These tofu spring rolls are made of marinated tofu, rice vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, wrapped in rice paper. They are perfect for the summer and extra delish with some peanut sauce!
These tofu spring rolls are one of our favorite adaptations of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. Instead of using pork or shrimp in our fresh spring rolls, we added tofu that's been seared then marinated.
They're perfect as snacks or when you want a light meal, especially during the summer when it's ridiculously hot. Also, you can't forget the peanut sauce! Our must-have for these tofu spring rolls.
Ingredients you need to make these tofu spring rolls
These vegetarian spring rolls can be easily customized to your preference. Feel free to swap out the vegetables to the ones you prefer!
Main ingredients for these spring rolls:
- Rice paper - Round rice paper are classic for making fresh spring rolls. We used these extra large (31 centimeter) rice papers so that our tofu spring rolls are hefty and well wrapped. But you can use regular size rice paper as well, just reduce the amount of fillings used and cut the tofu logs a little thinner and shorter.
- Tofu - Firm or extra firm tofu are both good.
- Rice noodles - Can also be called rice sticks or rice vermicelli. We used this Wai Wai brand rice noodles, but you can use whichever one you prefer. Just make sure they're the thin ones!
- Vegetables - The fresh vegetables are can be customized to your preference. We recommend these vegetables for their different colors, flavors, and texture: cucumber, carrot, purple cabbage, and lettuce. The lettuce also acts as a wrap to keep the other vegetables together, making it easier to roll the spring rolls.
- Herbs - Cilantro and mint leaves are the most common herbs added to spring rolls. Feel free to use either or do without both.
For the tofu sauce/marinade:
- Soy sauce - Both regular or low sodium soy sauce are fine. We used Kikkoman's low sodium soy sauce.
- Sugar - You can use regular granulated sugar or honey for a healthier alternative.
- Garlic - Extra flavor for the sauce!
- Toasted sesame oil - This adds some toasty, nuttiness to the sauce. But you can do without sesame oil if you prefer.
- Oil (for searing the tofu)
For the peanut sauce:
- Hoisin sauce - The main flavoring in peanut sauce. Hoisin is a must.
- Peanut butter - Can't have peanut sauce without some kind of peanut! We recommend using creamy peanut butter. Feel free to adjust the amount of peanut butter used depending on how prominent you want the peanut flavor. It'll also make the sauce thicker if you use more.
- Water - For thinning out the peanut sauce. You can adjust the amount of water added to make your peanut sauce thicker or thinner.
- Crushed peanuts (optional to garnish the sauce)
What can I put inside of fresh vegetarian spring rolls?
Spring rolls are one of our favorite things to make because it's so customizable. So feel free to use any fresh vegetables you prefer. Our favorite fresh vegetables to include are cucumbers, purple cabbage, carrots, red and yellow bell pepper, and lettuce.
For the lettuce, you can use whatever lettuce you want. We recommend red or green leaf lettuce and butter lettuce. Romaine is good too, but the stems can sometimes poke through the rice paper.
How to make these tofu spring rolls
Make the marinated tofu:
1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. Set aside until needed.
2. Dry the block of tofu by patting it down with some paper towels. Cut the tofu block into 8 equal rectangular logs about ¾ inch thick and 4 to 5 inches long.
📝 Note: If you're using smaller size rice papers, make sure to cut the tofu into thinner, shorter logs.
3. In a pan over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil. You can use more as needed. Arrange the tofu logs in the pan and sear the four long sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the prepared sauce to the tofu. Let the tofu simmer in the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of glaze. Make sure to flip the tofu logs while simmering in the sauce to evenly coat the tofu.
5. Remove the pan and let the tofu cool until needed. If you have time, turn the tofu logs occasionally so that each side gets to marinate in the sauce.
Cook the rice noodles:
1. In a pot of boiling water, add the rice noodles. Cook the noodles until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes or according to the package instructions. Depending on the brand, cook time could differ.
2. Once the rice noodles are cooked, drain the noodles and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Drain well and, then divide the rice noodles into 8 portions. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the noodles if needed. Set aside until needed.
Assemble the tofu spring rolls:
Before starting, make sure to set up your fresh spring roll rolling station. Prepare a cutting board, a large bowl of room temperature water, and have all the spring roll fillings close by.
1. Wet both sides of the rice paper in the bowl of water. Then, place the rice paper on the cutting board.
🌟 Pro tip: We prefer plastic cutting boards because the rice paper is less likely to stick onto it. If you're using a wood cutting board, make sure to occasionally dampen it to prevent sticking.
2. Place a leaf of lettuce on the bottom half of the rice paper (the side closest to you) and arrange the rice noodles, marinated tofu, vegetables, and herbs on top of the lettuce.
3. Pull the bottom edge of the rice paper over the fillings, followed by folding the left and right edges towards the middle. Then, roll the spring roll tightly upwards to seal it. Keep the spring rolls wrapped/covered while working on the rest.
🌟 Pro tip: Don't let the spring rolls touch! They'll stick together and more than likely tear when you try to separate it.
How to make the peanut dipping sauce
In a microwavable bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce and peanut butter. Then, add the water and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl and microwave for 15 to 30 seconds or until the sauce just starts to bubble. Give it stir and set aside.
You could also heat up the sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop until hot.
- Don't skip searing the tofu! Pan searing the tofu not only add more texture to the tofu, it also help the tofu soak up more marinade/sauce, which means more flavor!
- Dry the vegetables and rice noodles before using. Make sure to drain the rice noodles and dry the lettuce well before using. Too much excess moisture can make the rice paper lose its texture and become mushy and soggy.
- Keep the fresh spring rolls covered. The rice paper will dry up as it sits, exposed to the air. So make sure to keep them covered or wrapped with plastic wrap while working on the rest of the spring rolls.
- Don't let the spring rolls touch! They'll stick together.
These tofu spring rolls, and spring rolls in general, are best eaten within a few hours of making. Refrigerating them or letting them sit out for too long tends to dry out the rice paper, making them dry and hard.
However, you can totally prepare the spring roll fillings ahead of time. For example, the marinated tofu can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.
If you do end up refrigerating leftover spring rolls, you can lightly heat them up in the microwave for about 30 seconds. It'll soften the rice paper a little but the texture will not be the same.
We highly recommend either firm or extra firm tofu for these tofu spring rolls. They're more sturdy and can soak up more sauce after searing.
Fresh spring rolls are sometimes called summer rolls and "salad" rolls. They're made with fresh ingredients like fresh vegetables, making them perfect for the summer.
Wet rice papers are quite sticky. So to prevent fresh spring rolls from sticking together, don't let them touch! Leave a gap between each roll or wrap each spring roll individually with plastic wrap.
Although you can prepare the filling for these tofu spring rolls ahead of time, it is best to enjoy the spring rolls within a few hours of making.
If you’ve made this recipe or any recipes from our blog, please tag us on Instagram using #twoplaidaprons! You can also tag us in your Instagram stories using @two_plaid_aprons. We would love to see your creations! It absolutely makes our day! 🥰
Tofu Spring Rolls
For the main ingredients:
- 8 sheets 31cm rice paper (if using smaller size, cut the tofu thinner and adjust the amount of filling accordingly)
- 14 ounces firm tofu (usually 1 block)
- 8 leaves lettuce any lettuce of your choice (if using large lettuce, cut to the length of spring roll)
- 3.3 ounces thin rice noodle (sometimes called rice stick or rice vermicelli)
- ½ english cucumber julienned or cut into thick ¼ inch sticks
- 3 ounces purple cabbage shredded (about 3 leaves)
- ½ large carrot peeled and julienned
- Cilantro or mint leaves (optional)
For the tofu sauce/marinade:
For the peanut sauce:
- In a microwaveable bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce and peanut butter. Add the water and mix until well combined.
- Cover the bowl eat the sauce in the microwave until hot and just starting to bubble, about 15 to 30 seconds depending on your microwave. Stir the sauce to make sure that it's evenly combined and garnish with crushed peanuts if you want. Set aside until needed.*You can also heat the peanut sauce in a saucepan if you prefer.*
For the marinated tofu:
- In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. Set aside until needed.
- Drain then dry the tofu block by patting it with clean paper towels. Cut it into 8 equal rectangular logs the length of your spring rolls, about ¾ inch thick and about 5 to 6 inches long.*If you are using smaller size rice paper, cut the tofu block into a bit thinner, shorter logs.*
- In a pan over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil or enough to just coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu logs in to the oil and sear the 4 main sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
- Once the tofu logs are done searing, add the prepared marinade/sauce and reduce the heat to medium. Let the tofu simmer in the sauce for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens, like a glaze. Make sure to flip the tofu logs while simmering in the sauce so that every side get to soak up some sauce.
- Remove the pan off the heat and set the tofu aside to let cool until needed.
For the rice noodles:
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add the rice noodles. Stir the rice noodles around to submerge it. Let the noodles cook for 2 to 3 minutes or according to package instructions, until it's tender.
- Drain the noodles and thoroughly rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Make sure to drain well then divide the noodles into 8 equal portions. Set aside for spring roll assembly.
To assemble the tofu spring rolls:
- Prepare a large bowl of room temperature water and set up your spring roll assembly station. Also prepare a plate or tray with plastic wrap. Make sure to all have the ingredients in front of you, including the rice papers, tofu, rice noodles, and all the vegetables.
- Wet the entire rice paper in the bowl of water and place it on the cutting board. Place a leaf of lettuce on the bottom half of the rice paper (the half closest to you). On top of the lettuce, add the rice noodles then the marinated tofu. Then, place a little bit of all the vegetables (or your desired amount) on top. Finish with a couple sprigs of cilantro or a few leaves of mint.*Try to keep everything as neat as possible so that it'll look really pretty when you cut the spring rolls open.*
- Fold the bottom edge of the rice paper over the spring roll fillings then fold both the left and right edge towards the middle. Then tightly roll the spring roll towards the top edge to seal.*Refer to the post for photo reference!*
- Place the spring roll on the plate and cover with the plastic wrap. This will prevent the rice paper wrapper from drying out and becoming hard while you're making more spring rolls. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrapper and ingredients.
- Enjoy the spring rolls whole or cut in half with the peanut sauce!
- Depending on the size of rice paper you use, you'll need to adjust the amount of filling and how big to cut the tofu logs.
- Please feel free to substitute the vegetables for the ones you prefer. This recipe is super customizable!