Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Tofu and Avocado

By / Photography By Allie Wist | February 09, 2013

Ingredients

  • Rice paper wrappers
  • 1/3 head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups thin bean-thread noodles or rice noodles
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 package organic tofu (I use fresh soft tofu from Lotus Foods, but you can use medium or firm!)
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp Sweet Curry Spice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (or canola oil, olive oil, etc.)

About this recipe

I’ve developed a mild obsession with Vietnamese spring rolls. Which has lead to some extensive experimentation with the best fillings, spices, and sauces. I’ve probably made over 20 batches in my quest for the perfect sweet and fresh taste. Thanks to some cinnamon and avocado, I’ve finally perfected the recipe. I snag all the ingredients at Lotus Food Co. in the Strip District — they actually make their own fresh tofu in-house, and it’s only $0.30 a block.  Although most people think of spring rolls as an appetizer, I typically make them up as a meal. The tofu is more than enough protein, and since you can vary the ingredients in each one, it’s easy to chow down on 5 or 6.

The key is to get fresh herbs — I use cilantro, mint and basil. I will say that the basil is definitely the MVP. I also think the avocado is pretty key in getting a balance to the crunchy cabbage.

When I was in Penzey’s Spices one day buying Anise for an Edible photoshoot, I came across this gem: Sweet Curry seasoning. I think it adds a ton of flavor to the tofu, without necessarily adding heat.

If you like your tofu more firm, make sure to press it before you slice it and cook it. I place the tofu between 2 folded up paper towels, and then sandwich that between two plates. I throw some heavy books on top and let it sit for about 45 minutes. That will give you firm squares of tofu instead of a more scrambled consistency.

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu for about 45 minutes prior to cooking. Once the excess water is removed, slice the tofu into strips.
     
  2. Add about a tablespoon of sesame oil to a large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and toss to coat with the oil. Add the cinnamon, garlic powder, and sweet curry spice. Cook over medium heat for about 10 - 15 minutes, making sure to cook all sides. Remove from heat and let cool.
     
  3. Cook the bean thread noodles according to the directions on the package. Typically, you put them in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water.
     
  4. Chop the cabbage into shredded pieces.
     
  5. In a large bowl filled with warm water, soak 1 rice paper wrapper for about 20 seconds or until soft. (Alternatively, you can just hold the wrap under warm running water for about 20 seconds.) Transfer wrapper to a flat surface. In the center of the wrapper, create a 3-inch long row of fillings. Start with the fresh herbs, then add in about 1/8 cup of bean thread noodles, 5 pieces of tofu, some shredded cabbage, and avocado. We also add in a pinch of sugar on top!
     
  6. Roll up the wrapper like a burrito — Carefully fold the bottom of the rice paper wrapper over the vegetables. Turn in the sides and continue rolling up from the bottom. 
     
  7. Ready to eat! Sweet chili sauce for spring rolls from lotus foods is great for dipping.

Ingredients

  • Rice paper wrappers
  • 1/3 head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups thin bean-thread noodles or rice noodles
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 package organic tofu (I use fresh soft tofu from Lotus Foods, but you can use medium or firm!)
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp Sweet Curry Spice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (or canola oil, olive oil, etc.)
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