When I was younger, my mom would always make fresh rolls, and as I grew up and started experimenting with different flavours, I’ve loved recreating them with loads of veggies and plant-based protein.
For those of you who aren’t familiar or haven’t tried fresh rolls before, they are traditionally filled with vermicelli rice noodles, mint, bean sprouts, shrimp, pork, and sometimes chives. The absolute best part about fresh rolls is the peanut hoisin sauce, which I could literally drink it’s so good. The filling is wrapped in a piece of rice paper and these delicious rolls are usually enjoyed as an appetizer or as a meal.
Working with rice paper can be tricky, once hydrated it becomes sticky and can rip easily. My biggest tip when working with rice paper is to prepare all of your other ingredients first and hydrate the rice paper right before you’re ready to assemble. My other tip is to eat these immediately. The longer the rice paper sits, the more moisture it will lose, and this can lead to chewy, hard to eat rolls that will also rip.
Here’s the recipe:
Yields: 4 rolls
- 1 vermicelli rice noodle cake, cooked according to the instructions on the package and drained
- 4 sheets of rice paper
- 1/2 block of pressed/fried tofu, sliced
- 1 carrot, washed and peeled into ribbons
- 1/4 cucumber, cut into sticks
- 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 4 large leaves of lettuce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (should be runny!)
- Hydrate the rice paper by filling a large bowl with warm water and submerging the rice paper into the water for 5 seconds. Remove from the water and place on a clean, flat surface and let it sit for 60 seconds. Repeat with the remaining sheets.
- To assemble the rolls, start by placing a leaf of lettuce in the center of the rice paper, 3 pieces of sliced tofu, and 1/4 of the cooked vermicelli noodles, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, and bean sprouts. Gently pick up one edge of the rice paper and begin to wrap it around the filling, folding in the left and right sides of the rice paper to create a tight roll.
- Repeat with the remaining sheets of rice paper and ingredients.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine the hoisin sauce and peanut butter with 3-4 tbsp of hot water, and mix to combine.