Salad Rolls

 This Thai recipe for fresh rolls is simple to put together, and can also be made vegetarian (see recipe instructions). Makes a great finger food for parties and potlucks, or serve as an appetizer or a main course offering (makes a perfect substitute for salad, but also includes enough protein for a complete meal). Fresh rolls are also a terrific snack for any time of the day or night. As a bonus, they’re very healthy – low in both calories and fat, and naturally gluten-free. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 42 minutes


  • SERVES 4-6 as an appetizer
  • 1 pkg. small, round rice wrappers (dried)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups thin vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and run through with cold water, drained
  • 3/4 to 1 cup cooked shrimp, OR 3/4 cup baked or fried tofu, or roasted chicken or turkey, cut into matchsticks
  • 1-2 cups bean sprouts
  • ½ cup fresh Thai basil or sweet basil, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded carrot
  • 3-4 spring onions, cut into matchstick pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian foods stores) OR another Tbsp. soy sauce if vegetarian
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce OR vegetarian fish sauce (see above)
  • 1 heaping tsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) dissolved in 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green or red chili, finely sliced OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper


  1. Set rice wrappers aside. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce (if using) and sugar.
  2. Place all other ingredients for the fresh rolls in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over. Toss to mix.
  3. Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging one wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the wrapper and place on a clean surface. Add another wrapper to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one.
  5. Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
  6. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom. Tuck the bottom around the ingrdients and roll to the top of the wrapper. To secure the roll: Wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope)
  7. To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce. Eat with your fingers and lots of napkins. Enjoy!


  • To make the Tamarind Dipping Sauce (optional): simply mix all dipping sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and heat.
  • When near boiling, reduce heat to low, stirring until sauce thickens.
  • Taste for saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt), more sugar, or more chili as desired.
Note: the sauce can be served warm or cold. With fresh rolls, I personally prefer a warm sauce to contrast with the cool rolls)

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