Easy & fresh! These vegan summer rolls are perfection: vermicelli rice noodles, crisp veggies and air-fryer tofu. Enjoy with a 4-ingredient blender dipping sauce!
Simple, Healthy & Delicious
I adore summer rolls. With just a few fresh ingredients, you can enjoy these crisp and cool beauties for lunch or dinner. There’s nothing quite like that first bite into one: the firm but soft rice paper wrapper, the little vermicelli noodles, the snap of fresh veggies, the savory tofu, and finally… that bite with fresh mint! It’s similar to my love of burrito bowls… so many different textures and flavors! Each bite is perfection.
In this recipe, I air fry tofu with a little sesame oil for big flavor with minimal effort. Use whatever fresh veggies you have on hand and love… cucumber, bell pepper, mushrooms, radish, whatever. Then dunk ‘em in a quick, 4-ingredient satay-style dipping sauce which is quickly blitzed in a bullet blender.
They disappear in the blink of an eye if my daughter is around. In fact, I had her help me roll them for this video yesterday (it’s super cute)! But, I had to wait to photograph them today because she ate them all before I could get a pretty shot. True story. Hey, I’m not gonna stop a kid who loves her veggies.
1 Minute Video: How to Make Tofu Summer Rolls
It’s Easy to Make Summer Rolls at Home
Air-Fryer Sesame Tofu
Easy plant-based dinner tip: air-frying proteins and veggies is the perfect way to get that satisfying, crispy crunch in a healthy way, without all the excess oil of pan frying or deep frying. Tofu is a blank slate, chameleon food. It has no real flavor of it’s own, and takes on the flavor of the oils, seasonings and sauces it’s cooked with. And I’m a mom with a family and leukemia… so I love shortcuts for healthy, yummy food! I’m obsessed with these pre-cooked tofu “cutlets” in my grocery’s refrigerated Asian food section. No draining water, no pressing with paper towels, none of that. Just cut into thin slices, and then cut each slice into 3 long strips. Drizzle with a little sesame oil and air fry. Simple but big flavor.
Summer Roll Filling Ideas
In this easy vegan recipe, I use butter lettuce leaves as cups to hold most of the filling. Vermicelli noodles are a popular filling (and naturally gluten-free). I’ve also included sliced radishes and bell pepper for some cool crunch. If you have cucumber or other fresh, crunchy veggies on hand, then use those. This contrasts nicely with the crispy, savory tofu. And 2 mint leaves in each roll add a POP of flavor. Thai basil would also be a yummy herb choice.
Chop your veggies and cook the noodles & tofu. And arrange them so they’re ready to go. My daughter and I make an assembly line: dunk the rice paper wrapper, lay it down, fill it up, roll, repeat. This is definitely easier when all the ingredients are prepped.
Tips for Working With Rice Paper Wrappers & Rolling
Softening Rice Paper Wrappers
Pour boiling water in a large dish or plate with raised edges that is big enough to fit an entire rice paper wrapper. Let the boiling water cool slightly. Lay one rice paper wrapper in the water. The edges will curl. Use your fingertips to gently press these edges down into the water. If the water is still piping hot, the rice paper will only be in for a few seconds. If the water has cooled down a little by your 5th summer roll, you’ll probably need to leave it in the water a little longer.
“I never take them out at the right time… They’re so sticky!” I hear this from everyone when I mention summer rolls. So here’s my tip: take them out when the wrapper has turned from white to clear, BUT when it is still firm enough to maintain its shape. In the kind I buy, I can still see the basketweave pattern when I remove them from the water. As they lay flat and are filled, they continue to soften and become pliable. If you wait until they’re fully soft to remove them from the water, they’ll stick together and be a sticky nightmare. Just throw that sucker away and get another! It may take some practice to get the feel for when it’s “just right”, and that’s normal.
Assembling Summer Rolls
One roll at a time. Dip one rice paper wrapper in the hot water, lay it out, fill it and roll it. Then do the next one. If you try to get clever and lay out all the softened rice paper wrappers and THEN try to fill & roll them, you’ll end up peeling gummy rice paper that’s stuck all over your counter. Pro tip I learned from… um… someone else. I definitely never did that. 😉
Rolling Summer Rolls
Lay a leaf of butter lettuce at the edge of the softened rice paper wrapper. It makes a little cup to hold your filling ingredients. It’s also much easier to roll. Gently pinch the lettuce leaf closed, and then start rolling. No errant noodles or tofu shooting out the side! You can certainly add the mint to the lettuce cup as well, but I think they look pretty when they’re separate. Check out my video to watch this technique.Print
Fresh & Easy! These vegan summer rolls have fresh veggies, vermicelli rice noodles, veggies and air-fryer tofu all rolled up. Enjoy with a 4-ingredient blender dipping sauce!
- 8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
- Boiling water
- 4 oz vermicelli noodles / rice sticks
- 3 oz pre-cooked tofu cutlet, sliced in thin strips
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 8 leaves butter lettuce
- 1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- 16 mint leaves
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- 2 Tbsp nut butter
- 1/4 tsp ginger, minced or paste
- 1/4 tsp garlic, minced or paste
- Lay foil on air-fryer pan. Spread tofu strips on pan. Drizzle with sesame oil. Air fry for 10 minutes at 375.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add vermicelli noodles. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, checking for softness.
- When noodles are cooked, drain hot water. Drizzle with a little oil to keep from clumping.
- Slice bell pepper and radishes.
- Line up all summer roll filling ingredients (tofu, noodles, lettuce, pepper, radish, mint), so they’re easy to fill.
- Pour boiling water into a large dish or plate with sides, big enough to fit a rice paper wrapper.
- Gently dip one rice paper wrapper in the hot water. Use fingertips to rotate to coat. Flip if needed. Wrapper will only be in the hot water for about 10 seconds. Remove while it is clear but still has some structure and firmness. The wrapper continues to soften as it is filled. If the wrapper has softened completely or sticks together, discard.
- Lay softened wrapper on a clean, smooth surface.
- Place one lettuce leaf lengthwise at the bottom edge. Fill the lettuce like a cup with noodles, tofu, pepper and radish. Place 2 mint leaves lengthwise in front of the filled lettuce cup.
- Hold the lettuce cup closed with one hand, while using the other hand to roll the bottom edge of the softened wrapper over the lettuce cup. Roll once.
- Fold the wrapper over both sides. Roll the rest of the way.
- Repeat for all summer rolls.
- Blend all sauce ingredients in a small or bullet blender.
Substitutions: Nearly any fresh or cooked vegetable, thinly sliced, will taste great. Use what you have.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Asian
- Serving Size: 1 summer roll
- Calories: 208
- Sugar: 1.5g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Fat: 1.1g
- Saturated Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 36.8g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Protein: 3.4g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: tofu, summer rolls, spring rolls, vegan, gluten-free