These Tofu Spring Rolls are the super tasty vegan version of my classic Vietnamese King Prawn Summer Rolls. They are naturally gluten free, spicy and packed with flavour. And they’re easy to make, light and fresh to boot. Perfect.
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There aren’t many vegan foods that I will actively look froward to. But I’d happily sit and think about eating these Tofu Summer Rolls all day. I might even prefer them to the original King Prawn version.
Vietnamese summer rolls are fun, if a little fiddly to make. The include fresh herbs, fresh veggies and soft noodles. The skins are smooth and slightly sticky. You end up with a wonderful combination of smooth, crunchy and chewy.
You should be warned that my Tofu Spring Rolls are quite spicy. The tofu is marinated in chilli oil and the dipping sauce packs a punch. I love it but of course you can tone down the chilli if you wish.
How to Serve Tofu Spring Rolls
Summer rolls are a great dish to prep and then leave the ingredients out for your guests to roll the rolls themselves. Its a great alternative to do-it-yourself-pizzas. And lots of fun!
The recipe given includes a version of my all time favourite dipping sauces. The fish sauce in the original recipe is replaced with light soy sauce to make it perfect for vegans.
I’ve eaten spring rolls as a starter to various Asian dishes, as part of a buffet and just on their own as a lovely lunch or snack. They’re actually fairly substantial despite being very fresh and fairly low cal.
I generally start off showing off my chopstick prowess but usually quickly switch to just using my hands. And so I will leave it to you to decide how you wish to proceed.
Ingredients for Vietnamese Spring Rolls
You can buy various types of tofu. The most common are silken, soft, firm and extra firm. Extra firm is what you are looking for here.
You might find it in the supermarket chiller on in tetrapaks in the world food aisle. Fresh is generally preferable if possible but I do often keep a long life option in the pantry.
The biggest thing to remember with tofu is that as much moisture as possible needs to be removed before cooking. This can be achieved by using a mixture of kitchen roll and pressing it.
Be very careful when handling the tofu, it will fall apart with relative ease. Don’t keep flipping it when cooking and pick it up carefully when marinating. It is marginally more robust once fried and crispy.
Fresh herbs are the key to a fab summer roll. Mint provides the a classic Vietnamese flavour and coriander provides a distinctive fresh and complementary note.
I am aware than many people are not a fan of coriander. I would suggest simply leaving it out of their rolls rather than trying to find a substitute.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
I have provided instructions for cooking thin rice noodles from scratch. These are available in most supermarkets and all Asian grocers.
Ready cooked rice noodles are also widely available. These can largely be treated the same but the only need about 30 seconds in the hot water to refresh them.
Wide rice noodles could be used but will provide a different texture. Egg noodles are a no-no.
Rice Paper Wrappers
Rice paper wrappers are surprisingly easy to get hold of. Most of the major supermarkets stock them but do note that they are sometimes called “Spring Roll Wrappers”.
Do be careful in transporting them. They are brittle and the edges tend to crack off if they are not moved and stored carefully. They do last for absolutely ages in the cupboard so do consider stocking up if you’ve struggled to source them.
There are a myriad of options for varying this recipe. Assuming you don’t wish to change the tofu itself, you could switch up the marinade flavourings. Garlic and chilli oil or leave out the chilli and try ginger and soy. Honey would also make a great addition to that combo.
The vegetables themselves can be varied. Just think about fresh, crunchy veg that you would willingly eat raw. Beansprouts aren’t traditional but provide great crunch. Thinly sliced carrot would be quite a traditional addition.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
These spring rolls are suitable for vegetarians and vegans without any substitutions being required.
Make it Allergy Friendly
My Vietnamese Tofu Rolls are free from gluten (see note), dairy, nuts and egg.
Gluten Free: This recipe is gluten free providing that the soy sauce used in the dipping sauce is a gluten free variety.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Vegan Tofu Spring Rolls
If you don’t have a kettle to boil the noodle and rice paper soaking water, you can boil the water in a pan on the hob. Also, you should order a kettle!
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Summer rolls keep surprisingly well in an airtight container in the fridge for a good 24 hours. Much longer than that and the veg starts to lose its crunch.
You can therefore take 2 routes to getting ahead. Firstly, prep all of the veg and cook the tofu then assemble the rolls later (only cook the noodles last minute and dip the wrappers as you are assembling). Secondly, make them up in full and store them.
Leftover Summer Rolls
I would advise trying to only make up as many summer rolls as you are likely to eat.
If you do have leftovers, they will store for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Alternatively you could deep fry them for a variation on the snack if you fancied something different for your next meal!
The other option, is to release the innards from the roll and quickly wok fry the contents for another hot alternative.
Vietnamese Tofu Spring Roll Tips
The dipping sauce is….pungent. Do not be put off – it is delicious!
The rolls are not difficult to roll but can be a bit tricky on the first attempt. Just keep practising. Getting them as tight as possible without the wrapper splitting is the key.
Do not dunk the wrappers in water for anything like as long as you think they need. They will continue to soften up as you add fillings. Taking them too far straight away will make them un-roll-able.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Ginger Recipes
Tofu Spring Rolls (Vietnamese Summer Rolls Recipe)
For the Filling
- 150 g Firm Tofu
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp Chilli Oil
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 4 Leaves Little Gem Lettuce
- 50 g Bell Pepper - not green
- 30 g White Cabbage
- 4 Spring Onions (Scallions)
- 8 Fresh Mint Leaves
- 10 g Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
- 50 g Thin Rice Noodles
- 4 Rice Paper Wrappers
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce (Gluten free if required)
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
- 1 tsp Garlic Paste
- 0.5 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Cook the Tofu
- Slice 150g Firm Tofu into 4 equal slices.
- Use kitchen roll to take as much moisture out of the tofu slices as possible.
- Add 1 tsp Ginger Paste and 1 tsp Chilli Oil to a shallow dish. Soak the tofu slices into the chilli/ginger oil until it is all absorbed.
- Heat a medium frying pan with 1 tbsp Veg Oil. Add the tofu slices and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- You are looking for it to be a little crispy and golden brown. This will take longer to achieve than you might expect. Be gentle with the tofu slices and only flip them once or they are liable to fall apart.
- Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
Prepare the Fillings
- Pop the kettle on to boil.
- Start by separating, washing and drying about 4 Leaves Little Gem Lettuce. Cut each in half lengthways and set aside.
- Finely slice 50g Bell Pepper. Set aside.
- Finely slice about 30g White Cabbage. It is best to aim for slices similar in size to the peppers.
- Peel the outer layers and top & tail 4 Spring Onions. Finely slice on a long diagonal.
- Wash and dry 8 Mint Leaves and 10g of Fresh Coriander. Set aside.
- Cover 50g Thin Rice Noodles in boiling water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Give them a quick rinse under cold water to separate them. Leave to the side.
Assemble the Summer Rolls
- Gather all of the prepared and unused roll ingredients along with a board larger than the wrappers.
- Add more boiled water from the kettle to a shallow dish. Something a little larger than the 4 Rice Paper Wrappers.
- Take one of the wrappers and carefully dip it into the hot water. It does not need to be submerged for more than 10-15 seconds. Take it out while it is still holding its shape. Don’t panic and over-soak it. The wrapper will continue to soften as you add the fillings.
- Lay the soaked wrapper on a clean board and use a clean tea towel or kitchen roll to gently dab off any excess water.
- Start to add the fillings to the centre of the wrapper one at a time. Always start with the tofu.
- The add 2 mint leaves on top of the tofu.
- Continue to layer a quarter each of the fillings – the cabbage, bell peppers, spring onion…
- …the coriander, the lettuce and the rice noodles. You may not wish to use all of the rice noodles. If they feel overstuffed already, just use a bit less.
- Take one side of the wrapper and fold it neatly over the fillings.
- Repeat with the other side.
- Take the side of the wrapper closest to you and fold it away from you. This is the time to squeeze everything as tight as possible as you continue to roll away from you until the roll is sealed.
- Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings.
Make the Dipping Sauce
- Combine 1 tbsp Lime Juice, 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp Caster Sugar, 1 tsp Garlic Paste and 0.5 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes in a small bowl. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Serve the rolls with the dipping sauce.