This is my kind of soul food.
The kind that’s fresh, filling, and loaded with flavor. And that doesn’t make you feel like crap afterwards. Now that’s (healthy) livin’.
I’ve made spring rolls before (<- yes, we have a cookbook!) but never with such an abundance of flavorful components and herbs.
Typically I leave my tofu raw, but not this time. I gave it a crispy edge by dredging it in cornstarch and sautéing it sesame oil. Then, I tossed it in my savory almond butter dipping sauce and gave it another flash “fry” in the pan.
The result was a tender, slightly crispy, perfectly seasoned tofu that’s way batter than raw without being too complicated.
Another new component is the dipping sauce.
Typically, Vietnamese spring rolls come with a vinegar-based sauce, but, sorry no. I just can’t pass up the opportunity to whip up a creamy nut-based sauce. They’re just way more savory, satisfying and sexy.
I love a good peanut sauce for spring rolls, but because peanuts can be a li’l hard to digest I went with almond butter as the base. Still so good and perfectly savory and sweet. What’s not to love?
These rolls are simple, fresh and filling. Inside you’ll find:
Super thin rice noodles
& Crispy almond butter tofu
And to take them from tasty to awesome, serve them with a fat serving of almond butter sauce. Who can resist?
You’re going to love these rolls. They’re
Perfect for warmer weather
Customizable by season
Vegan / GF
Make these rolls, OK? And share them with friends. If you don’t have friends, go make some by sharing these treats with them. They pack up nicely and store in the fridge super well for several days so pack them in your lunch and make all your coworkers jelly. Huzzah!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Crispy Tofu
- 1 1/2 cups julienned vegetables (such as carrots, red pepper, and cucumber)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 4 ounces vermicelli or rice noodles (the thinner the better)
- 8-10 whole spring roll rice papers
ALMOND BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE
- 1/3 cup salted creamy almond butter
- 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (tamari if gluten-free)
- 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar, agave, or honey if not vegan (depending on preferred sweetness)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
- Hot water (to thin)
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu (drained and thoroughly dried/pressed)
- 4 Tbsp sesame oil (divided)
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 Tbsp almond butter dipping sauce
- 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar or agave nectar
Start by preparing rice noodles in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes (read instructions on package), then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3 Tbsp cornstarch and flash fry in ~3 Tbsp sesame oil (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), flipping on all sides to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Prep veggies and prepare almond butter sauce by adding all sauce ingredients except water to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add enough hot water to thin until a pourable sauce is achieved. Adjust flavors as needed (I often add a little more chili garlic sauce and brown sugar).
To add more flavor to the tofu, transfer ~2.5 Tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and add an additional Tablespoon each of soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar or agave (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and whisk to combine.
Add tofu back to the skillet over medium heat and add “sauce/glaze,” stirring to coat. Cook for several minutes or until all of the sauce is absorbed and the tofu looks glazed, stirring frequently (see photos). Set aside with prepared veggies and vermicelli noodles.
To assemble spring rolls, pour very hot water into a shallow dish or skillet and immerse rice paper to soften for about 10-15 seconds.
Transfer to a damp cutting board or damp towel and gently spread out edges into a circle. It may take a little practice, so don’t feel bad if your first few attempts are a fail!
To the bottom third of the wrapper add a small handful of vermicelli noodles and layer carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, fresh herbs and 2-3 pieces of tofu on top (see photo). Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until seam is sealed.
Place seam-side down on a serving platter and cover with damp warm towel to keep fresh. Repeat until all fillings are used up – about 8-10 spring rolls total (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
Serve with almond butter sauce and sriracha or hot sauce of choice. I like to mix mine and go dip happy.
Leftovers store well individually wrapped in plastic wrap, though best when fresh.
*Inspired by the lovely Heidi at Foodie Crush
*Recipe makes 8 spring rolls.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1/2 cup each carrots, red bell pepper, and cucumber per 8 rolls, with the lesser amount of sugar, and with all of the dipping sauce.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 8 spring roll)
- Calories: 283
- Fat: 14.6g
- Saturated fat: 1.8g
- Sodium: 268mg
- Potassium: 259mg
- Carbohydrates: 32.1g
- Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 4.1g
- Protein: 7.8g
- Vitamin A: 2200IU
- Vitamin C: 14.9mg
- Calcium: 130mg
- Iron: 1.4mg