Are Samosas Actually Vegan? (Here Is Everything You Need To Know)

Who doesn’t love the spicy taste and crunchiness of delicious samosas?

Regardless of where you live, you have probably tasted Samosas; they spread like wildfire through the Western world along with other Asian delicacies. 

Unfortunately, being vegan comes with a few constraints, and also an endless number of questions.

Are samosas vegan? While samosas can be vegan, that isn’t always the case. Yes, samosas filled with vegetables and spiced potatoes are vegan, but oftentimes they’re cooked in ghee (clarified butter), which means they would no longer be suitable for a person following a vegan diet. 

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about samosas. 

What Are Samosas?

samosa

Samosas are fried or baked pastries that some people claim to have originated in India, though the real origin might be somewhere in Central Asia. 

Due to their delicious taste, samosas quickly spread to the Western world and now you can find them pretty much anywhere, including the most popular supermarkets in the US and UK. 

However, let me point out that one recipe never stays the same, and thus you can find different versions of it depending on the culture you engage with. The concept of the recipe may remain the same, but the naming might change depending on the place you’re traveling to. 

In Bangladesh, samosas are called shingaras, but in the Maldives, they’re called bajiyaa.

Although it’s not translated from the name ‘samosas’, you can still view it like a samosa since the core concept remains. One thing that may change is the shape and the filling, but generally, the dough is made with all-purpose flour, olive oil, salt, and water.

These savory pastries are also available in many shapes and sizes. The most common one being the triangular-shaped samosa, which takes after the traditional Indian samosa.

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Common Samosa Fillings

Depending on the filling of your samosa, it may or not be vegan.

The most common fillings in samosas are:

  • Potato (or sweet potato)
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Meat
  • Lentils
  • Carrot
  • Green chili
  • Fruits
  • And more.

The majority of samosas are filled with plant-based ingredients, even in restaurants, but you still have to make sure your dietary preferences are known, since samosas may be cooked in ghee, a clarified butter, that is clearly not suitable for vegans.

Samosas also have a degree of spiciness (which is common in Indian cuisine), so if you’re unlike me, you should take that into account.

Commercially sold samosas are typically not that spicy, but samosas in Indian restaurants are often very spicy, at least from what I’ve experienced. 

READ NEXT: Is Naan Bread Suitable For Vegans? (Here’s All You Need To Know) 

Are Commercially Sold Samosas Vegan?

chef bombay samosas

Not all commercially sold samosas are vegan.

However, those that are, may not have the ‘vegan’ logo since vegetable samosas are by default, plant-based. This being said, you should always fact-check the ingredients to be sure.

While the filling may indeed be vegetable-based, there’s a slim chance frozen samosas may contain egg within the dough.

These Chef Bombay samosas are sold in Walmart, where you’ll also find non-vegan options for the same brand, in which the samosas are filled with chicken instead.

Another place where you can get vegetable samosas (besides your local grocery shop and supermarket), is Amazon. It’s not the most sought-after place to buy samosas since they’re extremely expensive for the quantity. Alas, the Haldirams samosas with mung bean, cashew nuts, and raisins have an interestingly addictive flavor.

This being said, buying samosas in a supermarket or grocery store is way more affordable.

READ NEXT: Is Gnocchi Actually Vegan? (It Depends)

Creating Vegan Samosas At Home

I love my samosas. But at the same time, I also value my health.

Eating fried samosas is not beneficial to my health, which is why I prefer baked samosas instead. To share one of my personal favorites with you, I decided to link to one beloved samosa recipe.

This recipe was posted by Alissa, the person behind Connoisseurusveg.com, a vegan recipe website.

homemade samosa

Once you’re done prepping, you’ll have 16 samosas filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and crunchy peanuts ready to bake. Plus, the crunchiness will be there, and it may taste even better than fried samosas.

You’ll also feel better by indulging in a more healthy snack, which makes it taste even better!

If you’re interested in the recipe, you can get it here for free.

Conclusion

Many vegetable-based samosas are vegan.

However, there are cases in which they’re not vegan, mainly because:

  1. The filling contains animal-based ingredients like meat, cheese, or eggs;
  2. The dough contains egg;
  3. Or the samosas are fried or cooked with animal ingredients (i.e. ghee). 

All of which can easily be solved because neither is mandatory to indulge in vegan samosas.

Other Related Questions

Are samosas fried in animal fat?

Most samosas should be fried in vegetable-based oils, which most vegans are okay with. But in some special cases, samosas (and other foods) may be fried in butter, lard, or tallow. If you’re either frying or baking your samosas, you’re in control.

However, if you ever go to a restaurant to eat samosas, you should definitely ask the restaurant about which types of oils they use to fry food. While there’s a slight chance that this may be the case, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

How should I cook samosas at home?

I would definitely recommend you to either bake your samosas. If you want to fry samosas (or any other food), you should try using cold-pressed oils, since you have a better chance of preserving healthful nutrients that are often reduced by cooking food at really high temperatures.

Why do labels say that samosas “may contain” eggs or milk?

For factories that produce a multitude of products, there’s a risk of cross-contact between different ingredients. However, the product itself DOES NOT contain animal-based ingredients, unless it’s actually part of the recipe.

Are samosas gluten-free? 

Unfortunately, samosas are not gluten-free as they’re made with maida, which is a finely milled white wheat flour, so if you’re allergic to gluten and want to eat samosas, I wouldn’t recommend it. However, if you want to make homemade samosas, you can make yours gluten-free by using rice flour and tapioca starch. 

Are samosas fried?

Samosas are typically deep-fried, especially if you’re eating them at a restaurant, but you can also bake them, which is usually what I do to avoid eating foods with too much oil. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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