I’ve eaten a lot of spring rolls in my life but these have to be some of the best.
Why? A secret, crunchy ingredient: crispy sautéed shallot!
Inspired by the spring rolls at Elizabeth Street Cafe in Austin, these are the perfect rolls to serve alongside your favorite Vietnamese-inspired dishes (Banh Mi anyone?) or — with the addition of some tofu — they are definitely entrée worthy. Shall we?
Origins of Fresh Spring Rolls
Fresh spring rolls (also known as gỏi cuốn or summer rolls) are a common Vietnamese dish, but the concept is believed to have originated in China. It’s thought that they may be a modification from Chinese egg rolls, but with Vietnamese flavors.
They are typically made with fresh vegetables, herbs, and protein (such as tofu) that are wrapped in rehydrated rice paper and served with a dipping sauce.
How to Make Crispy Shallot Spring Rolls
These spring rolls require just 10 ingredients to make! They are a little more time intensive than my other spring rolls. But trust me — all the layers of flavor and texture at the end make it totally worth it!
Start by marinating pressed tofu in coconut aminos. Chili garlic sauce is optional and adds a nice amount of heat!
While that’s happening, you can coat your shallot in brown rice flour and salt and begin sautéing until crispy and brown. These are the piece de resistance in the rolls, so be sure to get them nice and golden brown!
And to cook the tofu, simply sear on both sides then transfer to the oven to continue cooking. This will ensure it firms up and browns to perfection. Swoon!
Now it’s time to assemble! Simply:
- Soften your rice paper in hot water
- Top with veggies, rice noodles, tofu, shallot, fresh herbs
- & Roll!
I recommend stacking all of the filling ingredients on top of each other — veggies on bottom, herbs on top — on the bottom third of the rice paper. Then fold the bottom of the rice paper over the fillings, tuck in the left side, tuck in the right side, and finally, roll away from you until the seams meet. Voila!
This process can take a little practice, but hopefully by roll 2 or 3 you’ll perfect the method!
We hope you LOVE these rolls! They’re:
Crispy from the shallot
& Totally delicious!
These would make the perfect side to Vietnamese-inspired dishes like pho (still working on a recipe!), or our Cauliflower Banh Mi Sandwiches! Pair with peanut sauce*, leftover coconut aminos marinade, or a vinegar-based dip like this one!
*Note: you can learn more about the origin of peanut sauce here.
Into spring rolls? Be sure to check out our Collard Green Spring Rolls with Sunbutter Dipping Sauce, Thai Spring Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce, Rainbow Spring Rolls with Ginger Peanut Sauce, and Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Crispy Tofu.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Crispy Shallot Spring Rolls with Seared Tofu
- 1 heaping cup thinly sliced shallot
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- ~2 Tbsp avocado oil (for cooking — if avoiding oil, omit and use a non-stick pan)
- 8 rice paper wrappers* (we like the Three Ladies brand)
- 1 ½ cups cooked thin rice noodles
- 1 cup fresh mint, cilantro, or Thai basil (mint is our favorite!)
- 4 cups thinly sliced/shredded veggies (such as bell pepper, carrot, radish)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) so you’re prepared to bake your seared tofu.
- Press tofu (see notes for methods) to drain out some of the moisture, then slice into thick long rectangles (see photo). Place in a shallow dish (or plastic/reusable bag) and add coconut aminos (start with the lesser amount and work your way up to coat) and chili garlic sauce or chili flake (optional). Toss / shake gently to coat and let marinate for 5 minutes.
- Heat a medium, oven-safe skillet (we prefer cast iron) over medium heat. Once hot, add avocado oil and tofu (reserving any leftover coconut aminos for dipping). Sear tofu for 4 minutes or until golden brown, then carefully flip with a fork or spatula for even cooking. Cook for 3 minutes, then transfer skillet to the preheated 400 degree F (204 C) oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking. Then set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, add thinly sliced shallot to a small mixing bowl and toss with brown rice flour and salt to coat. Heat a large skillet (we prefer cast iron) over medium / medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil and let it warm for 1 minute.
- Once the oil is hot (you can test by adding a piece of shallot — if it sizzles quickly, it’s ready), add shallot. If your pan isn’t able to comfortably fit all of the shallot, cook in 2 batches. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about 8-10 minutes). Then remove from heat and set in a small dish to cool.
- Prep vegetables and set aside. Then add rice noodles to a medium mixing bowl and top with just-boiling water. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Then drain and set aside.
- Prepare peanut sauce for serving (optional). Set aside.
- Prepare spring rolls: Add hot water to a wide shallow dish — wide enough to comfortably fit the spring roll papers. Add a single rice paper to the water and let soften for 30-45 seconds. Be careful not to soak too long or the papers can tear easily. It should feel pliable, but not too soft.
- Once softened, quickly transfer to a clean, flat surface that’s been dampened with a little water to prevent sticking. Carefully smooth edges without tugging too much. Then, to the bottom third of the rice paper, add a modest layer of radish, bell pepper, carrots, cooked rice noodles, tofu, and crispy shallot, and top with fresh herbs.
- To roll, tuck the bottom edge of the rice paper (closest to you) over the fillings. Then tuck the left side in over the center, followed by the right side over the center. Finally, roll forward and away from you until the roll meets the seam. Repeat with a freshly soaked rice paper until all fillings have been used up (about 8 rolls as the recipe is written).
- Enjoy immediately as is, or with peanut sauce and/or sriracha and chili garlic sauce (optional). Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Not freezer friendly.
NOTE: This recipe calls for 8 ounces extra firm tofu, which is roughly half of one 16-ounce block tofu.
*Not all rice papers are created equal. We prefer Three Ladies brand. It seems to hold up better than other brands (less tearing).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients and with 2 cups red bell pepper, 1 cup carrot, and 1 cup radish distributed evenly among the 8 spring rolls.