Vegan Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls

By Alexandra Caspero on March 18, 2019
This homemade rolls recipe is served with a spicy peanut-lime dipping sauce and is vegan and easily gluten-free.

Fresh Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls! You will love these healthy, rice paper salad rolls with crispy peanut tofu, shredded cabbage, carrots, mint, cilantro, and vermicelli noodles. 

top view of spring rolls on serving board with lime wedge and spicy peanut sauce in a bowl

Is Spring actually here? Temperatures hit the mid-60’s this weekend, the perfect excuse to drop what we were doing and bask in the Spring glow. We put out our patio furniture, turned on the grill for the first time, and pretended- just for a moment– that we were back in California, enjoying an impromptu cookout on our deck. 

The bright weather reminded me of my favorite recipes: spring rolls with peanut sauce.

Though it started raining the very next day, I wanted to keep my bright mood going with these fresh rolls. I really need to make these more often. They are effortless to put together and are the perfect light meal when I’m still craving big, bold flavors.

Learning how to make spring rolls has never been easier thanks to this easy Vietnamese-inspired recipe. Colorful and nutritious vegetables encompass these fresh and crispy rolls which make them perfect for lunch or dinner. Enjoy these veggie bundles either by themselves or with your other favorite vegan recipes for a well-balanced meal that is full of both nutrition and flavor.

Why This Recipe is the Best

  • Easy: I know tofu spring rolls seem intimidating, but they are easy to make once you get the hang of it working with rice paper wrappers. In only a few steps, you will have the the best combination of crispy vegetable texture, peanut tofu and fresh herbs.
  • Quick: This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and a great option for busy weeknights and weekday lunches at home.
  • Gluten-Free Friendly: Use coconut aminos or Tamari for a gluten-free option to soy sauce.
  • Vegan and Vegetarian: I make this recipe all of the time for new plant-based eaters as a way to show how delicious a veggie-filled diet can be. Most people think that vegetables are boring and this recipe is anything but!
  • Delicious: The spicy and sweet peanut lime sauce is the best part! The bold flavors from the sauce perfectly balance the fresh vegetables.

What is the difference between Vietnamese spring rolls and Thai spring rolls?

Although the two rolls are very similar, they are a little different from each other. Vietnamese spring rolls are made with rice vermicelli noodles and rice paper and Thai spring rolls are usually wrapped in lettuce and served without the noodles.

While I’ve never been to Vietnam, I associate fancy family dinners with Vietnamese food, which is an odd statement to say the least from a Danish/Italian child who grew up in the South. While my mom was a fantastic cook, she didn’t know her way around an Asian kitchen. So, on very special occasions (like good report card days), we would head out to to neighboring town’s Vietnamese restaurant and order like kings.

In the 10+ years of going there as a child, I’m fairly certain I ordered the same thing every time: a Shirley Temple with extra cherries, spring rolls, and the vermicelli bowl. I don’t know if it’s really as good as I’ve imagined or the time has made it that way, but I remember feeling so fancy wolfing down my oversize bowl of thin noodles, shredded vegetables, pork, and the best spicy peanut sauce. Every bite of these spring rolls is in tribute to that meal and those memories.

Ingredients for Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • Peanut Butter– Use your favorite creamy peanut butter, though I recommend a drippy peanut butter, one that you have to stir with the oil on top.
  • Soy Sauce– There’s a reason that soy sauce is the base of so many sauces; it adds umami flavor and salty depth to this creamy dip.
  • Sriracha – I always keep a bottle of this Sriracha on hand because it’s great with almost anything. You can find it in the condiment aisles or International aisle at well-stocked grocery stores.
  • Hoisin Sauce– This sauce is a key ingredient for this peanut sauce as it adds a bit of sweetness to balance out the spiciness. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores, or online.
  • Lime– You will need one small lime to use for its juice. In a pinch you can substitute rice wine vinegar.
  • Water– Make sure the water is hot so it is easy to mix the sauce.

How do you eat Vietnamese spring rolls?

Serve these crispy rolls as an appetizer or side dish to your main course. You can enjoy these rolls on top of salads with fresh greens, too! Most of the time, I eat them on their own for lunch or a simple dinner. 

Variations

  • For a non-spicy version, omit the Sriracha.
  • Add basil or sliced cucumbers for extra texture and flavor!
  • Instead of peanut butter, use creamy almond butter.

Spicy lime peanut sauce for Vietnamese spring rolls in white bowl with spoon and lime

How to Make This Fresh Spring Roll Recipe

While I think spring rolls are fairly easy to assemble, you’ll want to have all of your fillings chopped and ready to go ahead of time. You can save time by using pre-shredded cabbage and carrots or swapping in whatever vegetables you have on hand. 

Use a damp paper towel for lining the prepared rolls so they don’t dry out and crack. Once you’ve rolled your Spring rolls, enjoy any leftover filling and sauce like a salad. They taste best when enjoyed right after making so I don’t recommend making them too far ahead of time. 

Like most adaptations around here, please accept my liberal interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine. I made these rolls out of what I remembered that meal to taste like, not any authentic version. They are so good, so meaty and so filling that my food memory can easily become your food memory.

Make the Sauce

First, make the peanut sauce by whisking the peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, lime juice, and hot water in a bowl. Next, drain and press the tofu with a tofu press or heavy pan.

Then, slice the tofu into slabs so they can lay flat on the rice paper rolls.

Cook the Tofu

Place the tofu in a single layer in a preheated skillet with oil and cook for two to three minutes until golden brown. Next, remove the tofu from the skillet and brush one side with the peanut sauce.

Next, prepare the vegetables, tofu, and noodles to assemble the rolls. To assemble the rolls, soften the rice paper by placing it in a dish of hot water and allowing it to soften for 10 to 15 seconds.

Move the rice paper to a cutting board and spread it into a circle. If it rips too much, then start over with new paper. It’s OK if it takes a few times to get the hang of wrapping these. They become easier to roll the more that you make them.

Assemble Rolls

Layer the tofu with the sauce side down, noodles, cabbage, carrots, mint, and cilantro on the bottom third of the paper. Next, gently fold the paper over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until the seam is sealed. Then, place the roll seam side down on a serving plate and cover with a damp towel to keep it fresh.

Repeat until you have about 12 to 15 spring rolls.

Finally, serve with the spicy peanut sauce!

Vietnamese tofu spring rolls with peanut sauce on serving platter with bowl of sauce in background

Can you make Vietnamese spring rolls ahead of time?

I don’t recommend making these too far ahead of time, but you can make these spring rolls a day in advance at the most when you are wanting to serve them. Just be sure to cover them with a damp towel or the refrigerator will drain out the moisture.

Tips for Making Tofu Spring Rolls: 

  • Store the leftovers wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. We like to enjoy these rolls fresh, but we like them for leftovers, too.
  • Seal the rolls like you are sealing a burrito.
  • Be sure to properly drain and press the tofu before frying or the texture will be off.
  • I like to use the large rice papers because they can contain more filling. The small papers will work, but that may not hold as much mixture.
  • For more flavor, then add a little peanut sauce onto the filling before wrapping everything up.

Other Recipes You Will Enjoy

If you try this recipe, let me know! Then, leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Finally, happy cooking! 

Print
Vietnamese tofu spring rolls on wooden platter with spicy peanut sauce

Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 12 -15 rolls 1x
  • Category: salad, spring rolls, appetizer, glutenfree, vegan
  • Method: Vegan, Gluten-Free
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Fresh Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls! You will love these healthy, rice paper salad rolls with crispy peanut tofu, shredded cabbage, carrots, mint, cilantro, and vermicelli noodles. This homemade rolls recipe is served with a spicy peanut-lime dipping sauce and is vegan and easily gluten-free.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 12 -15 rolls 1x
  • Category: salad, spring rolls, appetizer, glutenfree, vegan
  • Method: Vegan, Gluten-Free
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 12 -15 rolls 1x
  • Category: salad, spring rolls, appetizer, glutenfree, vegan
  • Method: Vegan, Gluten-Free
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 16 oz firm tofu, drained, rinsed and pressed
  • 1 packed cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 packed cup shredded carrots
  • ¼  cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼  cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 cups cooked vermicelli noodles (or thin rice noodles)
  • 1215 rice paper wrappers

Spicy Peanut-Lime Sauce

  • ¼  cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 12 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Small lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

Instructions

  1. First, whisk together all ingredients for the peanut-lime sauce and set aside.
  2. Drain and press the tofu. Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the tofu into slabs so they can lay flat on the rice paper rolls.
  4. Next, place the tofu in a single layer on the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from skillet and brush peanut sauce in a thick layer on one side.
  5. Prep the vegetables, tofu, and noodles.
  6. To assemble spring rolls, pour very hot water into a shallow dish and place 1 rice paper to soften for about 10-15 seconds.
  7. Place the wrapper on a a cutting board and spread out into a circle. It’s OK if it rips a little but if it rips too much, get a new one and start again. Layer the tofu (sauce side down), noodles, cabbage, carrots, mint and cilantro on the bottom third of the paper. Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until seam is sealed. (like a burrito!)
    https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/650908841
  8. Place seam-side down on a serving platter and cover with damp warm towel to keep fresh. Repeat until finished, you should have about 12-15 spring rolls total.
  9. Now, serve with remaining peanut-lime sauce. Leftovers store well individually wrapped in plastic wrap, though taste best when fresh. https://vimeo.com/650908878

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Barry
      July 19, 2022 AT 6:36 am

      I made these along with your Pad Thai. A homerun!

    2. Alyssa
      March 30, 2022 AT 9:23 pm

      How long would leftovers last in the fridge?

      1. Alex
        March 31, 2022 AT 7:35 am

        Hi Alyssa– they don’t last too long in the fridge as the wrappers become less soft. You can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time and roll fresh if you’d like!

    3. Sangeeta
      August 2, 2019 AT 8:24 am

      I am going to try making the tofu spring rolls today for lunch. Can I swap peanut butter with almond butter. Thanks in advance

      1. Alex
        August 2, 2019 AT 10:07 am

        Yes! You can use peanut butter!

    4. Lisa Huff
      March 18, 2019 AT 5:30 pm

      Oh yum! Looks delicious!

    5. Rebecca
      January 28, 2019 AT 2:26 pm

      I love these! They are so good, but I stink at rolling them. Thank you!

      1. Alex
        January 29, 2019 AT 5:39 am

        Glad you liked it!

    6. Denise
      August 27, 2018 AT 4:51 pm

      Oh my goodness! Finally found a vegan recipe that my husband said he would like again! Thank you!

      1. Alex
        August 29, 2018 AT 7:38 pm

        So glad you liked it! Thanks Denise!

    7. Fran E
      May 14, 2018 AT 7:17 am

      I’ve made these about a dozen times now, and I always come back to this recipe! The peanut sauce is a revelation (I could eat it every day) and is so fast to make, and the summer rolls are so fresh and fun to make. I’ll often replace the tofu with sliced crab sticks or cooked shrimp (prawns, in the UK!) but have also used leftover chicken, pork and even roast beef! (I’m not vegan, can you tell?) I recommend this recipe to vegan friends on a regular basis 😀

      1. Alex
        May 14, 2018 AT 9:24 am

        Love hearing that you like this recipe so much, thanks Fran!

    8. Sophie
      February 26, 2018 AT 6:13 am

      In step 6 when you say prep the vegetables, what does that mean? Cook them?

      1. Alex
        February 26, 2018 AT 7:50 am

        It means cut them and have them ready to go so the assembly is easy.

    9. Liz Martone
      March 25, 2016 AT 6:07 pm

      I adore spring rolls! And anything that involves peanut sauce is totally up my alley! Can’t wait to try these 🙂

      1. Alex @ DelishKnowledge
        March 27, 2016 AT 7:54 pm

        Thanks Liz- ME TOO. Just say the words “peanut sauce” and I’m IN. 🙂

    10. Kristy @ Southern In-Law
      March 25, 2016 AT 6:02 pm

      I love rice paper rolls and these look incredible! Especially with that dipping sauce!

      Here’s hoping you have a wonderful weekend! xo

      1. Alex @ DelishKnowledge
        March 27, 2016 AT 7:54 pm

        Thanks Kristy! You too!