Vietnamese-Style Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce

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Vietnamese-style spring rolls are like a delicious shrimp salad wrapped up into the perfect warm-weather finger food! Sometimes called summer rolls, this appetizer tastes fresh and light.

While there are a lot of ingredients, most of the work is just chopping and assembling. So don’t let the long recipe fool you into thinking these are difficult to make!

I’ve chosen my favorite fillings, but feel free to substitute. Cilantro is a great addition, as are bean sprouts, carrots and daikon.

If you have guests who don’t eat shrimp, you can substitute chicken, pork, ahi or sautéed mushrooms. Because of the fish sauce, this cannot be prepared totally vegetarian.

I was able to find these ingredients in the regular grocery store with no trouble. The Thai Kitchen brand offers fish sauce in a small bottle as well as a peanut sauce that goes really well with these rolls. If your store doesn’t carry some of these ingredients, they are most definitely available at an Asian market.

Dipping Sauce


  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 4 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 Thai chili peppers (or similar red chili)
  • Lime wedge


Bring the water, rice vinegar and sugar to a boil. Let it cool, then stir in the garlic and chilis. Add a couple squirts of lime juice.

Spring Rolls


  • 12 rice-paper wrappers
  • 2 oz rice vermicelli or rice stick-noodles
  • 36 medium prawns, peeled
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced in thin spears
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 4 Boston or romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 cucumber, sliced in thin spears or in half-circles


Cook the shrimp in boiling water until they turn light orange — about 2 minutes. Let cool. Cook rice vermicelli according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water. Toss cold noodles with a tablespoon of the dipping sauce.

You will need your workstation to have to sections: one where you prepare wrappers and another with all the ingredients. Put the ingredients in this order: prawns, lettuce, rice vermicelli, mint, basil, cucumbers, red bell peppers. (The order isn’t critical. This is just so the most attractive and colorful items show through the paper.)

Soak a wrapper in warm water until soft. Then line up the ingredients in layers in the order suggested. Roll much like you would a burrito. Slice in half to serve.

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