These homemade rainbow spring rolls are one of my favorite appetizers of all time. They are as delicious as any I've had at a restaurant and surprisingly easy to make! You've gotta try them.
Cook vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking. Place cooked noodles in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.
If including baked tofu, use 1/4 block of extra firm tofu and cut into strips (like super-skinny french fries). You can use the tofu fresh, or bake it to get a crispy finish. If you'd like to bake the tofu, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place tofu strips on a non-stick baking sheet tossed with vegetable oil. Bake for 8 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until you achieve your desired crispiness.
Prepare your veggies and clear a clean, flat work surface (such as a large cutting board or smooth countertop).
Fill a large bowl or plate with warm water and bring it to your spring roll assembly area. Dip each piece of rice paper into the warm water for approximately 4 seconds to soften and place it onto your work surface. Don' leave it in the water too long or it will tear easily. It will continue to soften out of the water over time.
Assemble the fillings in the center of the rice paper (as pictured), lined up in order by color. For instance: vermicelli noodles, tofu, red bell pepper slices, shredded carrots, yellow bell pepper slices, mint leaves, and cilantro. Leave at least 1.5 inches on all four sides for wrapping.
To wrap the spring roll, fold the sides over the fillings. Then, starting from the vermicelli noodle end, use both hands to fold the rice paper over the noodles and begin to tightly roll the rice paper and fillings into a tube-shaped spring roll.
Slice each roll in half using a sharp knife, serve with peanut dipping sauce (recipe below), and enjoy immediately!
The rice paper will dry out and get hard over time, so these are best enjoyed fresh, within a few hours of preparing them. If you will be storing them for a longer period in the fridge, wrap the rolls tightly in saran wrap so the rolls don't dry out.