+ Well Nourished | Rice paper rolls recipe

Rice paper rolls – think outside the box with lots of ideas for delicious fillings

I often make rice paper rolls, also known as fresh spring rolls.  Mainly because my kids absolutely love them and they are a quick, easy and healthy lunch box filler or snack.   I also  find them a great way to use up leftovers.  They  replace the humble sandwich which is great for moderating the amount of wheat consumed and offer a little lunch box variety.  The best thing is that they wrap up salads and other bits and pieces into very convenient little packages that kids just love.

The rice paper ‘sheets’ are available to buy in the Asian section of most supermarkets and are very simple to roll.  I normally set up a bit of a production line with the meat cut into smallish pieces in one bowl and the salad mix in another, dressed and ready to place on the rice paper as it softens.

How to make them:
To create a really nourishing meal or snack, you need to build a rice paper roll with a little protein and some sort of vegetable or salad.  It’s best to grate, shred or thinly slice (julienne) the salad and vegetables.  I also always mix in a little juice of  a lemon or lime to keep the salad fresh and also this adds a lovely flavour so they don’t need a dipping sauce.

  1. Start by running slightly warm water over both sides of the rice paper.  As you feel it start to soften, place it on a wet board or bench top, add the filling and roll.
  2. The paper goes sticky as it sits so get rolling quickly.  There are rolling instructions on the packet, but I generally place the filling towards the top of the paper (2 good heaped tablespoons), fold down the top edge, followed by the sides and then roll it downwards towards me.  You may have some funny shaped ones to start with but you’ll soon get the knack.

So I thought I’d share some of the ways I fill them, especially for a lunch box where dipping sauces aren’t practical.  As much as I absolutely LOVE traditional combinations with lots of Vietnamese mint and Thai basil in the mix, you don’t necessarily need to follow tradition. You can fill them with…

  • Leftover Asian lettuce cup mince with extra sprouts, shredded cabbage or lettuce and the juice of a lime.
  • Tuna, diced chicken or chopped up boiled eggs mixed with pesto and grated carrot (or any other vegetable or salad).  Try it with my Coriander, lime pesto.
  • Diced chicken or tuna, shredded nori (sushi) paper and salad or sprouts tossed in a little mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  • Diced leftover sausage or meat patties and shredded or grated salad dressed in a little lemon juice.
  • Leftover potato salad or coleslaw with diced chicken or tuna.
  • Any leftover quinoa, rice or noodle dish, salad and lemon juice.
  • Leftover omelette or frittata with salad and lemon juice.
  • Haloumi and salad dressed with lemon juice.
  • Chickpeas or cannellini beans marinated in lime juice and a little cumin and cinnamon powder, with salad, sprouts or coleslaw.

When placed side by side in a lunchbox, they can stick together a little.  My kids don’t have too much problem prying them apart.  But if your kids do, you can wedge a slice of apple or a piece of baking paper between them to stop them sticking together.


 Have you made rice paper rolls before?  What flavour combinations do you like? 

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Get a little fancy and serve rice paper rolls as an entree or light lunch.

  • Lucy

    Yum yum YUM – I love these… always making them and can’t get enough. So healthy and delicious!

    • Me too Lucy, they look fiddly but I find them so quick and easy to make. Even easier than sushi I think and more versatile too. G x

  • Zea

    I like to do ground beef or lamb with a gluten free honey soy sauce, then with julienne sliced carrot, red peppers, avocado, cheese, sometimes sweet corn, and to make them more filling I put angel hair (really thin) rice noodles in too 🙂

    • Zea

      Oh with julienne sliced snowpeas and cucumber too 🙂

    • Mmmm. Sounds good, thanks for sharing. G x

  • Melanie

    I have just discovered your website and love it! So classy and practical all at once! Even better you’re a fellow gold coaster too 🙂
    please keep up the excellent work.
    cheers, Melanie.

    • Thanks Melanie, thrilled you like it. I’m here to help and I do try my best to keep it real and practical. Yes we live in a special part of the world, that’s for sure. Glad you found us, G x

  • Amber K

    Thank you so much for this post. My two kids started school this week (Pre-school and Kindergarten) and I am very interested in making these as an alternative to sandwiches. I have just drawn up a shopping list and excited to pack their first rice paper rolls for lunch tomorrow!
    Thank you so much, your blog is an incredible resource 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. Hope your kids love them as much as mine do. G x

  • Nillo

    How long do they take to make I need somthing quick

    • Sorry Nillo, I’m certain I replied to you when you first posted. Anyway, if you have your fillings prepped, only a minute or so per roll once you have the knack of rolling them. G x

    • Sorry Nillo, I’m certain I replied to you when you first posted. Anyway, if you have your fillings prepped, only a minute or so per roll once you have the knack of rolling them. G x

  • Toni

    My fav combo is tuna, sour kraut (thanks to you!) and lettuce/spinach/kale (whatever greens I’ve got). It’s extra quick because there’s very little prep involved. My kids get a version of this in their lunch at least once a week. Mine never last until lunch- I usually end up eating them at morning tea!

    • Yes they are so versatile aren’t they, anything goes and I love the vinegary-ness of fermented veges with the tuna (a good flavour combo). I’m with you Toni, mine rarely make lunch either G x

  • Beck Emerson

    Hi Georgia, is this suitable to prep on a Sunday for a couple of days school lunches?

  • Eunice Ang

    Do they dry out if you make the day before for lunchbox?

    • Eunice I only make them fresh (but often have the filling pre-prepped). But many people on social media do make the the night before and keep moist with a wet paper towel – haven’t tried it myself though G x

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