Warmer days means that it’s time to put that crock pot away and start eating fresh again. Our bodies crave lighter meals in the summertime which makes plant-based eating super easy. Vegan salads are a great meal to make with seasonal produce, however there are only so many salads you can eat before getting sick of them. Put that salad on hold and go for other light summer meals. Summer rolls are the perfect light and healthy meal. With the freshness of a salad, you can’t go wrong with these rolls. Wrapped in rice paper and filled with fresh ingredients, summer rolls can be hearty and adaptable to any flavor you want. Vietnamese in origin, summer rolls are typically stuffed with shrimp, pork or chicken and thin, rice noodles. Opt out of the meat products and use plant-based ingredients to create satisfying rolls. Get creative with how you wrap your food! Here are 10 different, exciting ways to stuff a plant-based summer roll:
1. Cucumber and Avocado
Avocado makes every summer dish taste better. This superfood is loaded with healthy fat, antioxidants and fiber to keep your body satisfied and healthful this summer. Similar to a sushi roll, cucumber and avocado would make a refreshing summer roll. This is only one way to use abundant cucumbers, and these cooling vegetables will surely add a nice crunch to your bite. You can add some rice, carrots or tofu for extra heartiness, or even throw in some wasabi or soy sauce.
2. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is super simple to make plant-based. Wrapped up, pad Thai summer rolls can be a mouthwatering delight. Skip the egg and fish sauce and use tofu instead. Following the steps for this Street Pad Thai, use rice noodles, fresh cabbage, peanuts and soy sauce for your rolls. For a classic summer roll dip that would pair fantastically with your pad Thai, make this Spicy Garlic Peanut Sauce.
Fermented foods are essential in a plant-based diet. Since many sources of probiotics come from dairy, vegans must find an alternative. Kimchi is a tasty fermented food packed with probiotics. Similar to sauerkraut, kimchi is sourced from cabbage and is easy to make at home. Try stuffing your next summer rolls with a some kimchi. To balance out the spiciness opt for adding some avocado, kale or a meaty plant-based protein such as tempeh.
Teriyaki is a versatile sauce that can bring out bursting flavors in food. The neutral taste of rice paper makes teriyaki a great sauce to add to a summer roll. Make this Teriyaki Glaze to marinade a plant-based protein in, or use it as a dipping sauce for your rolls. Add some rice, bell pepper and carrot to the filling and top with sesame seeds for that true teriyaki taste.
5. Mushroom and Garlic
Mushrooms are extremely versatile in a plant-based diet. For that umami flavor we crave in dishes, mushrooms are an excellent vegetable substitution to meat. Try these Garlic and Thyme Pan Seared Mushrooms in your summer rolls for a fresh and filling meal. While summer-seasonal, thyme is a refreshing herb for any time of the year. A mushroom filling will take mere minutes to sauté, roast or grill- check out these 10 Delicious Ways to Cook With Mushrooms for other ideas for your summer rolls!
6. Tofu Curry
Curried tofu is a protein-packed and zesty way to dress up your summer rolls. Tofu salad is a picnic staple that can replace any chicken or tuna salad. Simply add curry powder and some spices to crumbled tofu salad and you’ve got yourself a filling. Use this Curried Tofu Scramble as inspiration, or use if you want warm summer rolls. Make sure to use firm tofu so your summer rolls don’t fall apart, and feel free to add some fresh celery, onion or red pepper for some crunch.
Don’t fear the seaweed- this slimy green vegetable fits in perfectly with a plant-based diet. Full of magnesium, zinc and B vitamins, seaweed can transform your summer rolls into a nutrient-dense meal. Try making these Spring Rolls With Wakame, and feel free to add any vegetables you’d like. This Easy Seaweed Salad would also make a great filling.
8. Ginger and Maple
Taste the flavors of autumn in your summer roll. This Gingery Maple Glazed Tempeh will transport your summer rolls to have all the warmth and comfort that the cooler seasons provide. Ginger is beneficial for digestion and could be added in a pickled form for a summer roll like sushi, or in a crystalized form for a sweeter roll. For more subtle maple flavors, dip your vegetable-filled summer rolls in this Maple Mustard Glaze.
9. Carrot and Sweet Potato
Craving something hearty but not too heavy? Add carrot and sweet potato to some summer rolls. This combination tastes great in a vegan burrito and makes an awesome summer roll filling too. These Sweet Potato Spring Rolls use mashed sweet potatoes as a spread, and basil and mint for freshness. For some crunch you can add shredded carrots or thinly sliced cucumber.
10. Spicy Bean
Beans are a hearty way to get full-bodied textures and nutrients that other plant-based ingredients can’t offer. Versatile in how they can be cooked and used, this fiber food can easily be used in summer rolls. Try mashing your beans to create a spread and add some spiciness with cayenne pepper, chili flakes or this Homemade Hot Sauce. You can use any beans you have on hand such as black beans, white beans or chickpeas. These Slow Cooker Spicy Pinto Beans paired with rice and fresh scallion are sure to please.
Get rolling and have some fun making summer rolls! Using rice paper, thin noodles, rice and loads of vegetables, summer rolls can be a light, yet filling meal. Choose simple proteins like tofu or tempeh and don’t forget a dipping sauce! These are only 10 different ideas for fillings, but your options are endless for what you can add to your rolls. Do you love summer rolls? Share your thoughts, what’s your favorite way to stuff them?!