Bacon Lettuce Tomato (BLT) Spring Roll – I broke the rules. Sorry, Mom.

BLT Bacon Lettuce Spring Rolls on @whiteonrice

Update: here’s our latest tutorial on how to make and roll spring rolls .

I sincerely hope after this recipe goes live that no one pounds me with a beating of 20 lashes because I broke some rules. Sometimes a girl needs a little culinary excitement in her life and if it means venturing outside my cultural comfort zone to feed myself, I’ll game for the challenge. I’ll also brace myself for the bruises.

The person I’m most concerned about is my Mother, the kitchen diva who lives to feed everyone with her own two hands before she even thinks of nourishing herself.

BLT Bacon Lettuce Spring Rolls on @whiteonrice

Before I delve further into my public apology to Mom, there’s a back-story that you all should be aware of. Mom is a hard-core traditional home cook and although she’s stretched her cooking wings to experiment with other non-Vietnamese dishes, the woman is still deeply rooted to her culinary history. She won’t compromise on technique, flavor, spice, freshness and more intensity of spice.

If the food is bland, she’ll tell you. If she puts a dish in front of you and she changed her mind and is not happy with it, she’ll take it away. And you will starve. Seriously friends, I’m not kidding. We don’t eat unless she’s completely happy with the dish.

But if she’s happy with her dishes for the day, we all beg her for mercy to stop the feeding. We all wave our surrender flag from the food coma pains. Again, I’m not exaggerating.

BLT Bacon Lettuce Spring Rolls on @whiteonrice

Now that I’ve made it more clear how deeply, passionately and lovingly abusive she can be when it comes to feeding I hope you can understand why I’m apologizing to my Mom.

Fresh spring rolls wrapped with rice paper, fresh vegetables, herbs and delicately grilled meats was always a staple in our family. When Mom and Dad asked what we wanted for dinner, we’d all call out for hamburgers, pizza and macaroni and cheese. Most of the time, those requests went un-answered.

Our back-up dinner request was always fresh spring rolls because we all loved making the rolls ourselves. We’d have bowls of water on the table and secretly splash water from the rice paper bowls at each other when Mom and Dad weren’t looking. Dad was always the head-meister at the table top grill, nurturing the meat to the perfect, fragrant char. He never really saw the little food fights that were we were battling across the table.

Little brother #3 would throw a cucumber at brother #1 and Dad wouldn’t leave his sight from the meat. He really loves his beef, it’s such a luxury for him.

BLT Bacon Lettuce Spring Rolls on @whiteonrice

After a few episodes of annoying the heck out of each other, all six of us kids would focus back on rolling our dinner. A tear of crisp green lettuce layered on top of soft, pliable rice paper was the first step to playing with our food. Next, a few fresh herb leaves were plucked from their garden fresh stems. We’d lace the rice paper with some bean sprouts and cucumber for crunch. A final, thin serving of grilled lemongrass beef would grace our pile of greens.

Our small hands would gather the fillings to one end of the rice paper and roll till we produced a perfectly right spring roll. Dip in fish sauce, bite, enjoy and do it all over again. That’s why we loved spring rolls so much. It was such a fun, communal meal and every bite was different, fresh, satisfying. It was *almost* better than frozen pepperoni pizza.

So, as I grew up, I started to experiment more with what I could roll in a spring roll. I shared this amazing way of eating with Todd and over the years, our love of spring rolls was the brain-child of our first cookbook idea  (this cookbook story is another post).

I’d often tell Mom what I was doing with the rice paper and all the interesting, yet respectful preparations I was making with spring rolls. She would cringe and ask me how that would pair with nuoc cham fish sauce dip. Her life resolves around fish sauce and everything makes more sense when it has fish sauce in it.

BLT Bacon Lettuce Spring Rolls on @whiteonrice

I would offer to make her some of my unique spring roll creations and she’s shake her head and tell me it’s too odd for her. If it doesn’t have grilled pork, tofu  or lemongrass beef, she won’t touch it with a 10 foot chopstick.

Regardless of the verbal lectures I’d get from her about the oddities of my cooking and traditional culinary rule breaking, I’d continue to carry on in the kitchen with my erratic spring roll behavior. I’ve tried almost every variation and recipe I can think of for rice paper.

With this BLT spring roll, I’ve totally broken some rules with my Mom because there is no fish sauce in this recipe. But there is pork. I’m respectful of that.

I’ve also committed some seriously offensive spring roll crimes because I added raw tomato and bacon, two ingredients Mom and my ancestors would ever think of adding. I can hear them now, “How blasphemous this child is! Who raised her?!”

I wanted to have a fun, fresh, yet still devilishly-bad bacon creation for the spring roll and thus, the BLT spring roll is born. These rolls are satisfying, gluten-free, low carb and are the perfect lunch to hold you over till you want to crash with your carbs. Think of this recipe as a BLT sandwich in a roll that you can eat a lot of and not feel overloaded on bread.

Mom doesn’t know about this recipe yet and she’ll probably double-freak-out because I didn’t pair it with a fish sauce dip.

So Mom, I’m apologizing to you ahead of time for totally breaking the rules here. But please, to her and all of you traditionalists, don’t judge me until you’ve taken a bite. Or two. Or the whole darn plate because they’re so good!

Respectfully, your Spring Roll Rebel,

diane

Don’t miss out on our free recipe updates and food, travel, garden stories. Subscribe to our free email updates here and on our Facebook Page . Follow and connect with us on Instagram (Todd), Instagram (Diane)Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Bacon Lettuce Tomato (BLT) Spring Roll

Yield: Serves 3-4

Total Time: 10 min

I've added fresh basil to these spring rolls for an added freshness, but if you don't have basil, fresh mint or any herb will be a wonderful addition. We've paired it with a sesame-soy dipping sauce. Depending on the saltiness of your bacon and your soy sauce, you may want to thin out the soy sauce with some water to cut back on the saltiness.

Ingredients:

  • fresh lettuce, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes (seeded and sliced 1/4" thick)
  • 6 pieces of bacon, fried
  • fresh basil, mint or other herbs
  • rice paper

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, fill it with water and make it warm by adding hot water. Gently dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for a few seconds till damp. Don't over soak the rice paper. Place rice paper on plate, or working surface. As rice paper begins to absorb the water and become more soft and pliable (10-30 seconds, depending on wrappers and water temp.), begin to add the fillings.
  2. On the 1/3 section of the rice paper wrapper closest to you, start layering your fillings of lettuce, tomatoes and bacon. You can just have 1 bacon per spring roll but if you want to make it extra flavorful and decadent, add 2 slices of bacon.
  3. Start rolling the wrapper over the fillings away from you, tucking and rolling the wrapper with your fingers, making sure all the fillings remain right and round within the rice paper wrapper.
  4. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap to eat a few hours later.

Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Sesame Oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar. Close lid and shake vigorously for 15 seconds or until emulsified.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.



Shop This Story:

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Annie

    These were delicious and so easy! I included mint and Thai basil. No lettuce around so I used mustard greens accidentally bought at the store which worked perfectly. I added sliced avocado, oh my! So dreamy with the crunch of the bacon. No mayo in house but I had some spicy peanut sauce. To my surprise this worked GREAT. Will be making these regularly.

  2. Lisa Meyer

    My mom is Vietnamese also. I was cracking up reading this! My mom always attempted non Vietnamese food but it ALWAYS had a Vietnamese twist.

  3. susan su

    I love it too.
    But how to make the rice paper?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We buy it. Not too easy to make.

  4. Ellie

    These look amazing and I really want to try them! Just one question – can I use leftover bacon from the night before to roll these spring rolls or will it taste strange?

    Hope to hear from you soon so I can make these!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      That would work perfectly. Great way to prep ahead so when you roll the spring rolls in the am it is nice and quick.

  5. Erin

    I made these for dinner tonight and they are unbelievable. Even our toddler couldn’t get enough. Fantastic recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Row

    Pure genius! Love the creativity. :)

  7. Dawn

    We had these for dinner and they were delicious and easy. We plan to make them again and tweak the sauce adding more lime and low sodium soy sauce to cut some of the salty flavor of traditional soy sauce therefore (hopefully) getting more of the bacon flavor. Always comes back to bacon…thank you for posting this recipe, it is a treat!

  8. Susie Stenmark

    Hi Todd & Diane, I’ve just come across your blog and love your fresh and irresistible photography!
    I’m making these BLT spring rolls tonight and think I will add avocado. I am in Sydney, Australia and we are in Spring, so these rolls are perfect warm weather food!
    Thank you!
    Susie

  9. Vyvacious

    I am in love with this non-traditionalist spring roll concept! I, for one, love spring rolls because it has also been a huge staple in my family. Can’t wait to try these as well as other variations you may have :)

  10. Broadsheet

    These are great dipped in Sriracha Mayo or Chipotle Mayo for that authentic BLT flavor.

  11. Jack Tanksley

    T & D, this is so up my alley that I think I’ve answered a life long question. If you had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life what would it be? This may be #1. Number two was an excursion you lead me on when the family went away for a week at the beach (Spring Break) and that was my different type of Banh Mi every day for a week. So, thanks for answering my lingering life long question. Now a favor. My sister recently went Vegan. I couldn’t do that no matter how much good karma it might bring me. I need to make a Spring Roll for her birthday, the 4th of July. It needs to have some “meat-like” flavors and be an Asian (I prefer Vietnamese) style and also satisfy her hubby who has been dragged by the ears along on this Vegan adventure. Thanks, for all the great posts, Jack.

  12. Susan

    We made these last week — LOVE that they are gluten free! — and they were a big hit. Tonight my son asked us to please put them on the menu for this week, too. I’ve had a package of spring roll paper in my pantry for months — now that I’ve actually made some I don’t know what took me so long to give it a try! For the sauce we made a creamy herb & sesame oil mayo (thinned with some coconut milk) rather than soy sauce. It complimented the BLT flavors and it was gobbled up, too — my daughter actually licked the bowl, lol. Thanks for sharing this non-traditional spring roll recipe — now I’m thinking outside of the box with all sorts of cool ideas about what I could stuff these neat little wraps with.

  13. Sarah

    I love the twist especially as it removes a couple of hundred calories from one of my favourite sandwiches :)

  14. Leah

    Great idea! I will definitely try this! On a side note, those who are gluten free should use tamari or liquid aminos as a sub for soy sauce.

  15. Bethany

    Thanks for the idea! I love mixing cuisines and coming up with something fun and different. I’m sure your mom would freak at my lunch today….tuna salad rice paper rolls

  16. Di

    This recipe may just save my life. My daughter LOVES BLT’s but has recently been diagnosed with a Gluten intollerance. Being a teenager, she is fighting it all the way. This is a great alternative, to one of her go to favorites. So going to make these for her. Thank you!

  17. Lynn Biasini

    I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Dee

    It was amazing to discover your site – what awesome visual feast! The shots are great and the food look tasty and hopefully i’d be able to find time to cook up a storm too! Thanks for the wonderful posts! :)
    Good things are meant to be shared, and i’d like to share with my readers your lovely site too!
    Hope you don’t mind :)
    http://whitesays.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/new-reads-for-you-me/
    <3 Dee, Singapore

  19. Diane J.

    I had all of the ingredients plus fresh lettuce and tomato from the garden. I instantly made these spring rolls. I want to tell you that I am very sorry that I did. haha. I ate six and had to make myself stop. I will make these again and again. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything

    I’ve been dying to try this ever since I first read your post. I just saw it again sitting in my “starred” section of Google Reader…still hoping I can give it a whirl…so many favorites all in one place! Hop you two are well! xxoo

  21. Lori Lynn

    I hope she’ll give it a try. I will!
    Love mayonnaise in the sauce!
    LL

  22. Tien

    Hi! This is my first time to your website, and let me tell you it is definitely one of my favorite foodie blog/websites so far! As you can probably tell from my name, I am also Vietnamese :) I love the idea of this spring roll, and I will definitely try it this weekend (when my mom is out of town since I am only 16 and she is VERY strict just like your mom about the food and the way we prepare it.) Thank you so much for the recipe!

  23. Claire

    Wow, these look INCREDIBLE. I love bacon. MMMM.

  24. Jerry

    I’m very intrigued by this unconventional style of spring rolls. Whether the rules are broken or not, this looks delicious. It really is hard to imagine going wrong with bacon on anything.

  25. valentina

    Davvero invitanti e da sperimentare al più presto.. bacio a presto

  26. Bakerbynature

    I would take a few lashing to get my hands on these! They look like the most sophisticated BLT I’ve ever seen; your mom should be proud!

  27. Helen Hien Ngo

    What a great ideal !!I love goi cuon. Thanks for your creation. Will definitely try it soon.

  28. joey

    Oh this is genius! I am all for breaking the rules in the name of bacon! :)

  29. KM

    There’s one way for you to introduce fish sauce into this roll. I once made a bacon wrapped shrimp over green mango papaya salad with nuts, lettuce, tomato and herbs, but I though the bacon would be too heavy. It was kind of a deconstructed bacon rapped shrimp, but the bacon could potentially over salt and overpower the dish. So what I did was I took a packet of bacon, and marinated it overnight in Vietnamese fish sauce, lime juice, and sambal oelek. When it was cooked, it was still bacon. It kept it’s smokey flavor but was less salty, tasted cleaner, brighter, and had a little bit more umami flavor.

  30. Tracy Grant

    beautiful and delicious! Going to make this :)

  31. Stephanie

    Oh, fun back story! That’s they way my mom’s half of the family is about pizza (there is one type of pizza. thin crust, basic tomato crust, light sprinkle of mozzy, dash of parmesan, and ONE topping. not too much.).

    I’ve taken to using collard greens for the outside wrapper (either alone as described here, or on top of the rice paper) to help keep them separated for packed lunches. It’s a great way to add extra greens to your diet too.

    I also do the blasphemy, I suspect, of making peanut sauce for them and not using fish sauce. *gasp*

  32. Shelby

    LOVE this! I became addicted to spring rolls when I first tried the veggie spring rolls at a Thai place back home. Since then I have made them at home and literally crave them!

  33. Rachelle @ PictureSmiths

    You had me at BACON!! :) But seriously, this idea is perfection. Thanks for another amazing and simple recipe!

  34. Dennis

    What a genius idea! I bet they taste incredible! I love it!

  35. cory

    i love this idea! i LOVE BLT sandwiches, but as the summer is approaching fast (gaa!) i have been trying to get the same flavors over salads, instead of in between 3 slices of toasted bread (because lets face….triple decker BLTs are the best kind!). this is such a cute and summery idea. when i first saw it i immediately thought ‘basil mayo!’ – do you think some of that would be good tucked inside? i know that is evern further straying from tradition, but i just thought it sounded delish.

    im filing this away as a great football appetizer too….i always get so tired of the usual trappings after a few games!

  36. kimberlycun

    this is a brilliant idea! i guess it’s healthier too hehe. i use vietnamese rice paper to replace bread sometimes too 😀

  37. Diva @ Diva Eats World

    As a new blogger who never picked up a camera before, I look at food photo to try to learn. I came upon your blog & had to comment. Your blog is beautiful & your photos are stunning. I found it truly inspirational. Thanks

  38. anh@anhsfoodblog.com

    hahaha! seriously I laughed so much reading your post. 😛

    I had my share of the fresh spring rolls story, too. We didn’t eat these at home, but always ordered it at restaurants ‘coz my mom was (well, is) a health freak. Typically the dish involved a large grilled fish in the middle, and lots of herbs + sliced green bananas, banana blossoms etc. for us to roll ourselves. Mom would try to feed me as much vegetables at the times, and she never allowed me to touch anything. Mom’s rolls always had 99% vegs with tiny amount of grilled fish! Arhg, I hated them back then.

    Having said that, there used to be a store that sells fresh spring rolls close to my school. They had exotic things like pork skin, sliced pork in it. Very nice :)

  39. Marti

    Hi,

    New here. Stumbled in from some other blog that I’d never read before. (Like yours best!)

    Definitely going to try this. It’ll be a different way to use up last week’s leftover rice papers from whatever that was I made.

    But meantime, I’d also like to see the lemongrass beef recipe referred to several times? Where is that link, please? I did look… didn’t see.

    Thanks much! Bookmarked!

  40. Diana @ Appetite for China

    Wow, that’s insanely creative and delicious-looking. I could make a meal out of these BLT spring rolls any time. What’s next? Sausage spring rolls? Mmm…

  41. Eleonora

    Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

  42. Chiswick Dinners

    Don’t feel bad. We made pulled pork & slaw rolls for dinner last night. A little David Chang in London I thought!

  43. The Prudent Homemaker

    I can see this ending up on restaurant menus as a low-carb BLT.

    This looks so amazing.

    On a side note: I loved Penny De Los Santos’ sarcastic, “White on Rice, who is that?” last weekend. Busted me up!

  44. Spicie Foodie

    Hi Diane, Your mom sounds like a very dedicated and amazing cook. The story of your communal spring roll dinners sound like so much fun. I love to eat like that, a little bit of this and that and it’s heaven to me. Hope your mom forgives you for breaking the rules because this BLT spring roll looks like a great take on a classic.

  45. sweet pics and love the blog title, tom

  46. Charissa

    This is exactly what I want for lunch…with turkey bacon. But sadly, there’s no bacon in the house. I’m completely grieved.

    Love your blog…it’s so clean and elegant!

  47. Ninette

    Brilliant! I can see these becoming the next big thing.

  48. Meighan @ Cooking With Abandon

    These look awesome. Went to store for rice paper wrappers tonight…but they were out. :(

  49. Snippets of Thyme

    Oh that looks so good. It is definitely fusion cooking! I love that your mom sticks to her “roots” in the kitchen. Cajuns down here are fussy like that about their gumbos!

  50. Brooks at Cakewalker

    I love the personal interpretation of the BLT here, fabulous! The interplay of the Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce against the textures of the bacon, lettuce and tomato must be heavenly.

  51. Chels R.

    My husband and I are BLT fanatics and he will flip his lid over this! Looks beautiful and tasty!

  52. Maris(In Good Taste)

    These look amazing. I adore bacon and after these pictures I am now craving it!

  53. Nicole

    Wow. I can easily eat regular BLTs every day and never get tired of them, but I also love fun variations like this one. Genius!

  54. Stephanie

    secretly every mother wants her daughter to be rebel.
    Well done.

  55. Carrie

    I know what I’m making for dinner this week! Looks delicious. Thank you!

  56. Michael Procopio

    This is just the sort of thing that attracted me to you in the first place. BLT spring rolls? Brilliant, but so incredibly simple. It makes me say to myself, “Oh, that makes so much sense coming from Diane.”

    You have such a wonderful way of fusing food and culture in your stories.

    To put it as simply as I can: YOU KICK ASS.

    Love,

    Michael

  57. norma

    Quite innovative…

  58. kelly@SnailsView

    Vietnamese food is one of my favorites! And BLT’s are another fav., sounds perfect to me!

  59. Chris & Skip in Avl

    Yum. You just decided what we’re having for dinner tonight–after a weekend of nothing but burgers and bar-b-que this is just the thing. MY blasphemous addition will be a creamy, mayonnaisey dipping sauce (the flavor that binds BLTs)… thinking homemade cucumber & chive ranch dressing with lots of black pepper. Yum.

  60. Donna A.

    Is your Mom using reverse psychology on you!?
    It’s working cuz she created a culinary adventurer, and we are the happy beneficiaries – Thanks Mom!

  61. JulieD

    Diane, these look really good! I don’t eat pork but I just found out about beef bacon from my really good Viet friend, Nellie. I may try it with beef bacon. I’m kind of like your Mom on the traditional Viet dishes but I’m willing to try this. My Mom would never starve us but she would let us know how unhappy she was with a certain dish and she absolutely would tell you if something was bland. I once made dinner for my parents, grandparents and other family, a dish my husband calls Viet Fajitas (I use rice paper & it’s a lemongrass grilled beef that goes in them) and my grandmother called me out in front of everyone…she said in Vietnamese, next time slice the beef right so it’s not so tough. My brother just laughed. I was so mortified but I’m happy to say I know how to slice beef across the grain now. LOL

  62. A.W.

    How clever! Kicking myself for not thinking of this myself! Will definitely try this week as I have all the ingredients on hand.

  63. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    This looks and sounds fantastic! How could anything be wrong with bacon? :) Love the story along the way as well.

  64. Michelle

    These are wonderfully created and I imagine that they are seriously good eats.

  65. TheKitchenWitch

    Diane,
    It’s 5am and I am DYING over here. Two of my most favorite things, spring rolls and bacon, rolled together in a beautiful marriage of flavors. Even if your mother doesn’t forgive you, I am coronating you Queen of All Things.

  66. Nate @ House of Annie

    BLT summer roll makes perfect sense to me. I’d be inclined to get adventurous and use some French or Russian dressing for dipping sauce.

  67. lynn @ the actor's diet

    i love you. thank you for giving me permission to do this with the spring roll wrappers that have been sitting in my pantry for over a year now.

  68. Urban Wife

    Yummy! I just made spring rolls for the first time last night and had so much fun making them! I think it’s safe to say that after just one time, I am now addicted to spring rolls. I cannot wait to give these a try.

  69. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

    I love that you’re a spring roll rebel! I love spring rolls soooo much! I used to eat them with shrimp and lobster in them until I became allergic to shellfish and now it’s just tofu, veggies, and for me, peanut sauce is my core value when it comes to spring roll dippage :)

    And my, your photos, as always, make me want to RACE out start cooking…in this case, make spring rolls!

  70. Jessica @ How Sweet

    Now this is my kind of spring roll.

  71. santafetraveler

    I LOVE Vietnamese food! This creative use of the spring roll works for me. Hope your mom’s still speaking to you.

  72. Ronda Levine

    Oh my goodness this looks so good! I’m going to have to try this.

Leave a Reply