Spring rolls are not always vegetarian, with some chefs making them out of ground meat with various vegetables. In any case, if you are going to a traditional Chinese restaurant, the spring rolls should be vegetarian, unless your order is for spring rolls filled with nothing but vegetables. Usually, spring rolls that you buy are going to be vegan, but just to be on the safe side, be sure to ask or look at the ingredients list, as each location and brand is different.
Always look for spring rolls that are made without eggs, and that use plant-based ingredients for their fillings. There are many options out there with frozen veggie egg rolls, and the ingredients list will tell you whether or not the wrapper contains hidden animal products, such as eggs. Egg rolls are generally not vegan, as they do contain eggs, but spring rolls are generally vegan, although you will still want to watch out as some recipes can include eggs and other animal ingredients.
While both contain cabbage, Spring rolls usually will have extra vegetables, whereas Egg Rolls almost always contain pork. Spring rolls are typically filled with fresh vegetables, whereas egg rolls are filled with a mixture of meat and flavorful vegetables. Traditional egg rolls recipes used eggs in the dough, but most recipes no longer call for them; modern egg rolls are typically made with mixed meats and vegetables wrapped in rice paper. Most often, the problematic ingredients are the fillings, since it is quite common for egg rolls to be filled with meat, typically pork or chicken.
The filling is why, unlike Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls always have cooked filling, and they almost always contain meat. This is not always true, as the wrapper can contain liquid whole eggs in order to maintain structure in the dough. Because the Egg Roll has a thick wrapper, it is important that you stuff your Egg Rolls with things that will hold up, in terms of both texture and flavor.
Today, egg rolls typically contain some combination of meat and chopped vegetables inside of a flaky, crunchy, fried wrapper. Vegetable egg rolls, however, can be just as satisfying, containing a savoury mix of boiled vegetables such as cabbage, celery, and onions, along with a generous amount of dressing. These egg rolls are made using egg-roll wrappers (which you can find in most grocery stores, right next to all of the tofu in the produce sectionwell, at least, at Kroger), chopped cabbage and carrots, scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger powder and garlic powder.
If you are lucky enough to find a restaurant offering special, non-menu eggs rolls with no meat filling, you can almost guarantee that it is made in the same deep-fryer as their regular, meat-filled eggs rolls. You definitely will have to ask the staff member if you would like to know whether or not the frying oil is vegan, and whether or not veggie rolls are made in the same fryer as meat-based rolls. When in a restaurant or a roadside store, always ask a worker or owner whether the wrapper (or filling) contains animal-based ingredients…and, if it does, ask if they can offer you a vegan version.
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The most common oil used is peanut oil, and if you are unsure about what the restaurant is using to fry, you can always ask. Some restaurants fry their rolls in a non-vegan oil and add eggs to wrappers or the filling, and store-bought brands can add additional dressings and ingredients an unsuspecting vegan might miss. The ingredients means unless a restaurant has a special deep-fryer just for plant-based items, the chances are high that a vegetable roll is being deep-fried in the same oil used to cook a meat-based item.
Even better, you can choose to have the rolls fried in deep-fat oil if you are looking for an extra crunchy outcome, or you can go for a healthier option and skip the fry-up process entirely, and instead, barbecue your rolls. Do not confuse this with Vietnamese Summer Rolls, which are eaten raw and fresh, rather than fried or deep-fried. A Vietnamese imperial roll is different from Chinese spring rolls as it is usually smaller in size, contains ground or chopped meat/seafood like pork, crab, shrimp, chicken, taro or cassava, glass noodles, wood-ear mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, and grated carrots.
A tasty hoisin shredded tofu is nearly identical to a traditional Vietnamese spring roll (goi cuon) in that we stuff a rice paper wrapper with finely chopped vegetables, vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs like basil, and mint, but instead of pork or shrimp, we choose crunchy, meaty oyster mushrooms. Unlike spring rolls, summer rolls are made of translucent rice paper wrappings and served chilled, so they are suitable for vegans, provided that they are served with the veggie filling. Spring rolls are found mainly in Chinese restaurants, typically served with molho agridoce (sweet-and-sour sauce) for dipping, which is typically bright red and spicy, made from tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, and occasionally spices like star anise, that is served with certain other types of dishes, and may contain onions and sweet peppers. Egg rolls are a variety of deep-fried, filled, and rolled snacks usually served at Chinese restaurants in the United States.
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If you want your veggie spring rolls to taste Chinese, you do not want to leave out Chinese kale, which is dried and steamed with the other ingredients, some thin strips of preserved bamboo that are dried and sauteed first, and, lastly, just off the fire, a few bean sprouts. I made these without bean sprouts, but you are welcome to add them, so that any protein missing from meat to the rolls is found in the sprouts. For filling, we used garlic, onions, carrots, Chinese cabbage, and soybean sprouts, but you can use other vegetables and your spring rolls will also taste good.
All you will need is a cutting board to cut your veggies, two bowls (one to soften your spring rolls wrapper, one to make your filling), and a flat surface to fold your ingredients together to create an appetizing treat. The traditional spring roll dough is made of flour, water, and salt, then is filled with a mixture of vegetables, although meat or shrimp are used in many cases. Do not get me wrong, you can find spring rolls that are meat-free (there are a few listed below), but usually, they are meat-filled by default–at least, the Chinese version. I have found that certain vegetables also make good Spring Roll fillings…such as Wood Ear Mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, snow peas with slices, Shiitake mushrooms with slices, Bamboo Shoots, Scallions, Bell Peppers…etc.
Are most spring rolls vegetarian?
Typically vegan components are used to make spring rolls but exercise caution. In addition to adding the egg to the wrapping or filling, some eateries deep-fry their rolls in non-vegan oil. Store-bought products may also include additional seasoning and ingredients that a vegan would accidentally ignore.
Are vegetable spring rolls healthy?
It is a good question to ask since they are often fried and thus high in calories. Nevertheless, they are also packed with vegetables. Overall, they are a relatively healthy option, especially when compared to other fried snacks. However, they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Are vegetable spring rolls gluten-free?
Ethnic foods can be tricky to navigate if you have gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Many traditional recipes of spring rolls include ingredients like wheat flour or soy sauce, which contain gluten. However, there are ways to adapt these recipes so that they are gluten-free.