Vegan Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls with Lemongrass Sauce

Warm weather has me craving food that’s light and bright and FRESH! I love me some roasted root veggies, savory meats, juicy chicken, mashed potatoes… honestly anything heavy and savory in the winter time, but summer is basically here and it’s time to switch things up. And what better way to use a ton of it than these summer rolls?! 

vegan rainbow veggie spring rolls with lemongrass sauce

These summer rolls are a play on the traditional Vietnamese spring roll (Gỏi cuốn.) Typically, the Vietnamese spring rolls consist of vermicelli rice noodles, shrimp or pork, veggies and herbs wrapped in super thin rice paper dough. The wrapper is usually thin and soft (if you’ve ever had a rice roll at dim sum, it’s similar to that.)  In other Asian cultures, spring rolls can be fried and crunchy, but in Vietnam they are soft like dumplings. Even within Vietnam, the summer roll has a bunch of different names, depending on what region you’re in. 

These veggie summer rolls came about because I wanted a healthy snack /meal to have on hand throughout the week. My husband and I have been so busy with construction and work, it hasn’t left much time for a well thought out snack, which leads to us grabbing the sugary protein bars to tide us over. After a few too many days of that and me asking myself “how much chocolate is it acceptable to eat in a week?,” it got me thinking… I wish there was a convenient snack that was packed with veggies but didn’t taste like …well … grass! And thus these summer rolls were created. I like to make a bunch and keep them in the fridge with a little dipping sauce. They are super easy for grab n go, plus they are absolutely full of veggies (and vegan friendly!).

vegan rainbow veggie spring rolls with lemongrass sauce

These will keep in the fridge for about 4 days, so add them to your weekly meal prep day and store them in a sealed container, un-cut and with just a little space in between each roll (so they don’t stick). All the veggies included are for my own taste, but you can totally make these your own! If you don’t like some of the veggies I included, skip them or substitute them for one you do like. You can also add some fresh mango if you have it, and add or substitute mint leaves or basil for cilantro. If you are cutting and using all fresh veggies, the most time consuming part is just the washing and chopping, but it’s pretty quick and easy. If you buy pre-cut veggies or leave some out, your prep time will be even less. It is important to use fresh veggies here, though- if you’ve got some in your fridge that are about to expire.. this isn’t the right dish for those. Opt for a stir fry instead.

Summer rolls and spring rolls are traditionally served with a peanut or a hoisin sauce, but I went a little different direction with this lemongrass sauce. Trust me, it is SO good. Obviously if you don’t like lemongrass, feel free to use a peanut or hoisin based sauce. Or, you can add creamy peanut butter to this lemongrass sauce for the ultimate flavor party. 

Let’s talk about Lemongrass for a second. If you’ve never seen or cooked with lemongrass before, it can be intimidating. It’s this long, yellowish green stalk with tough, fibrous layers on the outside, and delicious smelling lemony goodness on the inside. In the grocery store, you’ll find it near the ginger and peppers. To cook with it, start by peeling away the first two layers of that really tough skin to expose the softer interior. You really only use the middle portion of the stalk, so cut away about an inch off the bottom, and a couple of inches of the thin flimsy part of the stalk. After that, cut it like you would a scallion and mince it up. Don’t throw away the ends though- we are gonna soak those in the sauce for even more flavor! 

Just a reminder that this recipe is vegan friendly and gluten-free, but a lot of the ingredients in both the roll and the sauce can be flexible and adjusted to your preferences. Double check the packaging on your wrappers to make sure they’re certified gluten free

vegan rainbow veggie spring rolls

Vegan Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls with Lemongrass Sauce

Quick and easy rainbow veggie summer rolls with a rice paper wrapping, served with a delicious lemongrass dipping sauce. Make them ahead and enjoy them throughout the week!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Asian, Vegan
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup lemongrass minced (approx. 2 stalks) + ends, sliced in half for flavor
  • 1 1/2 tbsp scallions chopped
  • 5 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos *can sub. Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter smooth, unsalted **Optional

Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls

  • 12 rice paper spring roll wrappers
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 peeled carrots sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 cups red cabbage thinly sliced

Instructions
 

Lemongrass Sauce

  • Rinse the lemongrass well and peel away the tough outermost 2 layers.
  • Chop off the bottom inch and a few inches from the top (the thin bendy part), then cut in half and set aside.
  • Take the middle part of the stalk, slice it in half vertically and lay it flat on a work surface. Thinly slice it into half moons shapes, making your way down the stalk. Run your knife through it again to mince it up into smaller pieces.
  • Add the lemongrass and the rest of the ingredients to a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low and let it reduce as you prepare the rolls (about 10-20 minutes). Make sure to keep an eye on the sauce to make sure it doesn't reduce *too* much - you want about 1/3 cup of sauce when it's done infusing flavor and reducing.
  • Before serving, pour sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove the chunks of scallion and lemongrass.

Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls

  • Follow the instructions on your spring roll wrappers. Listing mine out here for your convenience.
  • Pour lukewarm water into a large bowl. Dip a summer roll wrapper into water for about 15 seconds. *If the entire wrapper doesn't fit into one bowl, dip one edge in and rotate until the entire wrapper is wet.
  • Once the wrapper can bend without breaking, remove it and place it on a clean work surface. You don't want the wrappers to become too soft as they may break. Make sure they still have some structure when you transfer them to a work surface.
  • Place about 4-5 cilantro leaves onto the center of the wrapper.
  • Starting with the side closest to you, add 2-3 slices of each vegetable in the order of: red bell pepper, carrot, yellow bell pepper, scallion (to taste, can be spicy), avocado, zucchini, cabbage. If you don't care about the order of things, you can also layer ingredients on top of each other.
  • Take the side of the wrapper closest to you and begin gently rolling the filling. Roll it about halfway towards the center, then fold the left and right sides of the wrapper towards the center (kind of like a burrito). Continue to roll it all the way up until all the filling is tucked into the wrapper.
  • You can plate it like this, or wait a minute or so and then slice the roll in half. *If making ahead, do not cut in half.
  • Return to the sauce, remove it from the heat. Over a bowl, strain out solids with a fine mesh strainer. Pour sauce into a bowl and serve with the summer rolls.

Notes

This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free (depending on the brand of spring roll wrap you use- check for certified Gluten-Free to be sure).
For the sauce, I used coconut aminos because they are a little sweeter and gluten-free, but you can substitute for tamari or soy sauce if you prefer. 
Keyword east asian, lemongrass, meal prep, spring roll, summer roll, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, vietnamese

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