These healthy Summer Rolls are made with sweet and spicy strips of tofu that are wrapped in rice paper along with fresh veggies and herbs! Paired with a simple peanut sauce, you’ll have them on the table in 30 minutes or less. Gluten-free and vegan, with paleo, Whole30 and low carb/keto options.
Updated May 2022
Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce
Nobody wants to heat up their house with a bunch of cooking in the middle of a scorching day. It’s so important to have fresh and healthy recipes that keep the frying, boiling, toasting and roasting to a minimum. As their name suggests, these easy summer rolls are a lovely snack, appetizer, side dish or light meal to dig into during those warmer months.
They’re easy to put together with any protein, veggies and herbs you like. The nutty peanut sauce adds so much mouthwatering flavor to each bite, but you can substitute it as you please and still get drool-worthy results. Once you’ve made these summer rolls for the first time, you’ll start going through your rice paper like crazy!
What’s the Difference Between Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls?
There are two types of Vietnamese spring rolls – fried ones (chả giò) and fresh ones (gỏi cuốn). Chả giò are very similar to Chinese Spring Rolls as they use wrappers made with wheat flour and are always cooked after they’re assembled. Gỏi cuốn are wrapped in thin rice papers and served cold as soon as they’re built, so they’re commonly referred to as summer rolls instead of spring rolls.
While they’re certainly not the same thing, summer rolls are considered a more raw version of spring rolls. In turn, they’re also healthier!
These salad rolls can be customized with any protein, herbs, vegetables and dipping sauce of the maker’s choice. For now, let’s look at a foolproof lineup that our family adores. Scroll to the recipe card toward the bottom of this post to see the amounts you’ll need.
For the Summer Rolls
- Extra Firm Organic Tofu: Pressed and drained. If you’re not a fan of tofu, feel free to use tempeh instead. For paleo and Whole30 wraps, use oyster mushrooms, shredded jackfruit or another desired alternative.
- Coconut Aminos
- Pure Maple Syrup: Use Lakanto sugar-free maple syrup or any other sticky liquid sweetener such as vegan honey, agave or liquid monk fruit.
- Red Pepper Chili Flakes
- Rice Paper Wrappers: If these don’t work with your diet plan, use collard green leaves like in these Collard Wraps, coconut wraps or jicama wraps instead. You can usually find rice paper wrappers in the the International aisle of a large grocery store or at any Asian supermarket. Amazon, Walmart and Target usually carry them as well. Tapioca paper wrappers work for paleo as well.
- Yellow Bell Pepper: Cut into thin strips.
- Carrot: Thinly sliced.
- Shredded Red Cabbage
- Sliced Avocado
- Halved Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- Fresh Herbs: We like to use cilantro, mint and Thai basil, but you can go with any assortment you’re in the mood for.
For the Peanut Sauce
- Peanut Butter: Creamy or crunchy – up to you! Substitute this for almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter if anyone in your party is following a paleo / Whole30 protocol or has a peanut allergy.
- Coconut Aminos: Gluten-free tamari or low sodium soy sauce work too if there are no soy allergies.
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Toasted Sesame Oil: For an extra dimension of nutty goodness.
- Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed.
- Water: As needed to thin out the sauce.
How to Make Summer Rolls
You’ll love how quickly these Vietnamese veggie wraps come together. Here’s a detailed run-through to guide the way:
Cook Tofu: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cut the prepared tofu into half-inch strips and add them to the pan. Fry the tofu on each side until it’s golden, then add the coconut aminos, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Continue to fry the tofu until it reaches your desired crispiness. Don’t want to turn on the stove? Make Air Fryer Tofu instead.
Soften Rice Paper: Submerge one rice paper in warm water until it softens. Carefully transfer the softened paper to a plastic cutting board so it’s laying flat. Avoid doing this on a wooden surface, which these papers tend to stick to.
Add Fillings: Top the paper with 1-2 strips of tofu, a few pieces of carrot and pepper, a small handful of cabbage, a slice of avocado, 1-2 lettuce leaves and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Wrap: Lift one end of the wrapper over the top of the filling and tuck it underneath the filling on the other side, working carefully. Tuck both sides in and continue rolling, keeping it tight until it’s fully rolled. Repeat the softening, filling and wrapping process until everything is used up. You should have 8-10 rolls. Carefully cut each one in half with a sharp knife.
Make Peanut Sauce: Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk everything together until the sauce is creamy and combined.
Enjoy! Place the summer rolls onto a platter and serve them immediately alongside the dipping sauce.
Can I Prep Them Ahead of Time?
Sure! If you’d like to prepare these summer rolls in advance, it’s best to hold off on the assembly since they’re meant to be enjoyed fresh.
The vegetables can be washed, cut, and refrigerated in separate airtight containers or ziplock bags for up to 3 days. The tofu can be cooked up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the fridge after it has cooled. Assemble the wraps right before you serve them.
Tips for Success
I have a few helpful hints that will make this easy recipe even more of a breeze. You’re gonna do great!
- Don’t Over-Soak the Rice Papers: You only need to submerge the rice paper in warm water for a second or two. After that, lay it flat on your cutting board, add the fillings and wrap it up without wasting any time. The longer you wait, the more waterlogged the wrapper will become. It’s very difficult to work with if it’s soggy. For this same reason, be sure to soften the papers and wrap the rolls one by one.
- Wrap Carefully: Rice paper is very thin and delicate – if you pull it too hard or dig your nail into it while you’re wrapping up the fillings, it will rip. Try your best to wrap the rolls as tightly as you can in a gentle manner. Remember to assemble them on a slick surface that the papers won’t stick to.
- Serve the Rolls Immediately: Let these rolls sit out at room temperature as little as possible. If you’re not serving them right away, you should transfer them to the fridge to preserve their freshness.
We can’t imagine ever getting bored of these summer rolls. Especially when there are so many variations to enjoy!
- Make Traditional Summer Rolls: Gỏi cuốn are typically filled with cooked shrimp, pork, vermicelli rice noodles and raw shredded cucumber, then served with Vietnamese fish sauce (nước chấm). If you eat meat and would like to take a more traditional approach to this dish, go right ahead!
- Use Another Dipping Sauce: Speaking of Vietnamese fish sauce, there are plenty of dips aside from peanut sauce that pair beautifully with these rolls. Hoisin sauce and sweet chili sauce are prime examples.
- Add Fruit: Want some natural sweetness to complement the maple syrup in the tofu seasoning? Try adding thinly sliced peach, mango or pineapple to your wraps!
What Goes With Gỏi Cuốn?
Depending on the size of each serving, summer rolls can be a snack, a side dish, an appetizer or a light meal. In any case, they’re easy to pair with other dishes. We usually serve them with Tropical Bahn Mi Tacos, Grilled Shrimp or Pho Noodle Soup if we’re enjoying them as a side or appetizer. When we serve fresh spring rolls as a main course, these sweet, nutty and tangy Miso Brussels Sprouts are definitely our go-to accompaniment.
How to Store Leftovers
It’s best to enjoy these salad rolls shortly after you make them. If you have to keep the finished rolls in the fridge for more than an hour or two, wrap each roll in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh this way for 2-3 days.
You can bring your summer rolls to room temperature before you enjoy them if you’d like. If you forget to wrap them before you store them, they’ll stick together and rip when you try to remove them.
The peanut sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight jar or container for up to 1 week.
More Healthy Vegan Dishes to Try
Hungry for more? Here are some favorites:
Sweet and spicy strips of tofu are wrapped in rice paper along with fresh veggies and herbs in these healthy Summer Rolls! Paired with a simple peanut sauce, you'll have them on the table in 30 minutes or less. Gluten-free and vegan with paleo, Whole30 and low-carb/keto options.
- 12 oz extra firm organic tofu , pressed and drained. If you're not a fan of tofu, you can also sub with tempeh. For paleo or Whole30, sub with oyster mushrooms, shredded jackfruit or cooked protein of choice.
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup , sub with Lakanto SF maple syrup or any other preferred sticky liquid sweetener for lower sugar. Vegan honey or agave also work.
- ½ tsp red pepper chili flakes
- 8-10 rice paper wrappers , can sub with large collard green leaves (lightly steamed with stems removed), coconut wraps or jicama wraps for low carb, keto, paleo or Whole30. Tapioca wrappers also work for paleo.
- 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 avocado sliced
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves cut in half
- Assortment of fresh herbs of choice: cilantro, mint, Thai basil
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cut tofu into strips about ½ inch wide and add to the pan.
Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden, add the coconut aminos, maple syrup and red pepper chili flakes and fry for another minute until golden and crispy. You can also use this air fry tofu if you prefer to not to use the stove.
Assemble the spring rolls. Submerge one rice paper in warm water for 10 seconds until softened then carefully transfer to a plastic cutting board.
Add a few pieces of carrot, pepper, one or two strips of tofu, a small handful of cabbage, slice of avocado, a lettuce leaf or two and a sprig or two of fresh herbs of choice.
- Carefully lift one end of the wrapper over the top of the filling and carefully tuck under the filling. Tuck both sides in and keep rolling, keeping it tight until fully rolled. Repeat with remaining ingredients. It will make 8-10 spring rolls. Carefully cut them in half.
Add all the peanut sauce ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until creamy and combined.
Serve with spring rolls and enjoy!
- To Make Ahead: Veggies can be washed, cut, & refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. Tofu can be cooked up to 3 days in advance, cooled, then refrigerated in an airtight container. Assemble wraps right before serving.
- To Store Extras: These are best enjoyed shortly after they're made. If you have to keep them in the fridge for more than 1-2 hours, wrap each roll in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container. They'll stay fresh this way for 2-3 days. Do not freeze them – rice paper is too fragile. Peanut sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.