Make way for your new favorite food – seasoned sushi rice, spicy tofu ‘tuna’, and creamy avocado are rolled in rice paper wrappers and cooked to golden brown perfection. Spicy tuna vegan spring rolls are guaranteed to be the talk of the town wherever you bring them, which may only be as far as your kitchen counter!
We’ve always loved spicy tuna rolls – as fiery pitta types, we can’t resist anything with spicy in the name. They’re our go-to sushi roll. So why not take all of the elements of the roll and turn them into crispy spring rolls bursting with umami flavor? I don’t know why we wouldn’t, so we did.
The spicy ‘tuna’ is made using grated tofu, which was insanely easy and DELICIOUS. Once you prepare the tofu ‘tuna’ and the sushi rice, it’s time to roll everything together and crisp them in a pan. The sticky sushi rice, creamy vegan tuna, and rich avocado held together in a crispy exterior is something better than words. Dubbed “the best thing I’ve ever eaten” by our dad (it still counts), these vegan spring rolls with spicy ‘tuna’ really bring the wow factor. The man said no notes!
Birth Chart of Vegan Spring Rolls with Spicy ‘Tuna’
Maybe you didn’t see this coming but we like to bring crazy astrology girl energy to everything we do, including our recipe development. Here are it’s big three:
Sagittarius Sun: The meal is exciting, a bit adventurous, and bold in flavor like your travel obsessed Sag friend.
Gemini Moon: Being a combination of a sushi roll and a spring roll, this meal embodies the duality of Gemini.
Aries Rising: Coming at you with fiery, crispy, in-your-face type of energy like the aggressive, Mars-ruled fire sign Aries.
What You’ll Need:
For the spicy tuna:
- Tofu: Grated tofu is the base of the spicy “tuna” mixture, adding protein and texture to the rolls.
- Vegan mayo: Adds creaminess.
- Sriracha: Puts the spice in “spicy tuna.”
- Lemon: A splash of lemon juice cuts through the rich, creamy flavors and adds a welcomed brightness.
- Tamari or Soy Sauce: Reduced sodium is preferred here for a touch of salty and savory notes.
- Nori Flakes (or sheet): These dried seaweed flakes provide a salty-sweet and umami flavor and high mineral content. A small amount adds robust flavor and balances the ‘tuna’ mixture.
- Scallions: Add a mild onion flavor and pleasant bite.
For the vegan spring rolls:
- Sushi rice: Short grain white rice is stickier, softer, and chewier than other varieties which makes it perfect for bundling up in a sushi roll.
- Rice vinegar: To season the sushi rice. You could use seasoned rice vinegar or sushi vinegar as well (typically includes salt and sugar).
- Rice paper wrappers: Dried, circular rice paper wrappers serve as the exterior of the spring rolls. They are very versatile and crisp up beautifully.
- Avocado: What’s a sushi roll without avocado?
- Olive oil: For pan-searing the rolls.
How to Make Vegan Spring Rolls with Spicy ‘Tuna’:
The process is quite simple when you break it down. To make the tofu ‘tuna’ you start by pressing the tofu and then using a box grater to shred it. Then mix it with all of the other ingredients and let them sit together in the fridge for about 30 minutes. While that’s jamming together you can cook and season the sushi rice.
When you’re ready to make the rolls, set up your station. You’ll dip the rice paper wrapper in water, move it to a cutting board or flat surface and start assembling. Add sushi rice, vegan spicy tuna, and avocado to the middle of the rice paper. Gently wrap it up like you’re making a burrito in the Chipotle assembly line. Set aside your cute mini burrito and continue on.
Once they’re all wrapped, pan-sear them in a non-stick pan with a tiny bit of olive oil or cooking spray. Now they’re creamy, crispy, and ready for action.
Tips and Tricks
- Adjust your sriracha to match your spice preference. We’ve found that different srirachas can have different spice levels. Start with less than you think and adjust accordingly.
- Set up your space for dipping, scooping, and rolling. When it comes time to assemble the rolls, have a clear area for dipping the rice paper wrappers, have your utensils ready to scoop the rice and spicy ‘tuna’, and have a dedicated space to roll them and set aside.
- Don’t overstuff. This is a constant reminder for us and the reason we can’t order burritos at Chipotle anymore – we want too many accoutrements and they can never wrap it! Don’t make that mistake here.
Substitutions and Variations
- If you don’t have nori: you can use 2 tablespoons of chopped capers for a briny flavor. Just note that they are very salty so be sure to use low-sodium tamari or soy sauce.
- Instead of avocado: you use thinly sliced cucumber or omit this altogether.
- Skip the pan sear: this advice is for some but not all. We sampled one (or two) before pan searing and they were quite delicious. They tasted fresher and more like a stuffed summer roll. A great option if you’re short on time or prefer summer to spring!
We love dipping these in a simple sauce made with tamari, lemon or lime juice, and a touch of sesame oil. They’re also great with extra spicy mayo, which is just equal parts sriracha and mayonnaise.
They make a great appetizer, game day snack (we’re into football now thanks to Kirk), or solo eating extravaganza. For a rounded out meal, add a refreshing ginger salad or cooked vegetable like green beans with sesame oil.
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