Looking for a healthy lunch idea?
This Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe is a light and healthful dish packed with vegetables, lean beef, and shrimp so you can eat without feeling guilty.
Spring rolls are the perfect choice! I first learned how to make spring rolls last year and have continued to make them habitually ever since. I've always admired the natural flavors of the vegetable medleys with a little added protein on the side. In terms of protein choice, I regularly like to opt in for shrimp, but there are a variety of other options to choose from like beef and pork. And even if you want to keep it more simple and go full out vegetarian, the options are endless.
When making spring rolls, you need one main ingredient: Rice Paper. Rice paper is made from rice and water and can be used for a variety of purposes. There are over five brands of this material in one Vietnamese market. All of the packaging is available in Vietnamese, Chinese, English, and French, but my favorite high quality brand, is Three Ladies.
Adding rice noodles to your mix is also a great choice. Just keep in mind that this will make the dish a little more carb forward. And once again, Three Ladies is the way to go.
- Rice Paper
- Green Onions
- Hoisin Sauce
- Black Pepper
- Vermicelli noodles (optional)
- Shrimp (optional)
- Pork (optional)
- Beef (optional)
- Wooden cutting board
- Cutting Knife
- Wide frying pan
1.) The first thing you'll want to do is to prepare all your vegetables so that they are ready to grab when filling your roll. Spring rolls are an art, and in order to achieve a beautiful presentation, you must cut the vegetables in a specific way is key.
Carrots: Cut very thin, long slices
Lettuce: Cut in a shredded style
Green Onions: Cut horizontally to create little ovals
Cilantro: Pick off stem
2.) After you've cut all of your vegetables, you'll need to prepare your protein of choice (optional). Lightly steam your proteins to make them soft and easy to work with while also preventing them from becoming hard and rubbery. For some flavor, I recommend adding a bit of salt and black pepper.
3.) Pour some water into your frying pan (about halfway up) and maintain it on low heat until the water temperature reaches a comfortable temperature, but not boiling (you will be working with your hands to dip the rice paper in the water).
4.) Grab a sheet of rice paper and drop it into the water in the frying pan. Gently press down until the rice paper softens completely, then quickly pull it out, set it on the wooden cutting board, and flatten it so that it is wide and open.
Once the rice paper is on the cutting board, you'll want to go to work immediately. Working slowly will cause the rice paper to dry out and stick to the cutting board, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pick up throughout the wrapping process. Pour a little spoon of warm water on your rice paper if it appears to be drying out. I recommend pouring water on the wooden board in between wrapping your spring rolls to keep it moist and prevent sticking.
5.) Grab small amounts of each vegetable and work in this order (this is not a strict practice, but this is what I do to achieve a beautiful presentation). Remember, less is sometimes more. Over filling your roll can become messy and hard to wrap.
- Place a few strands of Carrots in the middle of the wrap
- Place a small amount of Shredded Lettuce on top of the Carrots
- Sprinkle some Green Onions on top of the Shredded Lettuce
- Sprinkle some Cilantro on top of the Shredded Lettuce
6.) Next, take your choice of protein, and place a few pieces on the left side of your vegetable pile on the wrap. (Skip this step for full vegetarian rolls).
7.) After you've placed all of your fillings on your wrap, gently tuck the bottom of the wrap in over your filling, then fold the left side in. Then fold the top in half and grip all of the folds to keep them together as you slowly roll to the right. Consider how you would wrap a burrito for this process.
8.) Repeat this process over until you have a desired amount of spring rolls.
9.) Last but not least, you'll want to prepare the peanut sauce. This step is the simplest and quickest.
- Pour some Hoisin sauce in a dipping bowl/container
- Crush some peanuts
- Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top of the Hoisin sauce
It's now time to dip those lovely, healthy spring rolls in and savor the delectable fresh flavor!