Thai Fresh Spring Rolls (With Vegetarian Option)

Thai fresh spring rolls (With Vegetarian Option) recipe on a plate

The Spruce

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Total: 42 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
193 Calories
1g Fat
37g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 193
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 1152mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 217mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Welcome guests to your table with a bouquet of fresh spring rolls. This Thai recipe for fresh rolls is simple to put together and also can be made vegetarian.

They are a great addition to menus when you need to serve lots of different finger foods, or serve as an appetizer or a main course offering. The spring rolls make a perfect substitute for salad, but also include plenty of protein.

Fresh rolls also are a terrific snack for any time of the day or night. As a bonus, they are low in both calories and fat, and naturally gluten free. 

If you or your guests are gluten free, you can substitute wheat-free soy sauce (or tamari) for the soy sauce, or a vegetarian fish sauce for the fish sauce.

Ingredients

  • 12 small, round rice wrappers, dried

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or another tablespoon soy sauce, if vegetarian

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups thin vermicelli rice noodles, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained

  • 3/4 to 1 cup cooked shrimp

  • 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts

  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot

  • 3 to 4 spring onions, cut into matchstick pieces

For the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or vegetarian fish sauce

  • 1 heaping teaspoon arrowroot powder, or cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Dried chile flakes, optional

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Thai fresh spring rolls

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  2. Set rice wrappers aside. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce (if using), and brown sugar.

    Mixing together the sauce for Thai spring rolls

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  3. Place rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, Thai basil, coriander, carrots, and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over. Toss to mix.

    Ingredients for Thai spring rolls in a bowl with a wooden spoon

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  4. Then form the rolls.

Form the Rolls

  1. Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging 1 wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.

    Spring roll wrappers dipped in hot water

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  2. Remove the wrapper and place on a clean surface. Add another wrapper to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one.

    Thai spring roll wrapper on a cutting board

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  3. Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).

    Thai spring roll filling on a wrapper on a cutting board

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  4. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom.

    Thai fresh spring rolls wrapped with edges folded in

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  5. Tuck the bottom around the ingredients and roll to the top of the wrapper.

    Edges tucked underneath Thai spring roll

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  6. To secure the roll: Wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope). 

    Rolled and secured edges of Thai spring roll on wooden cutting board

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  7. To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce.

    Thai fresh spring rolls with dipping sauce on a cutting board, garnished with Thai basil and cilantro

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  8. Eat with your fingers; keep lots of napkins nearby.

Make the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for tamarind dipping sauce

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  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, tamarind paste, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, arrowroot powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons water, 1 clove minced garlic, and dried chile flakes, if desired.

    Tamarind sauce ingredients in saucepan

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  3. When near boiling, reduce heat to low, stirring until sauce thickens.

    Tamarind sauce for spring rolls, thickened and boiling

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  4. Taste for saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt), more sugar, or more chile flakes as desired.

    Finished tamarind dipping sauce in a saucepan with a spoon

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  5. The sauce can be served warm or cold.

What Is The Difference Between Egg Roll and Spring Roll?

The ingredients are often different, but the biggest difference between egg rolls and spring rolls pertains to the wrappers. Spring rolls are typically made from either thin flour or rice wrappers, whereas egg rolls have a thicker and crispier wrapper made of wheat flour, dipped in egg. They're also almost always fried, whereas spring rolls don't need to be fried but sometimes are, depending.

Tip

  • To create a "bouquet" of spring rolls, simply leave one side of the spring roll open as you roll. Place closed end in the bottom of a bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with spring rolls, so that they are standing up. It's best if your bowl has steep sides. Also, make sure it isn't too large, or it will take a lot of spring rolls to fill it.

Variation

You can serve these with a variety of other sauces, including:

Hoisin

Easy Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Chili Sauce (Nam Prik Pao)


You can also substitute 3/4 cup of the following proteins, cut into matchsticks if you don't want to use shrimp:

How to Store Thai Spring Rolls

You can keep these in the refrigerator, covered, for a couple of days, but they will likely become soggier the longer they sit. They're best the day they are made.