Are Spring Rolls Suitable For Vegans?

Are Spring Rolls Suitable For Vegans?

Are there certain foods you automatically think of as vegan without questioning the ingredients? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Navigating the vegan landscape can be difficult as there are a bunch of sneaky ingredients that aren’t vegan-friendly. 

Spring rolls are appetizers that consist of vegetables and other products rolled in a thin flour or rice wrapper. These crispy, deep-fried treats are commonly found in Asian cuisines in countries such as Vietnam and China. 

Each region and country sells a slightly different version of these tasty snacks and you may hear them referred to by different names such as a ‘summer roll’. Regardless of which type you’re eating or where you have sourced it, it might not be vegan.  In this article, learn what is in a spring roll and whether or not it is a vegan-friendly starter. 

What Is In A Spring Roll?

There are many different varieties of spring rolls available in restaurants, depending on the type of cuisine. Vietnamese spring rolls will usually contain shrimp and shredded pieces of meat such as pork or beef. Chinese spring rolls typically contain vegetables and noodles. The ingredients of basic spring rolls include: 

  • Carrots
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bell pepper
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic 
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice or flour wrapper

Generally speaking, spring roll pastry is vegan as it is made with flour, water, and salt. The pastry usually resembles filo pastry or something similar, which is a firm favorite in vegan cooking due to its simple ingredients. 

Are Spring Rolls Vegan?

Yes, vegetable spring rolls are normally vegan. When visiting a restaurant or food establishment, check that the menu clearly states the spring rolls are vegetables or ask a server to double-check. 

Off-the-beaten-track places and little roadside stalls in Vietnam may not be as easy to distinguish, so you may have to learn what ‘vegan’ or ‘no meat’ is in Vietnamese (or the appropriate language). 

When buying spring rolls in a grocery store, the labels should clearly indicate whether or not the product is vegan with a certified vegan symbol or logo.

If these aren’t present then check the ingredients list thoroughly before purchasing. Dairy or egg products should be highlighted as allergens in bold to make things easier. 

Why Some Spring Rolls Aren’t Vegan

Certain restaurants aren’t as strict as we would like them to be and will deep fry the spring rolls in a non-vegan oil that may have contained meat or fish. Further, some restaurants or food retailers may cook vegetables in chicken broth. 

Another thing to watch out for is the addition of eggs. Many will use an egg wash or add egg to the wrapping or filling to help everything stick together. 

Not forgetting the important dipping sauce that is served with the spring rolls, sweet chili sauce can sometimes contain animal-derived ingredients. The majority of the sauces we get in grocery stores or restaurants ARE vegan, however more authentic dips may contain fish sauce. 

Are Spring Rolls Suitable For Vegans?

Homemade Vegan Spring Rolls

To ensure your spring rolls are completely vegan, you could try making them at home! Although this might seem daunting to do with delicate pastry and deep frying, they can be easily mastered if you have patience. 

Try this delicious vegan spring roll recipe at home using ready-made pastry sheets to take some of the work out for you. Experiment with different fillings until you find the perfect combination. Serve with some tasty sweet chili dip or a ramekin of soy sauce for best results. 

Brands That Sell Vegan Spring Rolls

If you are stuck for time and need to dash into the grocery store to get some dinner, here are a few brands you can rely upon to be 100% vegan: 

  • Lucky Foods Original Spring Rolls
  • Chung’s Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Amoy Vegetable Spring Rolls

When making spring rolls at home, you’ll need to buy the wrappers. Here are some of our favorite vegan products to use: 

  • Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers
  • Twin Dragon Low-Sodium Vegan Egg Roll Wraps
  • Best of Thailand Rice Paper
  • Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Sauce

If you buy your products at an Asian supermarket, always ask whether or not the products are vegan as chances are the labels won’t be in English. 

Conclusion

The basic spring roll is usually made with a vegetable and noodle filling that is vegan. The rice or flour wrappers should also be vegan but can often contain egg or be used with an egg wash, so always double-check the ingredients before consuming.

Brandon White
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