Vietnamese Spring Rolls & Internship Days

I cannot believe it has been two full years since my dietetic internship! This time two years ago I was studying my butt off for my board exam to become a Registered Dietitian. In honor of the anniversary, I will reminisce…

In order to be a dietitian, there is a practical internship comprised of three topic areas: clinical, community, and food service. Of the three, food service was at the bottom of my anticipation list. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually enjoyed and connected with many aspects of food service.

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I will zero in on one great experience with the University of Maryland Dining Services and my partner Mavis.Mavis and I

(Mavis and I at graduation)

Basically, we got to create a menu from our food dreams– making items we wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to with a professional chef. Mavis and I are both foodies so this was a dream come true for us (minus all the grunt work needed to bring this meal to fruition for over 20 people).


(theme meal picture that does not do the meal justice)

We decided this was our opportunity to make sushi (ahi tuna sushi), work with phyllo dough (phyllo dough stuffed with roasted vegetables pictured above), and Vietnamese spring rolls. The whole meal was awesome, but the Vietnamese spring rolls were absolutely my favorite item on the menu. Before the theme meal, I was intimidated to make them. Working with a professional chef and creating the rolls in large quantities cured that fear.

The only problem is, I can’t exactly remember how we made the spring rolls that day. This is partly because the recipes we worked so hard to come up with were mere outlines to the chef’s creativity. With fear out of the way and general knowledge from experience (plus some Pinterest scanning), I recreated my own variation of Vietnamese Spring Rolls. These these may add a new meaning to the word fresh. Check them out!



Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Prep Time: 1 hour

Time: 40 minutes

Makes: 6-8 rolls


Spring Rolls

  • 4 ounces vermicelli or rice noodles
  • 8-10 Rice Spring Roll Papers ( a few extra in case they break)
  • 1 14oz-package of firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 3 large carrots washed and chopped
  • 1/2 medium cucumber washed and chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper washed and chopped
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce washed and torn
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs (mint, basil, or cilantro- I tried all 3)


Peanut Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water

peanut sauce


Spring Rolls~

  • The Tofu needs to be pressed- open package and drain fluid. Wrap in paper towels and place under pressure (I used a heavy cutting board) for one hour
  •  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • When tofu is pressed, slice it into strips about 3 inches long, coat with olive oil and panko bread crumbs, and bake for 20-25 minutes


  • Wash and chop all vegetables in strips about 3 inches long
  • Wash and chop all herbs


  • Soak vermicelli or rice noodles for ~ 10 minutes and drain
  • Prepare rice spring roll wrappers according to directions (I soaked in water for 3 seconds)
  • Wrap the combination of ingredients your little heart desires– be careful papers are thin and sticky so do not overfill


Peanut Sauce~

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Taste
  • Enjoy :)


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