This is one of those recipes that has found a way into the rotation every winter. It’s a lovely mix of fresh ingredients with the feeling of a hearty lunch. Best of all, these spring rolls can be made up to 24 hours in advance making them perfect for lunches or even get-togethers. This recipe heavily inspired by Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe (gỏi cuốn) but given the significant departure from the traditional Vietnamese recipes, I’ve changed the name to rice paper rolls.
Rice papers are a pantry staple in my house. I want to know that if I have produce on hand, I could easily whip up a batch of spring rolls. I usually prefer these brown rice wrappers but they aren’t the friendliest version to start your rolling journey.
There are also discrepancies among different brands of regular rice papers. Some are too thin and tear easily while some have other ingredients outside of tapioca and rice. This older post about the differences can also be super helpful.
Older version: Noodles
This recipe has actually lived on the site for years but was one that needed a solid update. The original version called for using rice noodles with the sweet potatoes. While I still like this version, it’s heavier than these all veg and green version.
If you want to add rice noodles, cook according to the package, drain, and then rinse. Add a about ¼ to ⅓ cup of noodles to each other. I really like Annie Chun’s Maifun brown rice noodles. Beyond adding these noodles to the sweet potato rolls, they also work well as the basis for veg-heavy noodle bowls.
One thing to watch with this recipe is the spice-level. I like these spring rolls pretty spice so I use what feels like a decent amount of crushed red pepper. You can obviously use less or you can switch up the source of the heat.
If I have sambal oelek or a garlic-chili paste on hand, I’ll often use that as a substitute. If you’re not a fan of spice, ditch the crushed red pepper all together or go with ½ teaspoon.
Make into a Salad
If you’re not feeling confident in your rolling ability or can’t find the rice papers, turn this into a salad. The sweet potatoes and spinach make for a great salad combination. Use a ginger-based dressing to boost up the flavor.
Save for later/Make-ahead
Spring rolls can be made ahead of time, up to 24 hours. When I do this, I wrap them in a damp towel and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
These sweet potato spring rolls make for a delicious and vibrant lunch that is gluten-free and easily vegan.
8 rice papers
4 cups shredded spinach
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
1 bunch (8-10) scallions
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons chili flakes
2 tablespoons honey or vegan-friendly sub
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
soy sauce, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- In a small bowl, combine the chili flakes, garlic, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt. Cut sweet potato into long and thinner sticks (1/4″ thick). Slice the scallions lengthwise into quarters and roughly the same length as the sweet potatoes. Toss sweet potato and onion with the chili mixture. Place on a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes- sweet potato should be just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before assembly.
- Roughly chop the spinach and place in a bowl.
- Set up an assembly station with the slightly cooled sweet potatoes, spinach, sesame seeds, a bowl of warm water, and a cutting board.
- Soak the rice paper for 10-15 seconds (you don’t want it too soft when taking it out of the water.) Place rice paper on a cutting board and load with spinach and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds then roll, tuck, and fold in sides as you go. Continue with remaining ingredients.
- Once done slice in half and serve with a little bowl of soy sauce.
The key with the rice papers is to not overly soak them before laying on the cutting board. They will continue to soften as you stack ingredients.
Keywords: vegetarian spring rolls, sweet potato spring rolls