Spring rolls are one of mankind’s greatest inventions and the Asian delicacy never fails to disappoint.
For vegans who have just started following this way of eating, you might be wondering if the seemingly safe food is now off-limits with your plant-based diet.
Are spring rolls vegan? Most of the ingredients used in spring rolls are vegan, but they can contain things like egg and meat that wouldn’t make them suitable.
Some spring rolls are fried in oil that’s also used for meat products, so you have to be careful about cross-contamination.
There’s no need to give up the spring rolls just because you’re following a vegan diet, as you’ll find that many Asian foods are still okay to eat.
With our help, you’ll be able to determine which rolls are suitable and how to find alternatives that might better suit your vegan preferences.
What Are Spring Rolls Made Of?
Spring rolls are a Chinese food that was traditionally prepared for Chinese New Year feasts, which occur at the beginning of spring.
The rolls are made with a thin wrapper consisting of flour and water and are usually paper-thin but structurally sound to contain all of the ingredients packed within the roll.
The standard fillings of spring rolls include cabbage, sprouts, carrots, and other vegetables, and this may be seasoned with various spices and sauces.
However, they can also contain shrimp and pork, which is where vegans and vegetarians need to be careful before biting into one.
Spring rolls are wrapped tightly and then submerged into hot oil where they’re fried and cooked, so ensuring that vegetable oils are used is key.
In addition to the type of oil, a vegan should also enquire about the dipping sauces that their spring rolls are served with. The best vegan-friendly sauces include sweet chili, soy, vinegar, and hoisin, depending on your taste.
An egg roll is an American variant of spring rolls and is also widely popular, and they get their name because the wrapper is covered with egg before being fried.
As the name suggests, these aren’t suitable for vegans but may be okay for vegetarians to eat as long as the filling doesn’t contain any meat.
How to Tell If Your Spring Rolls Aren’t Vegan
Vegetable spring rolls might appear vegan friendly on the outside, but without asking the person who made them, you can’t really tell.
These are a few areas you should consider when determining if your spring rolls are truly plant-based:
Pastry: The most common pastry used for spring rolls is made of just water and flour. However, some restaurants will then coat the batter in an egg mixture to make it thicker for frying.
Frying oil: The type of oil used to fry spring rolls is usually of the vegetable variety, but sometimes animal fat may be used. You should also ask what other foods are being fried in that oil, as other meats might share the cooking space, making cross-contamination a concern.
Seasoning: Various spices and sauces can be used to season your spring roll filling, and most of them are fine to eat if you’re vegan. As long as it’s standard spices and not any animal-based stocks, fish sauce, or oyster sauce, you’ll be okay to enjoy them.
Filling: The filling of your spring rolls is the area you should be most careful about, as it’s hard to tell just by looking at them what’s inside. Choosing a vegetable spring roll will guarantee there’s no meat in the filling but you need to consider the other parts as well.
Sauces: The dipping sauces served with spring rolls are mostly vegan, with the exception of Worcestershire sauce and oyster sauce. The best plant-based options are soy sauce and hoisin sauce, depending on what’s being served at the establishment.
The only true way to guarantee your food is vegan, whether a spring roll or something else, is by preparing it yourself.
The good news is, spring rolls aren’t difficult to make and you can experiment with all kinds of fillings until you find something you love. Having a go-to recipe for spring rolls will also save your wallets, so it’s worth learning one.
Spring Roll vs Summer Roll: What’s the Difference?
If you’re checking out the menu at your local Vietnamese restaurant, you might have noticed summer rolls listed on there too.
Unlike a fried spring roll, summer rolls are served cold and are made with a rice paper wrapper that’s translucent so you can see everything that’s inside of them.
These Vietnamese delicacies are perfect for warmer weather because of their cold temperature and are usually filled with other cold ingredients.
They’re a great pick for vegans because their wrappers are made with rice and you can see the contents of the roll, making it easier to choose those filled with tofu and veggies.
The dipping sauces should also be considered when choosing summer rolls, although most of these are vegan friendly as well.
The two most common sauces are peanut and hoisin, both of which are plant-based, so this is a smart option if you’re a vegan and looking for something healthy, fresh, and tasty.
The Best Brands of Vegan Spring Rolls
There’s nothing quite like a freshly cooked spring roll, but if you can’t make it to the Chinese restaurant, you can get something just as good at home.
These are some of the tastiest spring rolls for sale in the freezer aisle of your supermarket, and all vegan friendly.
Lucky Foods: If you want some variety from your spring rolls, Lucky Foods has loads of great flavors. Some of their best sellers include Kimchi, Thai Style, Curry, and Chicken Flavor, all made from plant-based ingredients.
Chung’s: Chung’s is a huge name in the freezer section and their spring rolls pass the test of having no animal content. Not only do you get five tasty spring rolls in each box but they also include their famous sweet and sour sauce to dip them in, and that’s vegan friendly as well.
Gourmet Kitchen: Gourmet Kitchen has a wide variety of ready-made Asian meals and a small handful of them are suitable for vegans as well, including the Vegetable Spring Rolls. These spring rolls come in appetizer size and cocktail size so you can decide how many you want to enjoy.
Tai Pei: You can find the Tai Pei range at Walmart if you’re looking for a convenient vegan snack, and their Mini Vegetarian Spring Rolls will tick all of your boxes. They’re made with only plant-based ingredients and come with their famous dipping sauce included, so it’s just like dining at your favorite restaurant.
Trader Joe’s: The Vegetarian Spring Rolls from Trader Joe’s are said to closely resemble the real deal, but with the convenience of heating them at home in mere minutes. They contain not just veggies but tofu as well, so you’re getting a protein boost in every bite.
The Bottom Line
The good news for vegans is that most spring rolls are made with plant-based ingredients and cooked safely, but that doesn’t mean you should assume they all are.
The easiest way to guarantee that your spring rolls and dipping sauces are vegan-friendly is by perfecting a recipe of your own.
Eating out becomes a little harder when you go vegan, as you can’t always trust that restaurants are going to prepare their meals without animal products.
To help you navigate the world of take-out and dining in as a vegan, we’ve got the answers to some commonly asked questions.
Are French Fries Vegan?
Yes, most French fries are vegan and will not contain any animal products, but you should also confirm how they’re cooked.
At some establishments, fries will be cooked in animal fat, so although they’re made with mostly potatoes, how they’re prepared can render them non-vegan.
What Chinese Takeout Is Vegan?
Chinese takeout is one of the best options for vegans as there are loads of meals that they can still enjoy, but should check with the restaurant first.
Vegetable chow mien, vegetable fried rice, vegetable dumplings, Kung Pao tofu, and tofu and broccoli are just a few vegan dishes you can still enjoy.
Are Asian Noodles Vegan?
The best Asian noodles for vegans are soba and udon noodles, as these are made without eggs, unlike ramen noodles.
If you’re purchasing these at a restaurant, you’ll also have to check the seasonings, sauces, and soups that come with them, as they can also contain animal by-products.
Lorraine Pinnix is a passionate nutritionist and loves seeing people living healthy, and fulfilled lives. She believes that food is an essential piece of staying fit and strongly believes in going vegan. PureGrowthOrganic is a passionate work that details her research in helping you go on complete organic diets. She is available for questions, comments, and follow-ups.