Easy Vegan Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce are a fun and beautiful way to eat a rainbow of veggies! Perfect at parties or just for weeknights at home, you can customize them with your favorite ingredients.
I love Vietnamese summer rolls. Going to medical school in the middle of Boston’s Chinatown meant that we had lots of yummy (and cheap) options for lunch. This little hole-in-the-wall Bahn mi stand served a variety of summer rolls, and for about $3, I had an awesome lunch whenever I wanted it.
Sadly, my Chinatown dining days ended after medical school. A few years later, I attempted to make summer rolls at home. After a sticky, messy disaster, I ended up with a summer roll-inspired salad, with no actual roll in sight. It wasn’t until my second attempt that I really mastered the technique.
While my usual WCPA recipes don’t require a ton of detailed description, this one is different. I really try to walk you through the rolling steps because I would hate for you to end up in a sticky mess like I did. The principles are simple, but let me outline them.
- Prepare all of the fillings ahead of time. Lay them all out in front of you for easy grabbing. You can do this all a day ahead, if you want.
- DON’T overwet the wrapper. DON’T. OVERWET. THE. WRAPPER. If the wrapper feels sticky before you’ve even started filling it, you have overwet it. Throw it out and start again. The wrapper should hold it’s shape after you wet it and place it down on the board to fill. It should not yet be sticky. It will quickly become sticky, which is fine, but it should be pretty firm when you start to fill it.
- Roll tightly. Have you ever seen people roll a burrito at Chipotle? Or roll a sushi roll? Aim for that level of tight rolling.
- Use ingredients you like. You can change the veggies and herbs to suit your tastes, or even customize the rolls for your family or guests.
Let’s not forget the peanut sauce. With a few kind of random ingredients (ketchup, anyone?), you can have an easy, tasty sauce that can be used on so much more than summer rolls. Try it with my Easy Lettuce Wraps to make them extra yummy.
Beautiful. Tasty. Vegan. Healthy. Adaptable. This recipe includes herbs and veggies, but you can really use whatever vegetables you would like to eat. This recipe is more of a guideline, so don’t get bogged down in exact measurements. Be creative! Try Easy Vegan Summer Rolls the next time you want to change up your menu.
Easy Vegan Summer Rolls
Easy Vegan Summer Rolls are a fun and tasty way to serve almost anything you want! This recipe includes herbs and veggies, but you can really get creative; use whatever vegetables you would like to eat. This recipe is more of a guideline, so don't get bogged down in exact measurements. Be creative!
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp soy sauce or tamari (plus more to taste)
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 10-12 rice paper wrappers (find in the Asian aisle at the grocery store)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 5 radishes, sliced thinly
- 1/3 lb thin or medium width rice noodles, prepared according to the package directions, and then roughly chopped into smaller pieces
- 1 handful cilantro leaves
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 1 handful Thai basil or regular basil leaves
- 3 scallions, sliced
- lime wedges to garnish
Combine peanut butter, ketchup, 1/4 cup water, garlic powder, and soy sauce in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, and then stir to combine. Add a few more teaspoons of water until sauce reaches desired consistency. It will thicken up as it cools, so add more water, if needed.
Press the tofu: place a few paper towels on a plate, and place the tofu block on top of them. Put another plate on top, and place a heavy object (like a few cans) on top of it. Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes.
While tofu is pressing, prep the other ingredients (slice cabbage, prepare rice noodles, etc).
When tofu is pressed, slice thinly across the shorter side into about 16 equal slices. This does not have to be perfect. Place on a plate or in a bowl, and pour the soy sauce over them. Gently turn each slice of tofu in the sauce to coat. Set aside.
Prepare your work area with all of the toppings laid out in bowls or on a few plates. Get a large cutting board out as a work surface, and have a serving dish ready. Fill a 9x13" baking dish about halfway with very warm water.
Take the rice paper wrapper, and gently dip part of it into the warm water. Turn the paper, repeating the process, until the whole paper has been coated in water. Repeat one more time, quickly. The rice paper should still feel intact and pretty firm, and should not feel gelatinous (but it will soon become gelatinous!).
Place the wet rice paper wrapper down on the cutting board. Toward the upper middle part of the wrapper, place a few herb leaves down. Then take about 1 tablespoon or so of each of the vegetables, and cover the herbs, leaving at least a 1-1.5" border of rice paper in all directions. Top the veggies with a slice of tofu, and a "fingerful" of the cooked rice noodles (about 2-4 tablespoons--however much you'd like).
Now, we wrap the summer roll. It's kind of like wrapping a burrito, but stickier. Grab the upper portion of the wrapper; this would be 12:00, if looking at a clock. Pull it down tightly over the filling, really trying to make this as tight of a roll as possible. The wrapper should feel more gelatinous by now, and may be very sticky. Then fold each side of the wrapper over the filling (3:00 and 9:00, toward the middle), again trying to make it as tight as possible. Continue to tightly roll from the 12:00 to the 6:00 position, until you have a complete roll. Slice in half crosswise on a slight diagonal, and place on a serving platter.
(If the last step did not seem to go well, don't worry. Practice makes perfect!)
Repeat the summer roll preparation with the remaining rice paper wrappers and fillings until you have run out of supplies. You will likely be able to make more than just 10-12 rolls.
Serve the rolls with a wedge of lime and the peanut dipping sauce.