Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

by Pamela

Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

Spring rolls have been a favorite around our house since we moved to California and discovered them in this tiny little Vietnamese restaurant years ago. I remember when I first realized that I could make them at home. One of the best parts of making your own spring rolls is that you can fill them with the things that you like and leave out things you don’t like. (Cilantro comes to mind, since some people really don’t like that herb and it’s usually found in spring rolls.)

I haven’t made spring rolls in a while, but recently we found a Thai restaurant that we really like and they have a basil roll on the menu that we literally crave. Since I had some rice paper wrappers I thought I might make my own version. The rolls from the restaurant are just an appetizer (no meat…lots of basil) and I wanted to make a light dinner out some spring rolls. I luckily got my hands on some nice Key West shrimp, steamed them and I was on my way.

To make thing a little easier for you, I took some step by step pictures to give you a little photo tutorial on how to stuff and roll the spring rolls. Once you get the hang of handling the rice paper, it’s a piece of cake.

How To Make Spring RollsYour first step is to take the rice paper wrapper and place it into warm water. This is easiest if you use a pan or a dish that is slightly larger than the wrap. I used one of my skillets. That way I could easily re-warm the water if I needed to.

Once the wrapper is pliable (this only takes about 30 seconds in the warm water) you carefully remove it and place it either on a non-terry cloth towel (little fuzzies will stick to your spring rolls) or a smooth surface. I make mine on both and find them to work pretty much the same. Next, lay out shrimp (that you’ve sliced in half). You could also use chicken for this or maybe just make vegetarian rolls and skip the meat all together. (Tofu works great in these spring rolls.)

Next, add your herbs. I added a combination of mint and basil. I really like the way the two herbs taste together and they don’t overpower the whole roll.

How To Make Spring RollsAfter the herbs I added a small handful of baby lettuces. I like to use these instead of the usual romaine because they don’t poke through the rice paper wrapper as much as the romaine tends to do. I then added a heaping tablespoon of quinoa on top of the lettuce. I use quinoa instead of the rice noodles because I like the flavor, it adds more protein and I usually have it handy (as opposed to the rice noodles).

After that I tuck julienned cucumbers on one side of the pile and carrots on the other side. These give the spring roll a nice crunch and they help to hold the other fillings in line when you’re rolling them up.

How To Make Spring RollsNow it’s time to get rolling! First, fold up the side that’s closest to you. Fold it as tightly up against the filling as you can. Yes, that’s a small tear you see in mine. It’s no big deal because it will be covered once it’s rolled up. Then fold up both sides around the filling. Now use your fingers to tuck the filling into the pocket you created as you use your thumbs to start rolling up the spring roll. When your done, it should look the one on the right. You’ll notice that the rice paper gets sticker as it dries out, so you’ll want to work fairly quickly. If you want your spring rolls to look a little prettier, you can layer your herbs first then put the shrimp on top of the herbs. Then the herbs will show through instead of the shrimp.

How to make spring rollsPlace the rolls on a wax paper lined pan then top with another sheet of wax paper and pop them into the refrigerator. We ate these spring rolls for two days and they didn’t dry out when I stored them like that. Now you can make the delicious lemongrass dipping sauce. Or if you just don’t feel like making the sauce (a shame, because it’s ridiculously good) you could use store bought sweet chili sauce or a peanut sauce.

Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce
Prep time
Total time
Easy spring rolls with shrimp - Add your favorite ingredients to these spring rolls to make a dinner recipe everyone will love. Photo Tutorial.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 3-4
  • For Spring Rolls
  • 12 Rice Paper Wrappers
  • 18 Shrimp (steamed, peeled and cut in half horizontally)
  • 24 Basil Leaves
  • 24 Mint Leaves
  • Baby Lettuce
  • 2 Cups Quinoa (will have some leftover)
  • 2 Carrots, cut julienne style
  • 2 cucumbers, cut julienne style
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • For Lemongrass Dipping Sauce
  • 1 Lemongrass stalk
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 3 Teaspoons Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, grated
  • ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  1. For Spring Rolls
  2. Heat water, until warm, in pan/skillet large enough to dunk the rice paper wrappers in.
  3. Once water is warm, place the wrapper into the water and gently press it into the water so that it softens all over. Once softened (about 30 seconds) remove from water and carefully lay out on work surface.
  4. Arrange 3 sliced shrimp in the middle of the wrapper and top with 2 leaves basil and 2 leaves mint.
  5. Top with some baby lettuce.
  6. Add a heaping tablespoon of quinoa on top of the lettuce.
  7. Add 3 or 4 strips of cucumber to one side of the filling. Place them in there snuggly against the filling.
  8. On the other side of the filling, add some of the carrots in the same way as you did the cucumbers.
  9. Top with a sprig of cilantro, if you like.
  10. Begin to roll the spring roll by folding the wrapper, of the side closest to you, up over the filling. Pull it as close to the filling as you can.
  11. Now fold both of the sides inward, over the filling. Again, pull it as close to the filling as you can.
  12. Use your fingers to tuck the filling into the pocket you just created and use your your thumbs to roll the wrapper completely over the filling.
  13. Arrange spring rolls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and cover them with another sheet of wax paper when all of the spring rolls are done.
  14. Slide into the refrigerator to chill.
  15. For Lemongrass Dipping Sauce
  16. Peel the hard layers off of the lemongrass and cut off the hard end. Then thinly slice the lemongrass through the tender part. Discard the hard woody part. (You'll only be slicing about 3-4 inches of stalk.)
  17. Add all ingredients to a covered container and whisk to combine. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  18. DO NOT EAT THE LEMONGRASS from the dipping sauce. It won't hurt you but it's definitely woody and not very appetizing.
  19. Serve 2-3 per person if having for dinner.
Serve these whole or cut on the diagonal. These are great for appetizers too.


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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm

I’ve never made rolls with quinoa but these look yummy. I’m dying to try the dipping sauce too!

Pamela August 7, 2015 at 9:11 am

Hi Maureen, the dipping sauce would be great on so many things! You should try the quinoa in the rolls sometime. It tastes great and isn’t as messy as you would think.

John@Kitchen Riffs August 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

That dipping sauce looks amazing! As do the spring rolls. Love the pictures, too! Good post — thanks.

Pamela August 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

Thanks John, that dipping sauce would be great on noodles too.

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