Vietnamese Salad Rolls are colorful, healthy, easy to make, and a delicious appetizer or light entrée. These Vietnamese Salad Rolls contain rice noodles, quick pickled carrots, other veggies, and herbs—they’re vegan!
Serve Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Vietnamese peanut sauce for a crave-worthy appetizer or light entrée.
What are Vietnamese Salad rolls?
Vietnamese Salad Rolls are rice paper wrappers rolled up around cooked rice noodles or rice vermicelli, vegetables, fresh herbs, and other ingredients like tofu (these summer rolls are vegan, but shrimp and pork are common non-vegetarian fillings!).
These vegan rolls contain rice noodles, shredded cabbage, quick pickled carrots, cucumber, fresh mint, and cilantro.
If you want, you can add edible flowers, which make the rolls especially beautiful. You can also add marinated and baked or fried tofu or other ingredients for added protein, flavor, and texture.
What is the difference between Vietnamese Salad rolls, spring rolls, egg rolls, etc?
These fresh rolls are often called fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls, or summer rolls. People use these terms interchangeably but they are actually all unique (okay, Vietnamese Salad Rolls and Vietnamese Summer Rolls are interchangeable).
Spring rolls are Chinese and they use a very thin wheat-flour-and-water wrapper. The filling is usually a combo of vegetables like shredded cabbage and bean sprouts and they often also contain shrimp, pork, or other meat.
If you’re now wondering if Chinese spring rolls and egg rolls are the same thing, you’re not alone. Egg rolls are an American version of spring rolls, invented by a Chinese chef in New York City in the 1930s. Egg roll wrappers contain egg, making them thicker than spring roll wrappers.
Vietnamese spring rolls are similar to summer or salad rolls—rice paper wrappers filled with rice vermicelli noodles, veggies, and sometimes meat or seafood. But unlike salad rolls or summer rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls are deep-fried and served with a sweet chile dipping sauce.
Vietnamese Salad Rolls or Summer Rolls are really a fresh spring roll. They are not cooked after being filled. The wrappers are made of rice paper (rice and water). Each rice paper sheet contains a filling of very thin rice vermicelli noodles, herbs, vegetables, and sometimes shrimp and/or pork (this recipe is vegan). They are usually served with peanut dipping sauce or a hoisin sauce and peanut butter dipping sauce.
What are rice paper wrappers and where do you get them?
Rice paper wrappers are very thin, circular sheets made of rice, water, and salt. You can find them in the dry noodle section of Asian supermarkets or grocery stores and in some standard supermarkets. You can use them to make Vietnamese salad rolls, Vietnamese summer rolls, or Vietnamese spring rolls.
A bonus of these Vietnamese rice paper wrappers is that they are gluten free.
If you can’t find rice paper wrappers in your area, you can order them online. I like the Three Ladies Rice Paper Wrappers.
How do you soften rice paper sheets?
Rice wrappers need to rehydrate before use. A quick soak in warm water makes them nice and pliable and easy to fill and roll.
To rehydrate or soften the rice paper sheets, fill a bowl with warm water (I use warm tap water). Soak the rice wrappers in the warm water for about 10 seconds.
I like to use a wide, shallow bowl so that the rice wrapper can lay flat while it soaks. Be careful not to leave them in too long or they will fall apart when you try to roll them.
What ingredients do you need?
You can put all kinds of thinly sliced veggies or other ingredients like tofu, egg, shrimp, or meat in these Vietnamese salad rolls.
- Rice paper wrappers
- Quick pickled carrots (carrots, rice vinegar, sugar, salt)
- Rice vermicelli noodles
- Green leaf lettuce
How do you make them?
These Vietnamese salad rolls are easier to make than they look—and there’s no cooking involved! They’re perfect for a hot day (I guess that’s why they call them summer rolls?!)
- First, quick pickle the carrots by putting them in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and water and letting them stand for an hour or so.
- Soak or cook the noodles as directed on the package and prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Put warm water in a shallow bowl that is wide enough to lay the rice paper wrappers in.
- Place one rice paper wrapper in the water at a time and let stand for 10 to 15 seconds, until it is pliable but not so soft that it is hard to work with.
- Lay the soaked wrapper on a plate or cutting board and top with a piece of lettuce in the center. Add the other veggies, including the pickled carrots and herbs, on top of the lettuce leaf. Finally, add some of the noodles.
- Fold one side of the wrapper over the filling, then the other. Carefully roll the wrapper up around the filling (the folded over sides will hold the filling in on the ends) making it as tight as you can without tearing the wrapper. Place eacy filled roll on a platter, seam-side down.
- Repeat this process you use all of the filling and wrapers.
- To serve, cut each in half and serve with peanut sauce for dipping.
What do you serve with them?
These vegetarian salad rolls are a great appetizer or a light entrée. Peanut dipping sauce is the traditional accompaniment. My 6-Ingredient Vietnamese Peanut Sauce is quick and easy to make and it’s a must for dipping.
If you love Vietnamese food, try this Thit Kho as a main dish to follow up this light vegetarian appetizer.
I often serve these salad rolls as part of a snacky dinner that might include Green Papaya Salad, Thai Curry, Larb, or Satay. Or serve as a starter before Singapore Noodles, Beef Yakisoba, or Shrimp Yakisoba.
Vietnamese Salad Rolls
For the pickled carrots:
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into thin sticks
- 1 ⁄2 cup of white vinegar 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 ⁄2 tsp of salt
- 1 ⁄2 cup of water
For the spring rolls
- 10 rice paper wrappers
- 4 ounces 120 grams thin rice noodles or rice vermicelli
- 3 ⁄4 cucumber cut into thin sticks
- 1 ⁄2 cup of shredded cabbage
- 10 small lettuce leaves
- 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves optional
- Edible flowers optional
- First, make the pickled carrots. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, water, salt, and vinegar. Add the carrots to the mixture, toss to coat well, and then let the carrots soak for at least 1 hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the noodles according to the
- Fill a wide, shallow bowl with about 1 inch of warm water. Soak one wrapper at a time in the warm water for 10 to 15 seconds, just until it becomes soft and pliable.
- Transfer the wrapper to a plate or cutting board and add a
lettuce leaf on top in the center. Next add a few carrot sticks, a few cucumber sticks, some of the shredded cabbage, some of the noodles, and then a few leaves of mint and cilantro. Add edible flowers, too, if using.
- Fold one side of the rice paper wrapper over the filling and
then the other side. Roll the wrapper up around the filling, making sure it is tight, but being careful not to tear the wrapper.
- Set the filled rolls on a platter, seam side down.
- Repeat this process until all of the filling and wrappers have been used up.
- To serve, cut each roll in half. Garnish with extra herbs and edible flowers, if you like.
- Serve immediately with peanut sauce for dipping.