten free. Everyone’s a winner today! They are available in basically every shop in Vietnam but are also pretty easy to find in the UK. Five years ago, they were easily found in Asian shops but who knows what’s now available in the international aisle of your local supermarket!

I’ve actually been making these since BEFORE I moved to Vietnam, because it’s easy, fun and delicious, and all it takes are a few ingredients and dipping sauce, and you have one t a s t y meal!

Healthy living: vegan summer rolls
Healthy living: vegan summer rolls

Vegan summer roll ingredients

For these vegan summer rolls, I used:

Fresh tofu (firm), option to marinate it first with ginger, lemongrass, soy sauce or liquid aminos, apple cider vinegar, dark roasted sesame oil, chilli flakes and garlic salt. The thing is with marinating, the longer the better.

½ Avocado

1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper

½ cucumber super thinly sliced

½ carrot

2-5 spring onions or scallions

Handful of fresh coriander

Some lettuce leaves

6 Rice paper wrappers

Dried spices: turmeric, chilli flakes, garlic salt (if you are not marinating the tofu first)

1 tbsp cooking oil

For the dipping sauce, I used:

Soy sauce

Dark roasted sesame sauce

Apple cider vinegar

Slice of fresh chill

Slice of fresh ginger

Slice of green onion

Vegan Summer Roll Prep time!

First prep all your veggies so they’re ready for assembly as soon as your wrap is wet. Get a plate or a Tupperware or something ready to arrange each element in so you’re not surrounded by chopped up vegetables. Cut things thinly, a sharp knife is very helpful here, but mind your fingers!

Long and things slices of: carrot, bell pepper, green onion and cucumber.

Lettuce leaves: strips around 1 ½ cm wide, you can layer them to reach from end to end

Cut your tofu into rectangular shapes, 1-1 ½ cm thick. When the tofu is fried, it will shrink a little so give it some room 😉

I just have a teaspoon or fork handy for my avocado, and give a couple of little scoops per roll. You could cut it into slices but I like the chunks!

Preparing the tofu takes patience and poise

Cooking time! Get out your frying pan (non-stick!) add the cooking oil and heat to a medium heat. Add your tofu and dried spices. You could also pre-marinate them for extra flavour-y good times.

Key to cooking tofu is to LEAVE IT ALONE. Seriously. Don’t fuss it. Let it cook and get a lil’ crispy and then turn it. We get beautifully fresh tofu out here and if you poke and play with it, all you’re gonna have is scramble. And while scramble might be great, it is not suitable for these fresh rolls!

Turn off the heat on your fried tofu and let it set and cool for a few minutes, too hot and it won’t be easy to roll unless you have asbestos hands like Nigella Lawson.

While the tofu cools, I make the dipping sauce. This is my go-to dipping sauce, it’s super easy and I always have these ingredients at home. You can substitute the vinegar for whatever kind you have, although maybe not balsamic, that might be weird.

The soy sauce is going to be the main part of the sauce, the sesame and vinegar are just splashes but you can balance it out to how you like it.

OK, let’s wrap it up!

You need to wet the dry rice papers so if you live in a country where the tap water is safe to drink, turn on the tap! Otherwise, grab yourself a bowl of safe drinking water. With your hand, splash a little water on each side of the solid wrap, then place it onto a chopping board. Get your ingredients! I start with the lettuce and coriander, laying them horizontally to me. Then I spoon a few chunks of avocado and add a few pieces of tofu. Next, salad! Add some strips of pepper, carrot, green onion and cucumber.

Keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ (yeah)

It’s Rolling Time! Gently lift the side of the circular paper that is closest to you up and over the ingredients and get rolling! The rice paper should be very stretchy and sticky by this point, so be careful. You can do this fancy by folding from the bottom so it cover the ingredients then tucking the sides in, wrapping it like a present. I do not bother with this step because

  1. I tend to over-fill the rolls so things are sticking out the ends.
  2. It might look fancy but it’s fiddly and will not give you a better food experience. Not worse, just not better either.
  3. I’ve seen plenty of Viet chis serve them like this and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

When you have your finished your roll, put it on a plate, trying not to let the rolls touch as they’ll stick.

When you’ve got them more or less successfully rolled, tuck in! They don’t keep all that well so eat them while they’re fresh before the rice paper dries and they become brittle. No.

Slow down and appreciate the abundance

Are they time consuming? Yes. These are not fast food really, however, there is so much to be said for slowing down, taking your time and appreciating what you have and what you have made.

One thing to be grateful for in this recipe is the abundance of fresh and nutritious produce. These need fresh foods, but honestly, not a whole lot. I feel the amount of food I would put into a big bowl of salad would be way more, yet this provides a balanced and yum meal.

This is a great meal to practice mindful eating with, starting from that preparation. Having all these beautiful ingredients laid out can already by a slow and mindful practice. Assembling and rolling, another task, especially if you’ve never tried it before, it will take a small amount of practice.

What do you think of these vegan summer rolls?

And finally, I really hope you enjoy them! You can change these ingredients to include other exciting things like pineapple or mango, cooked squash or pumpkin, even beetroot!

Tell me in the comments how you got on or if you have any questions for me about making them. Good luck!

I love cooking Vietnamese inspired meals. Have you seen my noodle soup recipe? It’s SO GOOD! Click here.

Lolli the Yogicorn



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *