Vaguely Vietnamese Summer Rolls

I know, I know…late for the train again. I seem to be a few steps behind at the moment when it comes to food fashion, but I get there in the end. And then, like the woman who still thinks shoulder pads should come with t-shirts (what…me with the sloping shoulders?!) I’ll keep trotting out my “new food discovery” for years to come!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls 005

Summer, even in England this year, makes us want lighter more refreshing foods and a trip round the local Caribbean/Asian store rummaging for new foodstuffs resulted in the purchase of some rice paper wrappers. Summer Rolls – enjoyed from time to time in restaurants but never made – it seemed like an obvious choice.

When I decide to make something, I behave in the same way as I do if I have made the purchase of a new gadget or a pair of shoes. I have to use/wear them straight away. All the recipes for Vietnamese Summer rolls seemed to call for minced pork or prawns. Which would have been lovely if I’d had them, but I had avocado so I went for an (almost) vegetarian/vegan version. They would have been properly veggie/vegan if I’d left out the fish sauce.

Most of the recipes did seem to agree that you can pretty much do what you like and were rather loose on quantities. I just boiled up some fine rice noodles, finely sliced an avocado and made up a batch of finely sliced vegetables then kept rolling until I ran out – 9 rolls later.


  • Rice paper wrappers
  • Finely sliced vegetables (I used a piece of red pepper, half a large carrot, one spring onion, 2 leaves of Chinese cabbage and about a third of a courgette) mixed with some finely chopped mint, coriander and basil and a splash of fish sauce and the juice of half a lime
  • Rice noodles soaked in hot water until soft (I used one block which gave me about a cup and a half)

For the peanut dipping sauce

  • 2 heaped teaspoons of smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • The juice of half a lime
  • A pinch of sugar

Get a little production line ready with a bowl of warm water big enough to hold your rice wrappers, a plate with a folded tea towel on top, your various filling ingredients, a clean plate to put the finished rolls onto and a few pieces of wet kitchen paper (or a damp cloth) to cover the rolls with to stop them drying out.

Dip a wrapper in the water and gently rub until it is transparent and soft (mine took less than 30 seconds). They are fragile but not overly so. Lay the wrapper on the plate with the clean tea towel.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls 001

Place your various fillings in the centre of the wrapper, piled on top of each other) then roll the top of the wrapper over the fillings, fold in the sides to seal and then roll the bottom half of the wrapper up. As the wrapper is still wet it will seal and keep the filling in. Place the completed roll on the serving plate and cover with a damp cloth or kitchen paper.

To make the dipping sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together. I also served the rolls with some sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Fiddly, but not too challenging, and fun to make. Healthy, delicious and surprisingly filling. Result all round!


51 thoughts on “Vaguely Vietnamese Summer Rolls

  1. I’m late for the train on a lot of things lately, not just food – I will hopefully also get there in the end. These vaguely Vietnamese summer rolls would definitely help me a long. Scrumptious Tanya – think I might even like the peanut sauce.
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. Hahaha I also have the urge to use anything new straight away, I used to leave the shoe store with my new shoes on when I was a child . These Vietnamese rolls look so yummy! I find the rice paper difficult to handle, but now after your picture I think I’ll need to give it another try! 😄

  3. I have to confess that I could eat at least half that plate of summer rolls. I do love them and they are well named in that they’re perfect this time of year. My husband would especially like yours as they don’t have shrimp in them. I’ve never made any, but maybe I need to give them a try!

  4. These do sound really perfect for summer! I haven’t eaten a ton of summer rolls, but every time I do, I enjoy them—I tend to prefer them to the heavily fried rolls and things.

  5. Sometimes I think you’re in my head, Tanya, as your posts are always so timely to what I want to eat! Kari posted photos of vegan rice paper rolls in her IMK post, and I’ve been craving them ever since and here you are with a recipe for me! Yours look delicious – avocado is a new and delicious twist! 🙂

  6. Have just made rice paper wraps for my son’s school lunch. He has them once a week though I leave out the dipping sauce and drizzle a sweet chilli sauce over the filling before wrapping. I use crushed peanuts as the crunch in the wraps to add another texture.

  7. Why call these ‘vaguely Vietnamese’ when you could happily sell them on a Saigon street corner? Personally love the ‘dish’ and make’ the ‘dish’ summer and winter . . . healthy, tasty and fun!! Well, our official spring is but a month away . . . . and a glass of sauv blanc and a few of these would make a very happy ‘tweens lunch’ . . .

  8. I’m going to make some of those. They look decidedly “me”.

    I nearly bought some rice paper wrappers last week [for the first time].
    I must have been tuning in to this recipe coming up.

  9. This is one of our favourite summer meals Tanya. A big plate full of sliced up veggies, herbs, noodles, shredded roast chicken and sauces go in the middle of the table and everyone makes up their own. Love the interactive, MYO dinner! 🙂

  10. I, too, remember the shoulder pads in t-shirts. I reckon they’ll be back soon, don’t you? 😉 And the spring rolls look great. Some classics never go out of style.

  11. Late? Ha! You’re way ahead of me, Tanya. I love spring rolls but have yet to make one and envision myself sitting at my kitchen table with a pile of mangled rice papers in front of me and a mess of ingredients sprawled about. Fiddly and this Bartolini do not play well together. Besides, late or early, all that really matters is how something tastes. I bet your spring rolls taste great.

    1. When I made them Big Man was watching from the sidelines – I tried to get him to join in but he has hands like shovels so he declined….I don’t think we’d have eaten if he had attempted them!

  12. I’ve got a package of rice papers in my pantry. I like your idea of using avocado in them…soft and tasty against the crisp veggies.

  13. “SCORE!” I have lots of recipes for vegan “fish” sauce and I have a packet of these rice paper wrappers in my pantry from when Adam wore short pants (we Aussies lerve our Asian tucker) and you sold me when I saw avocado included. I adore avocado’s :). I just got some Korean sweet potato noodles that I might try out in this recipe and I would probably fry some tofu sticks (or batter them…LOVE beer batter 😉 ) and lay them reverently alongside the thin sliced veggie goodness. Still got some carrot and broccoli stem (broccoli stems…the claytons daikon 😉 ) Japanese pickles kicking around in the fridge so might add some of them as well. This is an exciting way to resuscitate those limp veggies in the crisper Ms Chica. Excellent summery share 🙂

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