Wintery Spring Rolls Recipe

The spring rolls I packed for a flight from San Francisco to Paris - ginger-onion paste, brown sugar tofu, mushrooms, and herbs.

Wintery Spring Rolls

This post started with me snapping a few photos of the lunch I packed for a flight from San Francisco to Paris. My hope is, by the time you see this, I'll be my way back home - film spent, notebooks full. I'm also going to hold out on you a bit, Paris wasn't my final destination. I was making my way someplace I've never been before.

Wintery Spring Rolls

For this trip, I packed spring rolls. And if my memory is serving me well, this was a first for me. I've done noodles, gyoza, mini burritos, and panini, but never spring rolls. My take: I slathered the rice paper wrappers with a gingery-onion paste, added a couple stiff-spined lettuce leaves for crunch, there was brown-sugar rubbed tofu, mushrooms, and herbs (in this case cilantro). When you have a glance at the recipe you might think it looks a bit component-y, but that's just the nature of spring rolls. They actually come together pretty quickly. And the good news is you can prep the onion paste and tofu a day or two ahead of time.

Wintery Spring Rolls

If you get the seasoning right on each of the components here, I'm going to argue that you don't need a dipping sauce. Although, I made these a number of times in the weeks leading up to my trip, and they are certainly good with a simple soy dipping sauce. Or, I do a simple twist on peanut sauce with almond butter (in place of the peanut butter) thinned with a bit of soy sauce, splash of miring, and either fresh lemon juice or brown rice vinegar to cut the creaminess of the nut butter. Thin with some hot water until it is the consistency you like.

If you're curious about what my little travel lunchbox looks like, you can see a few pics of it here. I'm excited to get home and share some pictures and new recipes with you! xo -h

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Wintery Spring Rolls

Here's how this works. Each roll has a slather of ginger onion paste, a couple crunchy lettuce leaves, some mushrooms, tofu, and a bit of cilantro (or other herb of your choice - mint, basil). Roll tight, and you're set.

Ginger Onion Paste:

2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 red spring onions, finely sliced (or equiv. red onion / shallots)
3 tablespoons grated, peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons sunflower oil

Brown Sugar Tofu & Mushrooms:

12 ounces extra firm tofu
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 teaspoons natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

8 ounces mushrooms, brushed clean, sliced 1/4-inch thick

For spring roll assembly:

Ginger Onion Paste (above)
Brown Sugar Tofu & Mushrooms (above)
crisp, crunchy lettuce (baby gems / romaine)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro or other herbs, well washed / dried
~1 dozen rice paper wrappers

Make the ginger onion paste: Place the onions and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle with the salt, and pound until the onions are quite bruised, but not paste-like. Heat the oil in a small saucepan until hot (hot enough that you could saute something in it). Add the onion mixture to the oil, remove from heat, and transfer to a jar to cool. I like to drain off (and save) most of the oil before using it here in the rolls, leaving just the paste.

Make the tofu & mushrooms: Pat the tofu dry, and cut into six equal slabs before arranging in a single layer on a rimmed plate. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle, sprinkle with the salt and sugar, and pound into a paste. Work the oil in, a bit at a time, until the ingredients are completely combined. Use your hands to slather and gently coat each piece of tofu, be quite thorough. Set aside, and leave the bowl dirty.

Cook the tofu in a single layer in a large skillet over medium-high heat until deeply golden on each side. I've found I don't need any addition oil here. Remove from the pan, and when cool enough to handle, slice into pencil-thick pieces, and salt to taste.

In the meantime, toss the mushrooms gently (but well), in the residual marinade left in the tofu bowl. Once the tofu is done, you can use the same tofu skillet to cook the mushrooms. Use high heat, and cook until the mushrooms release their water and take on a nice, dark color. Transfer to a bowl or platter, and season appropriately.

Assemble the spring rolls: In bowl of hot water, dip each rice paper wrapper for just 3 seconds. Resist over-soaking, even if the paper is a bit stiff it will continue to absorb water as you assemble the wrap. Place on a flat work surface and fold in half. Have a glance at the photos up above if you've never done this. You're going to want to keep all your ingredients crowded into 1/3 of the available surface of the wrapper at this point.

Put down a generous smear of ginger onion paste. Then a lettuce leaf, tofu, a few mushroom, cilantro. Then, tuck and roll. I like the open-sided rolls (above), but you can certainly make enclosed rolls by leaving the wrapper round, and folding in the edges mid-wrap.

Makes about a dozen rolls.

Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love these recipes that are snack as you go. Perfect plane carry one. Last time I was on a plane to San Francisco I watched a woman devour 24 cold chicken wings. I was amazed and couldn't stop counting...until she offered me one, slightly embarrassed. I vowed next flight I will have something healthy to share with someone else, and this recipe will be it!!!

Matthew @ Fig & Fork

I love these recipes that are snack as you go. Perfect plane carry one. Last time I was on a plane to San Francisco I watched a woman devour 24 cold chicken wings. I was amazed and couldn't stop counting...until she offered me one, slightly embarrassed. I vowed next flight I will have something healthy to share with someone else, and this recipe will be it!!!

Matthew @ Fig & Fork

Hi, this recipe including the pictures definitely looks awesome that it makes me want to get my hands to work on the kitchen. Can't wait to give it a try. Can you suggest though a good brand of tofu to use for this recipe? Thanks a lot!


made those a g a i n. mmmh gosh... that tofu is just amazing!! Best tofu ever.

Salome 2nd

Made those rolls yesterday. delicious!!! I substituted the mushrooms by a fresh avocado and added some crisp carrot shaves. Worked very well. The tofu is delicious! The favourite finger food of the year.


Oh wow. Those were delicious! I made a dry run earlier this week so I could tweak things if needed for a baby shower today: found it helpful to increase the amount of brown sugar/garlic paste a bit (not quite doubled), so I could be extra generous when slathering the tofu. Again, thanks for a winning recipe: I will be making these again and again.


These looked so amazing I had to try them, and after some tweaking they were delicious. First I made the ginger paste. SO salty! And the 6 tbsp of oil was way too much. I started over and used even less salt and only about 2 tbsp oil. Much better. I then proceeded to the tofu - something I've been cooking with for a very long time. Please mention in the recipe to pat dry the tofu! The brown sugar paste just slid right off on first attempt. So, I patted it dry and had somewhat better luck on the second try. With those little changes, these were amazing! I realized that I'm not a super wrapper, so I had everyone at dinner that night make their own and we all loved them! Thanks.


Thank you for that smart critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We received a very good book on that matter from our local library and most books exactly where not as influensive as your information. Im quite glad to see this kind of information which I was searching for a long time.

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Can you really take food on a plane? I figured it was forbidden, unless it's some kind of junk food sealed by the manufacturer. Twinkies, for instance.

HS: Hi Pam, I've never had trouble. I've never even had security ask about it. My sense is that as long as you don't have liquid sloshing around in your container, you're fine.


Just made these this morning before I left for work. They were supposed to be for lunch, but I'm not very good at rolling and knew they would be falling apart by then. So I ate them for breakfast and it was the best breakfast ever! Oh my goodness, so flavorful. I think my favorite part was the mushrooms. I just used thick-sliced button mushrooms. No dipping sauce was necessary as everything else was plenty flavorful. I can't thank you enough for your endless, superb recipes.


These are amazing but I would argue to use cold water instead of hot when assembling the rolls. I think the finished product is superior.


That brown sugar tofu sounds so amazing. I am definitely going to have to try it. I bet it would be a delicious addition to many asian inspired entrees.


What a nice healthy snack pack!! and what better way to avoid the awful plane food...............


I love how fresh and raw these spring rolls look. Great recipe as always and I hope you have had safe travels! :)

Julia {The Roasted Root}

I'm never sure whether to comment when I see that hundreds have gone before me (what's one more voice saying 'yum'?!) but just had to for these - I adore Vietnamese 'summer' rolls but have never seen a wintery twist, I love this idea! I think I'd have to have them with a bit of dip - its not a roll without it for me - so might try whipping up something using extra of your lush-sounding onion-ginger paste and a touch of soy. Thanks for the inspiration!


PS - I misread your instructions about making the onion/ginger paste, and added the oil and muddled everything together cold. I was horrified when I reread the instructions and realized my mistake, but...what the heck, it was too late, so I threw all of it into a little saute pan, heated it up, and it was just wonderful. I had to hold myself back from eating the paste right out of the pan. And the gorgeous green of the oil it made! My gosh. I want to make a whole bunch of scallion/ginger oil now, just on its own. My point - if I have one - is that this recipe is VERY forgiving!


Made my version of these tonight - WOW! By "my version" I mean my usual Vietnamese spring rolls with the addition of your KILLER onion/ginger base and your sugared tofu, but without the mushrooms, because I didn't have them. I used red leaf lettuce (it was on sale), and julienned seedless cucumber and julienned daikon instead of the mushrooms. I also added a few of those wonderful clear rice noodles that you boil for 10 seconds. I know this sounds like I changed a lot, but I didn't, really. I will never make spring rolls without your scallion/ginger paste again, and I adore the sugared tofu. I made a huge block of tofu, and was amazed and pleased that although I didn't let the tofu marinate long, the flavors definitely stuck to the tofu! Also, instead of being deep golden brown per your instructions, they ended up blackened and crunchy in parts - I have trouble regulating the heat with an electric stove - but they were still delicious! So the fact that I rolled them with slightly different ingredients just shows how versatile your onion paste and tofu is. The brown sugared tofu is just SO much better than the garlic/Brewer's yeast coating I have been using - thanks, Heidi!


I love the collection of different Vegetarian Recipes and Vegan Recipes. I'm exploring the no meat world for my clients. Thank you for sharing. peace.

Norman Askew

Loved this! Forgot how much fun it is to work with rice paper. Although I was lazy and did not make the "paste", just minced, it still turned out great. And I liked it with (siracha and soy) a dipping sauce and without. Thanks!


Lovely recipe. I am trying it this weekend! I saw in one your comment replies you were in Sri Lanka? When? What did you think? I am Sri Lankan. Well in theory. I havne't spent much time there since I was a kid, but I speak the language and totally look the part! :) I was there last year for a coulpe of weeks and backpacked with my brothers. Not as easy as say backpacking europe or even vietnam but it was great! I picked up a cookbook and been trying recipies here and there. So far nothing brilliant from my kitchen but I am hoping one of these days my mother's incredible cooking skills activate in my DNA! Now there will be this weird connection to Sri Lanka when I make these rolls! Cheers Heidi!


I just got back from vacation and am wishing I had these on my flight home instead of the $10 mozzarella sandwich on dry bread...! I love the sound of that ginger onion paste!!

Dramatic Pancake

I so loved this recipe. Ran out of ginger that day - so i used some thai green curry paste. Was a wonderful substitute. Also made a few other tweaks but the general concepts were kept the same. This was my first time using rice wrappers - had them sitting in my pantry - was just waiting the perfect way to use them and here came your recipe :) Thanks!


I like your recipes so much! They are so wonderful and healthy!

Anna Potselujko

I made these last night using shiitake mushrooms and they were so wonderful! I loved the sugar, garlic rub for the tofu. It was a true treat!


looks delicious!


We made these last night for out downton abbey weekly potluck. They were delicious. We added roasted cauliflower to a few cause we had it on hand. I especially love the ginger/onion base. Thanks Heidi for another great meal.


I love spring rolls and these ones look delicious. I have a question which I really really really would *love* answered...the cutting board, please, where did you get it? I am totally in love with it. Oh marble awesome!

Oana from dishchronicles

mmmm, those look good

Yadsia @ShopCookMake

Hi Heidi, Yesterday I cooked for the first time a recipe from your blog (I am new at 101cookbooks!). I cooked the Zuchini and ricotta cheesecake, I had been craving for it for a couple of weeks now! What to say? INCREDIBLE!!! I loved it and it will become a frequent dish at home! I am looking forward to cooking more recipes soon, I will be travelling to the US in a couple of weeks so I have just put your book in my amazon order to have it delivered to my hotel. Will return daily! Best regards from Buenos Aires, Cris


Made these spring rolls this weekend, and they were wonderful! I added thin slices of roasted sweet potatoes to the filling and used leftover sweet ginger baked tofu from Peter Berley's Modern Vegetarian kitchen instead of the brown sugar tofu called for in the recipe. I also used leftover sauce from the sushi rice bowl recipe out of SNC as the dipping sauce. All in all, this is a highly adaptable simple and filling recipe. Thanks, Heidi!


Very tasty. I used a bit of left over crispy pork, and hoisin sauce instead of the tofu.

Dave Beaulieu

I love scallion ginger sauce, but I've only ever had it on noodles. Great idea to incorporate it into summer rolls.


There's no question - these are so pretty Heidi! We just made a movie of how to make Chicken Spring Rolls - loving how we're all on the same wavelength... I'm off to Paris Friday and may just have to pack up a few for the trip. :-)

Maggie at Eat Boutique

Let me start by saying I love summer rolls so these winter rolls are just an wonderful excuse to continue the love - thanks for the continued inspiration Heidi! Sia I think the mushrooms are called buna shimeji mushrooms - they have a great nutty flavour and are super delish. Hope that helps! Nx

HS: Thanks Nicola - I wasn't sure of the mushroom type. Wayne keeps buying them and they're not labelled. In my head I've been calling them giant enoki :)


Hi all, please can anyone tell me the type of mushroom used here??? Thanks, Sia


Hi all ...can anyone please tell me the name/type of mushrooms used here in spring roll??? I also just want say I love your blog, it inspires me in so many ways. Thanks so much, Sia


component-y :) love the idea of a brown sugar/garlic marinade on the tofu, mmm... have a fabulous trip, wheresoever you are!


Wow - I've been wanting to make ricepaper rolls for ages, and this recipe sounds so good it's just the inspiration I need. Yum!!!


I love fresh rolls like these! Reminds me of Vietnam!

Jen Laceda

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