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Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp + Peanut Sauce

Wrapping up Vietnamese fresh spring rolls in rice paper is easier than you think! This easily customizable recipe is cool & refreshing – perfect for summer.

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I absolutely adore Vietnamese cuisine. Years ago when I was pregnant with my son, we would go to our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant so often that we basically lived there.

As far as cooking Vietnamese food at home, I haven’t done it a ton yet, but I really do love it.

Platter of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp & peanut sauce surrounded by ingredients.

Some of my favorite items at any Vietnamese restaurant are recipes made using rice paper wrappers.

Have you ever had them? They’re those translucent, tacky-to-the-touch sheets that wrap around food to contain it, almost like a burrito.

They’re sold in sheets that are dry and brittle, and you need to soak them in water to make them pliable.

They’re a little tricky to work with, but I promise you can catch on with just a little practice. Be sure to check out the demo I did of this recipe for more on that.

Rice paper round being dipped into water to make Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp

I most often find Vietnamese appetizer recipes that utilize rice paper wrappers. My favorites are summer rolls and fresh spring rolls (also sometimes called simply, “fresh rolls”).

There’s a lot of information online about the difference between spring rolls and summer rolls. For these particular rolls, I chose to call them Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp + Peanut Sauce because they have both veggies and shrimp inside of them. From what I’ve read, the translucent rolls don’t usually contain meat. So that’s where I landed.

This recipe is a combination of things that I have loved over the years. I first made a similar one at home back in 2014 when entertaining some friends on a hot summer day.

It was an easy appetizer to make, and it majorly impressed my friends! I mean, just look at those beautiful colors…

Platter of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp and 2 dipping sauces.

After making this recipe on Facebook LIVE this summer, I realized that a different order of assembly made these rolls look the most appealing. The photo above (from 2014), shows the way I used to do it – I’d put the shrimp down on the soaked rice paper first and top with the noodles.

What I realized is that if you put the colorful ingredients on top of the shrimp, they make a nice colorful backdrop for the shrimp and they “pop” more. Since the shrimp have white in them, they can sometimes get a bit lost if they have a big pile of white noodles behind them.

Because one of the best parts of this recipe is the fact that you can see the mixture of ingredients through the rice paper wrapper.

Ingredients prepped and ready to assemble Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

The other ingredient that’s a bit different to many US kitchens is the type of noodles used inside the spring rolls. You can use bean thread noodles (also called glass or cellophane noodles) or rice vermicelli, which is what I used here.

Whichever noodles you end up getting, just be sure to read the package directions for how to cook them properly. Some need to be covered in boiling water for a few minutes, some just need to soak for a bit. It varies a bit from brand to brand, but they’re all pretty quick-cooking.

Either way, after they’re cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained, they get tossed with seasoned rice vinegar. This adds a nice tangy flavor that goes really well with all of the fresh produce that gets wrapped up in the rice paper wrappers.

Platter of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp and peanut dipping sauce and ingredients sprinkled around.

Once your ingredients are all prepped, assembly happens pretty quickly. You can totally prep your filling ingredients ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready. I like laying out all of my ingredients on a quarter sheet pan or platter so I can just grab from each pile as I go, making sure to add a bit of each ingredient to my spring roll wrappers.

If you’re looking for a few more shortcuts, feel free to buy already shredded lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. You could even swap that out for a packaged coleslaw mix, which usually has a few types of cabbage and carrots in it already. Purple cabbage would be really pretty in here, too.

Feel free to mix and match ingredients that you have on hand, or that you enjoy raw. If you aren’t into shrimp you could use chilled meat that’s already cooked and shredded, like chicken or beef. Tofu would be nice here as well.

These spring rolls are a bit of a revamped version of Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls and some Vegetable Summer Rolls that I made with my friend Betsy back in 2011. It brings my favorite parts of both recipes into one, and my family really, really loves them.

I typically serve these rolls with a sorta-spicy peanut dipping sauce. If it’s too spicy for you, feel free to reduce or omit the red pepper flakes. And if you’re looking for an additional sauce (or just a different sauce), a simple fish sauce mixture is in the recipe notes below.

If you make these in advance and want to store them, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind to keep them from sticking to each other. The rice paper wrappers are really sticky!

I like to dampen a kitchen towel with cold water (I tend to use unpaper towels for this) but you could also use paper towels and wring it out. I set the spring rolls onto the damp towels and make sure they aren’t touching. You can pinch the towel up in between the rolls to ensure they don’t stick together.

If you have a deep container you can do multiple layers, just place another damp towel on top of the bottom layer before adding more.

Pop a lid on the container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to dig in! I find that these last well for about 2 days. I don’t like keeping seafood for much longer than that personally, but feel free to use your own discretion here.

If you find yourself with leftover filling ingredients and no more rice paper wrappers you can serve this as a big salad, drizzled with the peanut sauce. It’s very tasty and you don’t have to bother wrapping and rolling!

Looking for more shrimp recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

Doing some online shopping? Check out my Amazon Shop page for recommendations!

Recipe for Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp + Peanut Sauce

If you try out this recipe, please come back and give it a star rating and comment below. I’d love to know what you think of it!

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Platter of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp & peanut sauce surrounded by ingredients.

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp + Peanut Sauce

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Description

Wrapping up Vietnamese fresh spring rolls in rice paper is easier than you think! This easily customizable recipe is cool & refreshing – perfect for summer.


Scale

Ingredients

For Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar

For Spring Rolls:

  • 1 ounce rice vermicelli or bean thread noodles
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 8 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds
  • 8 extra large shrimp (pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined), sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 red-leaf lettuce leaves, ribs cut out and discarded and leaves halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot (1 medium)
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make sauce: Heat peanut oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in water, peanut butter, hoisin, tomato paste, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Whisk for 1 minute, then transfer to a small bowl to cool.

     

  2. Prepare noodles: Cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water, drain well, and toss with seasoned rice vinegar.

     

  3. Assemble spring rolls: Fill a large plate with warm water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water, completely submerging . Leave in for 5-10 seconds, until pliable. Lay wrapper flat on a clean work surface. Lay 2 shrimp halves, pink side-down, horizontally across the lower third of the wrapper.

     

  4. Top with a sprinkling of lettuce, mint, Thai basil, cabbage, cilantro, carrot, and green onions. Add a small handful of the noodles on top, again in a horizontal line. Carefully fold the sides inward, then tuck and fold the bottom up over the filling. Roll everything upward, tightly but gently to avoid ripping the rice paper wrapper. Place on a platter and repeat with remaining ingredients.

     

  5. Serve spring rolls with peanut sauce alongside, garnished with chopped peanuts if desired.

Notes

If you’re looking for an additional sauce for your spring rolls, simply combine 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.

You can substitute regular basil for Thai basil if you can’t find it.

Spring rolls can be stored in an airtight container, covered with a damp towel, in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Keywords: Vietnamese, spring roll, summer roll

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4 Comments

  • Charlotte Hayes

    Hi! My spring rolls came out great! But I had one problem. The rice paper was so sticky when I tried to eat them they were tearing and sticking to my fingers. Did I so something wrong? Do they need to sit longer or refrigerate?
    Thanks

  • Ashley

    Hi Charlotte! Thanks for leaving a rating and review! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. As far as the stickiness – I find it’s best to keep a damp towel over them until you’re ready to serve. Having a bit of moisture on the rice paper definitely helps to reduce the stickiness. You can use a paper towel or kitchen towel – whatever you have handy. Hope that helps! Have a great weekend 🙂

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