Fresh Spring Rolls {& Lettuce Wraps}


spring rolls with 3 different sauces from Our Best BitesYes, I do realize that the Super Bowl is this weekend. I also realize that this isn’t really your typical Super Bowl fare. Although it could be–I mean, what’s not to like? Avocado? Good. Cilantro? Good? Jam? Good. Kidding about the jam, 5 million dollars if you catch reference. Also kidding about the 5 million dollars. If I had 5 million dollars, let alone 5 million dollars to get away, I’d be hiding in a tropical location, eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the beach.

The first time I ever had fresh spring rolls was in college when my roommate Sara made them for us, the same Sara who gave my the Spanish Rice recipe. They were so fun and so different from anything I’d ever eaten before. Since then, I’ve expanded what I put in spring rolls–a little sushi rice, cucumbers, avocados, and spicy sushi mayo like it’s a spicy California roll, Asian salad dressing and nuts like it’s a salad, and the sauce from our Thai Peanut Noodles for dipping or drizzling inside the rolls. Seriously, you really can’t go wrong here–you’re not going to screw up the spring roll because everything tastes good together. These can be as healthy or as naughty as you want them to be. It’s all part of the fun.

First, you’re going to need something to wrap them in. You can do them in spring roll wrappers or you can just wrap them in butter lettuce if you’re watching your carbs.

spring roll wraps

You’ll also need an assortment of fillings.

spring roll fillings

In this picture, I have avocado, mango, basil, shredded carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and mint. Off the top of my head, here’s a more complete list of ideas for fillings:

Chopped cilantro
Chopped basil
Chopped mint
Lime wedges (for squeezing lime juice)
Thinly sliced avocado
Thinly sliced mango
Thinly sliced fresh pineapple
Seeded, thinly sliced jalapeno peppers
Cucumber, seeded and julienned
Shredded or julienned carrots
Chopped peanuts and/or cashews
Sushi rice
Soaked rice noodles
Shredded purple cabbage
Baby spinach

I made mine vegetarian, but you could definitely throw in some grilled shrimp, steak, or chicken. However, given the post-spring-roll disastrous state of my kitchen without cooking meat, I personally would probably forgo it unless Tim Riggins was coming over for dinner. Or Tammy Taylor, because I so desperately want her to like me. She’s not fictional, not fictional, not fictional.

The first thing to do is to make your dipping sauces. I made 3 that are pretty different, and you can mix and match them however you want to. First, I made that spicy mayo that you sometimes get on spicy sushi rolls. Then I made a sweet and savory peanut sauce and an Asian-inspired vinaigrette.


You can do this a few days ahead of time if you want to save yourself some work on the day of the spring rolling.

If you just want to make lettuce wraps and forgo the rice wrappers, wash your lettuce (actually, wash it either way). I like using butter lettuce because it’s large, flexible, and has a nice, sweet flavor. All you need to do is fill your lettuce leaves with your desired toppings and enjoy!

lettuce wraps

If you’re using the rice paper wrappers, fill a medium mixing bowl or a shallow saucepan with very warm water. Working with one rice wrapper at a time, soak until softened and flexible, so it kind of looks like plastic wrap. Lay the softened wrapper flat, then lay a piece of butter lettuce on top of it. Add desired toppings on top of the lettuce and, if you’d like, any sauces (you can also dip them later.) Carefully roll up as tightly as possible, starting with the right and left sides, then fold up the bottom, then folding the top over and rolling tightly(ish).

fresh spring rolls with 3 different sauces from Our Best Bites

These can be assembled ahead of time, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerated, or when you serve them, you can allow your eaters to make their own spring rolls.

These are so fun for a crowd SO delicious. Like awesome restaurant delicious. But in case that’s not gonna cut it for you and your Super Bowl party, here’s a link to the Appetizer section of the blog–poke around and I’m sure you’ll find something amazing for your game-watching enjoyment!

Valentine link




  1. Jam reference: Joey on “Friends.” I’ll take that 5 million cash or check. I’m glad I’m not the only one who randomly quotes “Friends.” 😉

  2. Our local Thai place puts thinly sliced green apples in their spring rolls as well. It doesn’t distinctly taste like apple, but just gives it a fresh and sweet touch. It’s soooooo good!

  3. I was totally reading “Jam? Good.” in the way Matt LeBlanc said it too. Awesome reference; one of the best episodes!

    Spring rolls look great and so fresh, something I would never think to make. Thanks!

  4. Joey in Friends! Love love love that episode… is it weird that this trifle actually always seemed appealing to me?

  5. Wow, looks like I’m not the only one that knows it was Joey in the Thanksgiving trifle episode. Do we all get to split the 5 million dollars. 🙂

    1. “It tastes like feet!” is the part I was going to quote,too. It’s one of the funniest episodes ever. That, and the one when Joey speaks French.

      The recipe sounds delicious! When I read “the post-spring-roll disastrous state of my kitchen,” it made me thing that I would love to see a picture sometime of your kitchen after you finish a post. We all love the pretty pictures and they inspire us to try your recipes, but I’m pretty sure I would feel better about myself if I could see before and after shots of your kitchen, too. 🙂

      1. Just thought of a question, too. Don’t spring rolls sometimes have some kind of clear noodles in them? What are those?

  6. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who uses random Friends quotes in everyday conversation! I like the idea of a “make-your-own-roll” bar- never thought of that before.

  7. I like how you put a question mark after the good referring to cilantro, like it is still questionable. And you already know my personal answer to that!

  8. I always randomly quote friends, and no one gets it, and my husband thinks I’m crazy. You are officially awesome in my book (not that you weren’t before) with this one!! Oh ya, the food, can’t wait to try these with the sushi rice. With. Chinese husband, I’m always looking for new ways to surprise him as he’s not a big fan of American food, and I am not a great Chinese food cooker!

  9. I totally bypassed the Joey reference and went straight to Tim Riggins. That’s crazy because my husband and I were just talking about him last night then I had a dream with him in it where his sister (yeah, wherever that came from) said he keeps his hair long and then straightens it so he could tuck it behind his ears because he doesn’t like hair in his face. Then I said, “Why doesn’t he just cut it?” I’m not the only one this crazy right?
    I, too, want to be Tammy Taylor

  10. Okay, stop bugging me! I know these are actually super easy to put together once everything is prepped – thanks for the variety of dipping sauces, too – and hubby and I LOVE them, so okay already, I’ll make some. Sheesh. Pushy. = )

  11. Yum! I just bought 2 packages of rice paper since I’ve been making these like crazy lately. I even found big square ones! I like vermicelli noodles, shrimp, cucumber, red pepper and carrot “curls”, cilantro and dipped in the peanut sauce. Yum’o!

    Also on a very exciting GF discovery, you can BAKE the rice paper! Seriously! I made GF spring rolls last night! ( Vietnamese style with vermicelli, ground pork/shrimp, carrot etc).

  12. We love to east these with mint leaves, shrimp, thinly sliced carrots and cucumbers, lettuce and vermicelli noodles. My favorite sauce is hoisin mixed with peanut butter and rice vinegar and garlic. These are great!

  13. i have never seen butter lettuce at the store . do you have to get it from the Asian store? as well as the rice paper.

    1. Butter lettuce should be super easy to find–never had a problem with that. You may need to go to an Asian market, though, to find rice paper (if you can’t find it at your grocery store).

  14. I just read this today… and laughed. I totally made spring rolls like this for a Super Bowl party on Sunday. I usually get mocked for bringing healthy stuff (I can’t help myself…I’m a dietitian) but nobody complained this time. I served them with a spicy pineapple-lime sauce (it has canned pineapple, lime juice, sriracha, soy sauce, ginger, cilantro and sesame oil). My husband will eat anything with that sauce or your Thai peanut noodle sauce on it. You are fantastic Kate!

  15. Best Friends Episode. EVER!!!!! Love that you quoted Friends. I love your cookbooks but this is my first time checking out the blog. Will have to come back more often now.

  16. I can’t wait to try these sauces, but I guess that’s a moo point after seeing I’m not the only friends fan freak out there! =D

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