Ah yes, I present to you the holy grail of all lunch recipes! This Vietnamese spring roll recipe is THE meal to get you through the day and break up your sandwich and salad routine. Packed with marinated tofu, pickled vegetables, and fresh greens, you’ll be feeling full and satisfied for hours. Plus, they are actually fun to make!
Whoop! Spring is here and that calls for some delicious spring rolls. Spring Rolls are completely versatile and you can get real creative with what to put inside of em. If you’re not familiar with a Banh Mi, it’s a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with meat and pickled vegetables. Spring rolls are also popular in Vietnamese culture so I married the two ideas…. genus right?
The tofu for this recipe is marinated in a lemongrass sauce and it’s paired with pickled carrots and jalapeños, spinach, and cilantro. I recommend eating these with Sriracha aioli (aka mayo). I like Hampton Creek Just Mayo which is a healthier, vegan alternative. What’s even better is this recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. Now let’s embrace this warmer weather with some feel good healthy food!
What is lemongrass?
In case you’ve never cooked with lemongrass before, here’s a little lesson. Lemongrass is a common herb used in Asian cultures. It has a slightly lemony scent and adds a great flavor to your dish. I found mine in the produce section of my grocery store and it looks like a giant blade of grass. To prepare the lemongrass, you peel back the outer layers, slice lengthwise, and mince.
Health benefits of lemongrass
In natural medicine, the oils in lemongrass is used in various healing methods. When digested, lemongrass is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and can detox your body!
Making pickled vegetables is so easy! It’s a great way to preserve vegetables and they add such a great flavor to dishes. In this recipe, simply combine rice vinegar, warm water, and cane sugar and add to vegetables. Like all pickling recipes, they taste better over time!
Tip: I recommend making these pickled vegetables in advanced. Pressed on time? Make sure water is hot and leave covered for 30 minutes. This should speed up the process a bit!
How to make spring rolls
Spring rolls look pretty, but they can take some practice to perfect. Here are some pointers I’ve learned about perfectly my spring rollin’ skills:
- Have everything ready so you can work efficiently. I usually put all my ingredients in bowls so I can build my roll quickly.
- Dip rice paper in lukewarm water. If the water is too hot it will be too loose to handle.
- Pile toppings closer to the bottom edge and be sure not to overstuff it with fillings. Start rolling with a “roll and tuck” technique. As you are rolling with your thumbs, use your other fingers to “tuck” the fillings in. This will help keep a tight roll.
- Next, fold the sides in being careful to keep the fillings inside
- Finish rolling and viola!!
This Vietnamese spring roll recipe makes a great vegan and vegetarian lunch option because the tofu is a great source of protein and you there’s lots of vegetables involved. The Sriracha aioli is a great addition, but a yummy peanut sauce recipe would taste divine with these too! If spring rolls are more of an appetizer in your eyes, pair with a delicious ramen recipe!
If you tried this Vietnamese spring roll recipe, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!
Banh Mi Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Tofu
For the tofu:
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 lemongrass bulb minced
- 1 inch ginger knob minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons liquid aminos (can substitute with soy sauce)
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the pickled vegetables:
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 jalapeno sliced
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
For Spring Rolls:
- 6 rice paper rolls
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Remove tofu from packaging and wrap in paper towels. Place on a plate and put a heavy object on top. Let sit while preparing the marinade.
- Whisk together all ingredients for marinade in small bowl.
- Cut tofu into strips. I sliced the tofu vertically and cut those strips in half. Place in marinade and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Start preparing pickled vegetables. Add cane sugar to warm water and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add vegetables to jar and pour water sugar mixture as well as the vinegar in the jar.
- Close jar and shake well. Set aside.
- Heat a small pan over medium heat and drizzle some oil on the pan.
- Cook tofu for 3-5 minutes until light brown.
- To assemble spring rolls, gather cilantro, spinach, tofu, pickled vegetables, and rice paper rolls.
- Get a large bowl of warm water and dunk rice paper in for a few seconds. Lay rice paper roll on a plate.
- Add a few sprigs of cilantro and a small handful of spinach.
- Add 3 tofu strips and top with some pickled vegetables
- Roll bottom of rice paper roll away from you one time until all the fillings are tucked in.
- Fold in both sides.
- Finish rolling and press on edges of rice paper so they stick together.
- Mix Sriracha and mayonnaise to make the dipping sauce.
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