What better way to kick off springtime than eating spring rolls?
Spring rolls originated in China (and Southern Asia) before expanding all across the globe. Like the dumpling, different cultures altered the original recipe of the spring rolls and ended up with their own version.
The dough of traditional spring rolls is made with flour, water, and salt, and then it’s filled with a mix of vegetables, though in many cases meat or shrimp are used.
Spring rolls stuffed with vegetables are typically vegan. However, that’s not always the case because the wrapper may contain a liquid whole egg to preserve the structure of the dough. Therefore, it also depends on how the restaurant or brand selling spring rolls makes the dough.
Are Spring Rolls Usually Vegan?
In China, traditional spring rolls are regarded as a seasonal food consumed in the Spring Festival, as it allows Chinese people to welcome the new season’s vegetables.
Spring rolls typically contain cabbage, carrot, green beans, and other vegetables wrapped in a cylindrical pastry with a very thin layer. Because of its thin dough, the spring rolls get very crispy when deep-fried.
The dough in traditional spring rolls is usually made with flour, water, and salt, but in some cases, it might require a liquid whole egg which helps preserve the structure of the dough at high temperatures.
While I’d love for spring rolls to be 100% vegan, some spring rolls often contain meat and seafood, and they’re quite popular as well.
In any case, if you go to a traditional Chinese restaurant, the spring rolls should be vegan, as long as your order spring rolls only filled with vegetables. However, I’d still question the restaurant to know whether eggs were used during the making of the dough.
Don’t Confuse Eggs Rolls with Spring Rolls
When researching about spring rolls, I came across egg rolls as well.
Apparently, there are similarities between them even though they are different.
Egg rolls don’t contain eggs in the filling, but the wrapper or dough may be made with eggs. You’ll often see this recipe in American-Chinese cuisine, but its real origin is yet to be discovered.
The difference between an egg roll and a spring roll lies in size and thickness.
An egg roll measures approximately two inches in diameter by six inches in length and has a rather thick outer layer, while the spring roll has a thin layer and is considerably smaller, so it’s often served as a side dish.
Egg rolls are typically not vegan because they contain eggs, but the Spring rolls are usually vegan, though you still need to be wary because some recipes may contain eggs and other animal ingredients.
Frozen Vegan Spring Rolls
Akin to freshly-made spring roll recipes, there are also many frozen spring roll recipes.
Unfortunately, I’ve found way more non-vegan recipes than vegan recipes revolving around flavors like chicken, shrimp, and pork. In fact, I’ve checked the most predominant supermarket chains in the United States to give you a small list of vegan spring rolls:
- Chung’s Spring Rolls (Kroger)
- Wei-Chuan Vegetable Spring Rolls (Kroger)
- Lucky Foods Vegetarian Frozen Spring Rolls (Target)
- Lucky Foods Thai Frozen Spring Rolls (Target)
- Imperial Gourmet Vegetable Mini Spring Rolls (Walmart)
- Tai Pei Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls (Walmart)
There are probably more in your closest supermarket, but these were some of the options I found online.
Making Vegan Spring Rolls At Home
Another way you can guarantee fully vegan spring rolls is by doing them yourself. There are dozens of recipes across the web, and all of them give you easy, step-by-step instructions to make vegan spring rolls.
In fact, some even teach you how to create the typical thin, crusty wrapper but you don’t need to go through that work. Many supermarkets often sell pre-made wrappers, some of which are very delicious. So all you’re left with is the filling.
Here are some noteworthy vegan wrappers:
Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers
Ingredients: Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Water, Salt
Available at: Whole Foods.
Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers
Ingredients: Rice, Cassava, Water, Salt
Available at: Whole Foods.
Twin Dragon Egg Roll Wrappers
Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Potato Starch, Citric Acid, Dusted with Cornstarch.
Available at: Walmart
The final steps involve creating and wrapping the filling with the pre-made wrappers.
Even if you have no cooking skills, you can easily create a filling by mixing different vegetables in a cooking pot and add your favorite seasonings.
To help you get started, I’ve gathered a couple of recipes that might be useful for you.
Vegan Spring Roll Recipes
The following recipes will make your life much easier.
They’re very simple, and you don’t need to spend $10 on often blad spring rolls when you could have a more delicious, homemade recipe done in 20-30 minutes. (Just make sure you got some wrappers ready!)
Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
At first glance, it may look like raw vegetables wrapped in lettuce leaves. However, there’s a thin layer made from 22cm rice paper wrappers on top of the cabbage.
These spring rolls are delicious — especially when served with peanut sauce.
Check out the recipe here.
Vegan Fresh Spring Rolls
This recipe appears to be similar to the previous one, yet it’s different. This is a Vietnamese spring roll recipe where marinated tofu and vegetables are combined into rolled rice paper. The peanut sauce, although the flavor is similar — it’s more viscous.
Check out the recipe here.
Vegan Baked Spring Rolls
This recipe probably takes longer than the previous ones, because you’ll be baking the spring rolls. However, it’s still quite easy to make, and it only takes 20 minutes of preparation.
This time around use regular spring roll wrappers (6″ x 6″) and create a filling with cabbage, carrots, and shitake mushrooms. Naturally, you have to ramp up the flavors by adding fresh ginger and garlic, as well as soy and hoisin sauce to the mix.
Once it’s done, you can simply bake them for 25 minutes or until they’re golden around the edges. If not, you can also freeze the spring rolls to eat later. This recipe takes a bit longer but it’s truly delicious.
Check out the recipe here.
Always search for spring roll wrappers that don’t contain egg, and use plant-based ingredients to make the filling.
When you’re in a restaurant or a street shop, always ask the staff or owner if there are any animal-based ingredients in the wrappers (or filling)… and if so, ask if they can serve you a vegan version.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being well-informed by knowing the ingredients you should avoid, and making an effort to communicate with restaurants that you have a particular diet.
Spring Rolls FAQs
Are Summer Rolls Vegan?
Unlike spring rolls, the summer rolls are made with a translucent rice-paper wrapper that is served cold, so as long as they’re served with a vegetable filling, they’re suitable for vegans.
Are Panda Express Spring Rolls Vegan?
Yes, the vegetable spring rolls at Panda Express are suitable for vegans. Fortunately, they do not include eggs in the dough.
Are PF Chang’s Spring Rolls Vegan?
Yes, the vegetable spring rolls at PF Chang’s are suitable for vegans.
Are Royal Asia Spring Rolls Vegan?
According to Costco’s list of ingredients, their Royal Asia spring rolls are suitable for vegans, but you must not add the soy-ginger sauce that comes with the spring rolls because it’s not vegan.
Are Thai Spring Rolls Vegan?
Traditional Thai spring rolls are not suitable for vegans because they contain a meat-based filling; usually pork.
Our Recommendation For Vegans
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