Fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce are one of my favourite lunch recipes! With fresh vegetables, tofu and a creamy peanut sauce, this is a nutritionally balanced and incredibly tasty vegan lunch option. Fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce are also a perfect choice for a family meal because everyone can select the specific ingredients they enjoy to put into their rolls!
In my house, we like to enjoy these vegan spring rolls in a similar style to a taco night. After the ingredients are prepared, we lay them out on the table and roll our fresh spring rolls as we go. Each one can include a different variety of ingredients for different flavours and textures!
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Filling Options for Fresh Vegan Spring Rolls
There are probably hundreds of ways to make fresh spring rolls. Essentially all you need is a selection of vegetables, a protein option and some delicious vegan peanut sauce.
This recipe for fresh vegan spring rolls includes:
- Red bell pepper
- Shredded carrots
- Raw coleslaw mix
- Marinated baked tofu
Some other tasty options for filling your fresh vegan spring rolls are:
- Cooked sweet potato
- Your favourite leafy green vegetables
- Purple cabbage
- Finely diced broccoli
- Green/ orange/ yellow bell peppers
- Zucchini and/ or yellow summer squash
- Fresh parsley and/ or basil
- Chopped peanuts
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Bean sprouts
- Onion (red, white or green/ spring onions)
- White and/ or black sesame seeds
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Fresh vegan springs rolls are a perfect way to use up produce that might be on its way out because really, anything goes!
Making Fresh Spring Rolls a Nutritionally Balanced Vegan Recipe
Luckily it’s easy to check off healthy fats from this list since we are using a peanut sauce that will be packed with healthy fats. It’s also easy to check vegetables off the list as a good fresh spring roll will include at least a couple different vegetable options. Aim for a few different colours of vegetables if you can as this often provides the most variety of nutrients and other beneficial compounds like antioxidants!
The vegetables I’ve selected for this recipe are all lower in carbohydrates but will provide some good carbs. I often like to include some cooked sweet potato to my fresh spring rolls for an additional boost of tasty carbohydrates.
Ensuring Adequate Protein in Vegan Fresh Spring Rolls
It is possible to also use the peanut sauce as the protein source for these vegan fresh spring rolls. However, while peanuts do contain protein, it can be helpful to include another ingredient that has a higher concentration of protein in it. Protein will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied which is really important, especially for a lunch meal that needs to provide energy for the afternoon!
Adding some marinated baked tofu to these spring rolls will increase the protein content and the flavour! If you don’t have time to marinate the tofu, another option is to slice it thinly and brush each side with hoisin sauce. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes (full directions for making tofu this way can be found in my recipe for high protein vegan sushi bowls).
Additionally, if you are really short on time, the tofu can be quickly pan fried in a non-stick pan until both sides are golden brown. In a good non-stick pan you shouldn’t need to add any oil but if you prefer the flavour oil brings that’s okay too!
Time Saving Tips for Making Vegan Rice Paper Spring Rolls
Sometimes I go through phases where I think preparing fresh springs rolls is too much work. However, every time I actually go to make them I find it’s a very reasonable amount of prep given how delicious spring rolls are.
My best tip for saving time prepping vegetables is to use a store-bought coleslaw mix. Coleslaw mix will typically include green cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots so you already have 3 vegetables prepped for you! The grocery store I shop at also includes broccoli stems shredded into their coleslaw mix along with either kale or yellow beets. I really love these pre-made mixes because they are such a time saver.
If you are really short on time, some coleslaw mix, tofu and peanut sauce is all you need to make a tasty fresh vegan spring roll.
How to Assemble Vegan Spring Rolls in Rice Paper
To assemble you will need two large plates, one of which will need an edge to it. Fill the plate that has an edge with room temperature water. Place a rice paper sheet into the water and let it soak for about 5 seconds, making sure the whole sheet gets covered in water. Remove the rice paper sheet from the water and set it carefully onto the empty plate.
Place your vegetables and tofu in the center of the rice paper, closer to the bottom edge and leaving space on either side so the edges can be folded in. While you fill the roll, the rice paper will continue to soften.
Fold either edge over the ends of the filling, inwards towards the center.
Carefully pick up the bottom edge of the rice paper closest to you and roll it away from yourself, over the filling. Try and tuck this edge completely around the filling and keep rolling until you reach the other edge. Set the roll aside and continue with your other rolls.
Make Eating Fresh Spring Rolls Easier
In the photos I have the peanut sauce on the side for dipping. This can make eating the fresh spring rolls a bit challenging. I personally prefer to put the peanut sauce directly into the roll with the filling, that way you don’t have to worry about dipping!
Also, if you like things spicy, adding some extra hot sauce to the filling is a great option.
Can you Prepare Vegan Rice Paper Spring Rolls in Advance?
I recommend only assembling the number of fresh spring rolls you are going to eat in that sitting, especially if you are putting the peanut sauce into the rolls. If you let the rolls sit for too long in the fridge, the rice paper will eventually get soggy and fall apart.
These fresh vegan spring rolls can be a good packed lunch however you will want to prepare all the filling ingredients in advance. Then, each night, roll 3-4 (or however many you want for lunch) and pack those away for the next day. One night isn’t long enough for the rice paper to fall apart (at least in my experience). While putting the sauce in the roll makes eating them easier to eat, it’s best to leave the peanut sauce on the side if packing these for a lunch.
Another good tip for packing fresh vegan spring rolls for lunch is to use something to keep each roll separate in the container. The rice paper sticks to itself so stacking rolls together can make it tricky to pull them apart to eat and you won’t want the rice paper ripping as you try to do this. Paper towel works nicely as a barrier between rolls.
Let me know how your fresh vegan spring rolls turn out. What are your favourite ingredients to use as a filling in spring rolls?!
Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- Cutting Board
- 1 batch marinated baked tofu
- 12-15 sheets rice paper
- ½ C carrot thinly sliced
- ½ C cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 C lettuce shredded (or use a coleslaw mix)
- ¼ C cilantro leaves
- Prepare the tofu.
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a container or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the sauce is well mixed. Taste and adjust to your preferences.
- Fill a plate with room temperature water. Soak a sheet of rice paper in the water for 20-30 seconds. Take the soaked rice paper onto another plate.
- Align the vegetables and tofu into a log shape in the center of the rice paper.
- Fold either side of the rice paper over the ends of the filling, inwards towards the center. Carefully pick up the bottom edge of the rice paper closest to you and roll it away from yourself, over the filling. Try and tuck this edge completely around the filling and keep rolling until you reach the other edge. Set the roll aside and continue with your other rolls.
- Serve with peanut sauce.