Rice Paper Rolls: Garden Fresh Salad Wrapped in Edible Paper!

Hello, Summer: this is my kind of Summer YUM!

Fresh garden vegetables sliced similarly…

…placed on a prepared rice paper…

…and rolled into a snug burst of lush summer flavour!

Rice paper is a magical find. For $2.49 for a 400g package (about 36 papers) how can one go wrong. You have plenty to “play” with and try to work with and develop skill with. It will be the best fun money you ever spent! You will not get it right the first time, but you will get it right way before you are a quarter into that package!

The first time I saw one of these I was in Vancouver in 1986. It was Expo and the Vietnamese Pavillion was serving them. I had no frame of reference for the texture and flavour of the wrap. It was translucent, transparent… sticky and fragile, yet strong. It was flavourless, but the texture was new and pleasing and the starch was definitely filling and satisfying. The dipping sauces were definitely half of the adventure. After that, they could be found in Vancouver restaurants all of the time, but not here. It took a very long time for these to hit the Edmonton restaurant scene. I think about 6 to 8 years later. But, correct me if you know better.

The first time I found them in the supermarket I went nuts. You bet I bought them. I had no idea how to use them. The internet in 1992 was nothing like the internet now. I couldn’t go and watch a video on Youtube to learn how to prepare a rice paper roll. I just asked around and figured it out. I have been making them ever since. Never often enough. The more shrimp the better, and though I omitted the vermicelli noodles inside of this one to leave the extra calories out, I would never do that again. Less noodles is better than more, but they are a very necessary part of this roll. YUM!


Vietnamese Salad Roll Recipe: makes 16 rolls


  • one long English cucumber, julienne
  • 2 big carrots, thin julienne
  • 1 large red pepper, thin julienne
  • 48 mint leaves (3 per roll)
  • 16 sprigs flat leafed parsley or cilantro
  • bundle of(4-5 chives per roll)
  • 16 chive flowers
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, butterflied
  • butter for frying shrimp
  • 2 to 4 clusters of vermicelli noodles
  • 16 large rice paper rounds or squares
  • dipping sauce


  1. prepare all vegetables; keep cool and set aside
  2. fry the shrimp in a bit of butter carefully to keep as flat as possible; cool
  3. prepare the vermicelli noodles by placing them in a bowl of hot water for 3 to 5 minutes until completely soft; strain
  4. prepare the dipping sauce, or buy it
  5. Place hot water in a shallow bowl that will accommodate each rice paper; pass one paper through the water quickly three to four times, and set on a parchment paper for filling
  6. Lay out the filling as desired: usually the shrimp or mint leaves are placed at the back of the roll so they can be seen through the paper; I did this with the chives, flat leafed parsley and chive flower, as well
  7. An amount of vermicelli noodles are then placed on top of the mint and shrimp (about the same amount of noodles as all vegetables to be placed in the roll: I did not do this)
  8. Place an equal amount of vegetables on top of the noodles vertically; then wrap the rice paper tightly around the filling; set on serving platter, or in a container in the fridge ensuring that rolls do not touch one another (I used saran wrap)
  9. Serve ice cold with dipping sauce


  • these are hard to roll tightly without the vermicelli noodles; they enable a tighter wrap as they serve as an additional adhesive
  • closing the rolls also make these easier to roll tightly and easier to eat
  • leaving the shrimp tail out of the roll involves cutting the shrimp to ensure that there is a good amount of shrimp vertically throughout the entire roll
  • if using a chive flower, the stem of the flower is tough and unpleasant; best to advise people to take the flower out of the roll as demonstrated above
  • anything can be used in these wraps; the key is for there to be crunch, freshness with a variety of textures and flavours that create a fresh flavour experience



  1. says

    This was a labor of love. So much work and looks almost too good to eat! I think they’d be perfect for serving at a summer garden party or bridal shower.

  2. says

    These look so lovely, but its your inclusion of those chive flowers that really gives it a stunning visual wow factor. These really are amazing, and the fact that they are so packed with vitamins and are low calories is pretty awesome too.
    *kisses* HH

  3. says

    So pretty with the chive flowers! I love making rice paper rolls too, not often enough either. I don’t remember them from Expo 86, but I was there, as a teen, with my aunt.

    • Valerie says

      Wasn’t Expo 86 something? Do you still have your passport? I do! I worked to get a stamp from every single pavillion. The 3-D seagulls flying at the GM Theatre had a huge impact on me as did the movie Rainbow Wars.
      Do you remember either of those? Powerful stuff.

  4. says

    If only I knew you back in 1992. Haha. Great great job with these rolls, my dear! We use chives in ours as well, but never the chive flower, really must try that next time. The flower really makes such a big difference in appearance. If I don’t have vermicelli on hand, sometimes I will wrap with rice, works just as well. Just need to let the rice cool down a little. I also use bean sprouts sometimes. Isn’t this just such a fun dish to make? All sorts of combinations you can play with. Mom makes hers with shrimp and fatty pork. I wonder if she’s been reading your posts. I’ve bookmarked your page for her. Probably not though as I see she’s still asking me how to do emails. Teehee. Oh and for our sauce we use fishsauce (the kind used for springrolls) or a mixture of hoisin and plum sauce.
    1 tbl spoon hoisin sauce
    1 tbl spoon water
    2 tbl spoon plum sauce
    I need to show Mom these gorgeous rolls! Take care! Big hugs! Say hi to Vanja for me.

    • Valerie says

      They won’t tear unless they are too wet. Experiment with a few and do not soak them in water, just run them through it a couple of time, lay on parchment paper, and fill. If not ‘wet” enough to fold and adhere by then, just dab with a bit more water…. but, they should be perfect by then. Hope this helps!

  5. Helene says

    Valerie, What an awesome idea for that summer lunch! Thank you for your excellent food blog. You definitely have one of the best!

  6. says

    These look so beautiful…almost too pretty to eat! But then I remember the ingredient list, and I change my mind :-) Thank you for sharing with me. Visiting your blog is always a great way for me to end my weekend. I hope you have a wonderful start to your week. Many blessings!

  7. says

    Oh my! This looks stunningly wonderful! Wow! Love it! I love how you incorporated the chive flowers. I just started a garden and I’m growing some chives. Hopefully they flower soon! I’d love to add them in my dishes! Thanks for sharing!

  8. says

    Oh Valerie, these little rice paper rolls are gorgeous. Thank you for bringing a pinch of Summer to my cold ol miserable wintery days. I adore Rice Paper Rolls, although, Ive never tried with the flowers too. They look too pretty to eat. Did you serve an Asian dressing with them? Any suggestions on a beverage to go with?

    • Valerie says

      If you read below, LeQuan gave a recipe for the dip she uses… I used a hot and sweet dip…but it was purchased. I wanted to make my own – but, ran out of time. :( I need a good recipe for something like this – like LQ gave to me – but hers also has plum sauce in it which I would have to buy – a scratch recipe that makes a smaller amount that will be used up.
      Drink? Hmmm…. something with mint comes to mind!

  9. says

    Your rolls are so beautiful, Valerie! You’ve taken plating to a new level with the beautiful flowers, chives, and cilantro peeking out the top. I must say, I’m sure parsley is delicious in these rolls, but I’ve always made rice paper rolls with cilantro and I can’t imagine them without cilantro (just goes to show that I’m not all that adventurous sometimes 😉 ). What kind of dipping sauce did you use? Was it a kind of plum sauce? My favorite sauce to make with these is a kind of peanut sauce, similar to what you would eat with a satay.

    … Oh, wait, I just read your comment above about the hot and sweet dip. That sounds pretty tasty, too :)

  10. says

    Valerie, these are so pretty! They’d make such a wonderful treat for a garden party or (dare I say) a girls’ brunch or lunch. I’ve made spring rolls once and loved them and now I know what I can make for us this week. Still have about 300 rice wrappers in my pantry.

  11. Chantelle says

    Where can u buy rice paper??? I looked all over and can’t find any. Am I looking in the wrong place In red deer?

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Superstore has it – every place does. It is in the Asian section. Just ask for the rice paper that makes the rice paper rolls and you will be directed to the shelf.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>