Pad Thai to-go, anyone? I thought you’d be on board…
Pad Thai has been one of our favorite dishes for years and I make it frequently when we’re craving a hearty, plant-based meal. You can learn more about this delicious dish and its origin here.
As much as I love it, Pad Thai can be a bit complicated and time consuming. But by morphing it into a spring roll and eliminating any unnecessary ingredients, I’ve whittled this down into a portable, easy, downright delicious meal.
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 that are wrapped in rehydrated rice paper and served with a dipping sauce.
How to Make Pad Thai Spring Rolls
This recipe is simple, requiring just 10 ingredients and roughly 1 hour to make! It’s also extremely hearty and will please the hungriest of guests. Bonus? It’s versatile.
If you aren’t into tofu, sub your favorite protein. If you don’t like spicy, leave out the chili garlic sauce. Need something for dipping? Throw in one of my three (yes, three) sauce options.
In other words, I’ve got you covered.
The star of the rolls, in my opinion, is the crispy baked tofu that sautés up beautifully in a bit of my 5-ingredient Pad Thai sauce. But coming in a close second is the rice noodles sautéed to sticky, spicy-sweet perfection before being stuffed into spring roll wrappers.
These rolls really are delicious on their own. But when served with a little additional chili garlic sauce, Sriracha, or peanut sauce, it’s elevated to a new level of awesome.
I hope you guys LOVE these spring rolls! They’re:
Packed with fresh herbs + carrots
& Downright delicious
I think these would make the perfect meal for when you want something substantial yet healthy. And if you can’t eat them all, leftovers keep well for a few days making them an ideal picnic, take-along lunch, or road trip food.
If you give these a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see! We love seeing our recipes come to life in your kitchens. Cheers, friends!
Pad Thai Spring Rolls
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 8 ounces white or brown rice noodles
- 8-10 white or brown rice spring roll papers (I love Banh Trang brand)
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro
- 3 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (I love this brand)
- 3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (plus more for tofu)
- 3-4 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (or sub brown sugar or honey if not vegan)
- 1/2 medium lime (juiced // 1/2 lime yields ~1 Tbsp or 15 ml)
- 1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I love this brand // plus more for tofu)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wrap tofu in a clean towel. Set something heavy on top – such as a cast iron pan – to press out liquid for 15 minutes. Then cut into 1/2-inch wide rectangular strips.
- Arrange tofu on the baking sheet, giving each piece some space so it can firm up. Bake for 28-30 minutes to dry and firm the tofu. For softer tofu, bake for 20 minutes. For firmer, bake for 30-35 minutes. Set aside.
- In the meantime, prep carrots, cilantro, and cook rice noodles according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
- To make the sauce, add tamarind, tamari, coconut sugar, lime and chili garlic sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once it begins bubbling, lower heat to low and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari or soy sauce for saltiness, chili garlic for heat, coconut sugar or maple syrup for sweetness, or lime for acidity. You want it pretty flavorful with a balance of salty, sweet and sour, so don’t be shy! Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add baked tofu and 1 tsp each chili garlic sauce and tamari or soy sauce, plus 1 Tbsp of the Pad Thai sauce (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Sauté, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add cooked noodles to the still-hot pan over medium heat and add remaining Pad Thai sauce. Use tongs to disperse sauce and toss noodles. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Assemble a station for preparing the spring rolls with a shallow bowl or plate (for dunking the rice paper), bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil (to cook the rice paper with), and a clean work surface (such as a large cutting board).
- Gather all ingredients and add hot water to the shallow bowl or pan. Let it cool for 1-2 minutes, then add 1 rice paper at a time and cook/soften for 45 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll know it’s ready when you touch it and it swirls around in the water.
- Lift and let excess water drip off, then transfer to your clean work surface. Top with pad thai noodles, tofu, carrots and cilantro, then roll over once, tuck in sides, and continue rolling all the way up. Place seam-side down on a serving plate or baking sheet and cover with a damp, room temperature towel to keep fresh.
- Continue until all spring rolls are prepared – about 8 (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- Serve as is with a bit more chili garlic sauce or Sriracha! Another great addition is peanut, almond, or cashew butter sauce (see links to variations/recipes above).
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.