My introduction to spring rolls had been at various Asian-inspired restaurants as a starter course. But when our Vietnamese friends introduced us to making spring rolls at home for a main course, there was no going back. They are easy, healthy, delicious, and FUN to assemble, making this an interactive dinner to keep everyone smiling at the table. I give you both a chicken and a salmon option below – both are made similarly and are equally delicious.
This recipe is gluten free, but by replacing the salmon or chicken with mushrooms, could easily be vegan or vegetarian. It’s also super fun for kids!
Serves 4 (Makes about 16-20 rolls) | Gluten-free, vegan-adorable, vegetarian-adaptable, kid-friendly
- 1 package of 10 inch spring roll wrappers (or 8 inch if you can’t find the larger)
- 2 heads of red leaf lettuce
- 2 bunches of scallions, sliced thin on an angle
- 4 oz Thai basil (or sub regular basil)
- 2 English cucumbers, sliced in matchsticks
- 1 lb vermicelli rice noodles (I use A Taste of Thai brand)
- 2 lbs of salmon or 2 lbs chicken breast (or 1lb of each!) or sub mushrooms if vegan/vegetarian
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2/3 cup tamari, divided in half
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey (or agave if vegan)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- the juice of 1 lime
- 4 cups of warm water
Start by prepping the salmon and/or chicken. For the salmon, remove the skin and slice perpendicular to the filet lines into about 1×2 in pieces. For the chicken, slice the breasts lengthwise in half. Place the salmon and/or chicken in a large bowl and set aside (separate chicken and salmon into two separate bowls if using both) Mix together 1/3 cup tamari, 1 tsp ginger and a few cracks of black pepper; pour over the salmon and/chicken to let marinate.
While salmon and/or chicken are marinating, wash and chop all the vegetables and organize on a cutting board or large platter. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the rice vermicelli for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. Place in large bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the dipping sauce by combining the remaining 1/3 cup tamari, water, sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and lime juice. Whisk to combine and divide into four dipping bowls (I use ramekins).
Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Remove the salmon and chicken from the marinade with tongs and place evenly on separate roasting pans. Cook the salmon for about 5 minutes (should be a touch pink in the center and flake easily) and the chicken for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. Let the chicken rest for five minutes before slicing into thin strips.
When ready to eat, fill a shallow dish that can fit an entire spring wrapper with warm water (this is important – if the water is cold, your wrapper will rip). Place a wrapper into the water for 3 seconds per side and then place on your plate. You will want to work quickly here – not at a rushed pace – but try to fill within 30 seconds or so to avoid the wrapper sticking. Layer 1-2 lettuce leaves in the center and top with a few cucumber slices, handful of basil, 1 tbsp of scallions, and 1/4 cup rice noodles. Place a few pieces salmon or chicken on top, taking care not to overfill (see picture below). Take the end of the wrapper nearest you and wrap over the top. Tuck in the sides, then tuck everything toward you as you roll away from you. You can make one at a time (like we do!) or all at once. Serve with the dipping sauce.