These Vegan Summer Rolls are a light and fresh no-cook lunch idea—they're filled with lots of flavourful herbs and veggies!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Rice paper wrappers – you could use spring roll wrappers instead, but you’ll need to soak them in warm water for a few minutes instead of 5 seconds.
- Red cabbage – swap out for another cabbage of your choice or even bok choy.
- Cucumber – zucchini would also be good.
- Carrot matchsticks – add some celery instead for a bit of crunch.
- Red pepper – substitute for another colour bell pepper like yellow or orange pepper.
- Cilantro – leave this out if you’re not a fan of cilantro.
- Mint – parsley or extra basil can be used instead.
- Basil – use oregano, extra mint or thyme if you don’t have any basil.
- Sweet chili sauce – you could also use a combination of hot sauce and honey, or plum sauce and hot sauce.
- Extra-firm tofu – if you’re not a fan of tofu, make these summer rolls with cooked shrimp or ground pork for a non-vegan option.
- Low sodium soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best substitutes here.
- Apple cider vinegar – red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar would also work.
- Sesame oil – use a neutral cooking oil like sunflower oil instead.
How to make summer rolls
Step 1: Squeeze moisture out of the tofu.
Place the tofu on a plate between two kitchen towels, and use a heavy object to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Step 2: Marinate the tofu.
Cut the tofu into strips then marinate it in water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and sesame oil.
Step 3: Prep the veggies.
Step 4: Wet the rice paper wrappers.
Dip the rice paper wrappers in warm water for about 5 seconds to soften them.
Step 5: Wrap your summer rolls.
Add a small amount of each topping to the centre of the rice paper wrapper, then tuck in the ends and roll away from you until tightly wrapped.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Dip the rolls in sweet chili sauce then serve and enjoy.
How to wrap the rolls
There are a couple tricks to properly wrapping your summer rolls! It might seem tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy.
- Dip the rice paper in warm water: This will make the rice paper flexible enough for rolling. Dip the rice paper in warm water for about 5 seconds, then place it on a cutting board. Make sure the water’s not too hot, or the rice paper will start to fall apart.
- Don’t overstuff the rolls: If you add too much filling to the rolls, you won’t be able to roll them properly. Ensure you’re adding just a small amount of each ingredient to the centre of the roll – this recipe will make 16 rolls, so keep that in mind when dividing up the ingredients.
- Roll it like a burrito: When you’re rolling your summer rolls, you want to roll it like you would a burrito. Tuck the ends in on each side, then roll it away from you until it’s all wrapped up. Make sure you’re rolling it nice and tight.
Frequently Asked Questions
I love serving these summer rolls with sweet chili sauce, but if you’re not a fan of spice, you could also try serving them with a peanut dipping sauce. They’re a full lunch on their own, but if you want to serve a smaller portion as a side dish, they’d go great with these Grilled Chicken Satay Meal Prep Bowls or these Shrimp Fajitas.
Feel free to get creative when it comes to the filling for these rolls! You can add in any other veggies of your choice like zucchini, lettuce or even rice noodles. My recipe contains tofu to make them vegan, but if you’re not following a vegan diet, you could swap out the marinated tofu for cooked shrimp or ground pork.
Dip the rice paper wrappers in warm water for about 5 seconds to make them flexible. Make sure you don’t oversoak them and don’t use hot water, or the wrappers will start to fall apart.
These summer rolls are best served fresh and shouldn’t be made more than two hours before serving. If you’re planning on making these rolls for a party, you can marinate the tofu and prep the veggies the day before, then store everything in airtight glass containers. When you’re ready to serve your rolls, all you have to do is wrap them up in the rice paper and dig in.
This summer roll recipe has 415 calories per serving. Each serving contains four rolls, so it’s a light but filling lunch idea!
Prepping the rolls ahead of time
You can make these rolls up to two hours in advance and store them in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Anything more than that and the rolls will start to get soggy. If you want to make them ahead of time, I’d recommend prepping all the components of this recipe beforehand.
Squeeze the excess moisture out of the tofu, cut it up into strips and store it in the marinade in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also chop up all the veggies and store them in glass bowls in the fridge. When you’re ready to make your summer rolls, all you have to do is wet the rice paper wrappers and wrap them up!
Freezing the tofu
While you can’t freeze this summer rolls recipe whole, you can freeze the raw tofu to use at a later date. After you’re squeezed out all the moisture and cut the tofu into strips, freeze it in the marinade in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container for up to 3 months. The night before you want to use it, let it defrost in the fridge overnight and then use it to make your fresh rolls or another tofu recipe of your choice.
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Vegan Summer Rolls + Sweet Chili Sauce
- 16 rice paper wrappers
- 1 cup red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 cup cucumber cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks or grated carrot
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup mint chopped
- 1/2 cup basil chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce to serve
- 1 block extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1 inch strips
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari if gluten-free
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil or sunflower oil
- Add block of tofu to a large plate in between two clean kitchen towels. Add a heavy object such as a large textbook over tofu to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Cut tofu into thin 1-inch strips, then mix up water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add tofu strips and let sit for 20 minutes, gently tossing occasionally for flavours to sink in. Discard liquid when done marinating.
- Meanwhile, while tofu is marinating, prepare veggies.
- Soften rice paper wraps in a shallow, large bowl of warm water (like a pasta bowl), dipping for 5 seconds before removing and placing on a large cutting board.
- Add a small amount of each veggie/herb/tofu to the center of your wrap, tucking the ends in and rolling away from you until tucked and wrapped. Dip rolls in sweet chili sauce, then serve and enjoy!