I love making spring rolls because they look freakin’ amazing. Typically I’ll stuff them with shrimp or even rotisserie chicken but spring rolls are so versatile that even Vegan Spring Rolls can be very delicious.
For this version of spring rolls I used marinated and seared tempeh which has a really nice texture in a spring roll and gives the spring rolls some nice body so they hold up to the dipping sauce!
Preparing the Tempeh for Spring Rolls
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m not sure why tofu is more popular than tempeh. Tempeh is, in my opinion, easier to prepare and way more flavorful.
It’s slightly more expensive but works much better than tofu in dishes like this.
Like tofu though, it can be a bit bland if you just cook it as-is so I marinaded my tempeh for a few minutes in a soy sauce and sriracha mix.
This gives it plenty of flavor!
Once your tempeh has marinated, heat a small amount of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the tempeh blocks and let them sear for 4-5 minutes per side.
Then just slice it fairly thin and you’re ready to go!
What vegetables work well in spring rolls?
In my opinion, the key to any good spring roll is making sure you have lots of good, crunchy veggies to add to them.
For this version, I grated a carrot, sliced some cucumbers thin, and used some bean sprouts and pea shoots. These were a good mix, but don’t feel obligated to use all of them. You could use almost any fresh and crunchy vegetable for these guys.
Some other ideas for good vegetables for spring rolls include:
- Shredded cabbage, either green cabbage or napa cabbage
- Butter lettuce
- Fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or Thai basil
- Thinly sliced bell peppers
Not exactly a vegetable but if you are looking to make the spring rolls even more substantial, you can add vermicelli noodles to the filling.
Rolling the Vegan Spring Rolls
You should be able to find rice paper wrappers in your supermarket these days. They will usually be in the Asian section on a bottom shelf. Obviously, any Asian market will have them also.
Rice paper wrappers are gluten-free so unless you are adding something with gluten to these spring rolls, they will be gluten-free and vegan. (While tempeh is gluten free, always check product packaging to make sure).
These spring rolls might look intimidating, but they are actually pretty easy to use.
Add some warm water to large dish or plate that can hold the wrapper. Then, working with one wrapper at a time, dip it in the water until it’s flexible. I usually let mine sit for a few seconds per side.
If you let the wrapper sit too long in the water it’ll get too soggy to use.
Once the wrapper is flexible, move it to a clean surface and top it like crazy. You can really fill these guys pretty full.
Then fold the ends over the center and start rolling the wrapper.
As you roll the wrapper, pull slightly on the wrapper to keep it really nice and tight as you are wrapping. It’s surprising how sturdy these thin little papers actually are. They are stronger than you would think so you can tug on them and make sure the rolls are very tight.
Most importantly, don’t freak out if you mess one up. It happens to the best of us!
Once you finish the rolls, slice them in half and serve them with the dipping sauce.
Doesn’t get much easier, or more colorful, than that!
I serve these Tempeh Spring Rolls as an appetizer and then something more substantial like my black pepper tofu for the main dish.
Can you make spring rolls in advance?
These vegan spring rolls keep really well so you can make these a day or two in advance. Just be careful as fresh spring rolls can stick together. I recommend rolling the spring rolls and then placing a paper towel between each spring roll to prevent sticking.
Store the spring rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days and they will be great for fast lunches!
Vegan Spring Rolls with Tempeh
- 8 ounces block of tempeh
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 cucumber, sliced thin
- Bean sprouts
- Pea shoots
- Spring roll wrappers
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Sriracha, to taste
- Sesame oil, to taste
- Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha and toss in tempeh block. Cover and shake well to coat tempeh. Let rest for 15-20 minutes to marinate.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Remove tempeh and sear on both sides for 4-5 minutes per side.
- Remove tempeh and slice thin. Also grate carrots and slice cucumbers into sticks.
- To make a spring roll, put some warm water in a large plate. Take one rice paper wrapper and submerge it in the water. Let it sit for 5 seconds and flip it and let it sit for another 5 seconds. It should be flexible but not soggy.
- Move wrapper to a clean surface. Add a few tempeh slices and veggies to the middle of the wrapper. You can fill them pretty big.
- Roll wrapper up, pulling on the wrapper as you roll to keep it nice and tight.
- Slice each roll in half and repeat until you use all your tempeh or veggies.
- Serve with dipping sauce!