How to make Vietnamese Summer Rolls

summer rolls

Well winter is approaching so it’s completely appropriate to be in the mood for something that reminds you of hot summer days. Right?

Perhaps I’m the only nutty one around here but I’ve totally made peace with that 🙂

In any event, no matter the time of year you choose to make these they will be refreshing, unique, and tasty. You can literally fill these suckers with anything. The picture above contains shrimp, mango, and avocado … but the options are endless. Some of my favorites include:

* Mint, cucumber, avocado and sauteed tofu

* Chicken, crushed peanuts, and snow peas

and ground pork, cilantro, lettuce, and lime. Yum. Yum. Yum.

These can be a little daunting at first, if you have never worked with the wrappers before, but once you get the hang of it these become a simple and satisfying dish. When shopping make sure you purchase “spring roll skins” also sometimes called “wrappers” or “banh trang.” You may need to visit an Asian market or go online to find them. If you’ve ever had fried spring rolls, these are the same wrappers, but they are not fried and thus become summer rolls.

These can be a lot of fun with a group – set up an assortment of ingredients and let everyone create their own rolls. Oh, and don’t forget the dipping sauces!

Okay, so you will need the following basics (will vary based on the filling you choose):

  1. Spring roll wrappers/skins
  2. Vermicelli rice noodles (a 4 oz. pkg. makes about 8 rolls)
  3. Thinly or matchstick sliced vegetables
  4. Fresh herbs
  5. Protein (tofu, tempeh, shrimp, chicken, etc.)


Prepare your fillings – cook (and cool) your protein and prepare your vegetables and herbs.

Cook the vermicelli rice noodles – pour boiling water over each 4 oz. package and soak for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse.


Prepare a flat surface, such as a cutting board, to work on while filling each roll.

Fill a wide, shallow dish with cool water. Working with one wrapper at a time, soak until pliable, about 20 seconds. Transfer to your flat surface and smooth out the wrapper with your hands (it helps to dip your fingers in water as you work).

Place a layer of ingredients on the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving a border around the wrapper of at least an inch. Top with a bit of the noodles and then another layer of ingredients (so … ingredients, noodles, ingredients).

Fold bottom of wrapper lightly over fillings. Roll over once, tuck in sides (like a burrito) and continue rolling to close. Transfer rolls to a plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel until ready to serve. They will last a few hours in the refrigerator if you want to make prior to company. Longer than that and I’m not sure how the wrappers hold up.

Serve with dipping sauces such as sweet chile sauce, soy sauce, or Sriacha.