These crispy Asian pancake rolls with a vegetable filling are inspired by Chinese spring rolls, and can be served as a flavorful appetizer or side! However, unlike regular Cantonese spring rolls, this version is oven-baked and uses thin homemade gluten-free, vegan wraps to create crispy veggie rolls (regular wrapper option included!).
Crispy Asian-Inspired Baked Vegan Spring Rolls
A few days ago, I had a sudden craving for Chinese takeout-style spring rolls, but no access to vegan and gluten-free spring roll wrappers at the time. So I experimented a little and ended up using thin homemade gluten-free, vegan wraps with a little twist. You can, however, use store-bought wrappers and serve the rolls as Cantonese-style veggie spring rolls or vegan egg rolls, depending on what wrappers you have available.
I love veggie-packed light bites and appetizers so much that I’ve already shared several recipes, including vegan sushi, rice paper summer rolls, cabbage rolls, and dumplings. Now it’s the turn of these pancake rolls!
Spring Rolls vs. Egg Rolls vs. Pancake Rolls
While all three are similar Asian dishes of a meat and/or vegetable filling, wrapped in a crispy wrapper, there are several ways that they differ. The terms spring rolls and pancake rolls are actually often used interchangeably – referring to a thin pastry wrapper stuffed with veggies (usually cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, bamboo shoots, etc.). However, they can also contain meat and can be baked or fried.
In comparison, egg rolls are usually thicker/larger, wrapped in a thicker, more noticeable wrapper. Because of the thicker wrapper, these are typically filled with a meat and vegetable filling. They are called egg rolls as the wrappers are often made of flour and eggs, and they are traditionally deep-fried.
By using thin gluten-free crepes, these are literally ‘pancake’ rolls. Meanwhile, using regular spring roll wrappers will create wonderful vegan spring rolls, which are even crispier. No matter what you call them (or use), though, the results are delicious!
Not only is this baked spring roll recipe more cost-efficient than buying takeout, but these rolls are also packed with wholesome ingredients and are healthier too! Once baked, enjoy alone or as part of a Chinese takeout-inspired meal with vegan lo mein.
Are Spring Rolls Gluten-Free?
You might be asking if spring rolls are gluten-free? The ones served in Asian restaurants are typically not. Also, the store-bought spring roll pastry wrappers normally aren’t gluten-free, as they contain all-purpose flour. It’s possible to use rice paper sheets (the ones that are used for fresh Vietnamese spring rolls or summer rolls), however, the rolls won’t turn out as crispy, except if you deep-fry them and enjoy them immediately.
- Wrappers: I used my recipe for homemade gluten-free wraps to make these vegan spring rolls, but increased the water in the recipe to almost 2 cups (450 ml) to create thin crepes. You could also make my homemade gluten-free dumpling wrappers if you prefer. If you aren’t gluten-free, you can use store-bought spring roll pastry wrappers or vegan egg roll wrappers, for crispier results. The wrappers can be normally found in the freezer section of Asian supermarkets.
- Oil: Use any neutral cooking oil like olive oil or avocado oil. Sesame oil will add extra flavor to the filling.
- Vegetables: For the filling, I used a combination of onion, garlic, mushrooms (fresh or dried-and-rehydrated, or use 120 g canned), zucchini, red bell pepper, and white cabbage.
- Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper make up the dry seasonings for these pancake rolls. Meanwhile, tomato paste and tamari are added for umami and depth of flavor.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- Other vegetables: You can mix and match several veggies for these baked vegan rolls, including shredded carrot, bean sprouts, etc. To save on prep time, you could use a packaged coleslaw mix.
- Glass noodles: aka vermicelli noodles. Cook them first.
- Protein: Traditional spring rolls often contain meat or seafood. For a vegan ‘meaty’ version, you could add some sautéed soy ‘mince’ or marinated tofu.
- Spice: You could add chili powder or red pepper flakes to the veggie pancake filling (adjust to personal preference).
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Vegan, Gluten-Free Spring Rolls
- First, heat about one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and add the diced onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and red pepper. Stir, then add the cabbage, stir once more, and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, all spices, tomato paste, and tamari and stir to combine. Then, turn off the heat after about 1-2 minutes and set it aside to cool.
- Next, prepare the wrappers. You can use store-bought spring roll wrappers, vegan egg roll wrappers, or make homemade wrappers, as mentioned above.
- Preheat the oven to 390F/200C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone mat).
Fill the vegan egg rolls
- Place two tablespoons of the filling around 1/3 in from the bottom of the wrap. To fold the pancake rolls, tuck in the sides, roll up the bottom, and continue to roll the pan cake roll until sealed. Place the vegan rolls on the prepared baking tray, seam-side-down. Then repeat this with the remaining filling until there is none left.
- If you’re using regular spring roll wrappers, then lay the wrapper in a diamond shape. Place the filling at the bottom. Fold up the bottom, rolling over once. Then fold the sides inwards (it will look like an envelope) and continue rolling, helping to seal the top with a cornstarch slurry. Cover the prepared vegan spring rolls with a damp towel to stop them from drying out.
- Brush the veggie wraps with a little oil (or spray) and bake for 15 minutes. Then flip them carefully, brush with a little more oil, and continue to bake until crispy and golden brown (another 5-10 minutes or longer).
The exact baking time will differ based on the wrappers used and your particular oven, so keep an eye on them after flipping. You can avoid flipping them by baking them directly on an oven rack (with a tray below).
- Remove the crispy vegan rolls from the oven and serve with sweet chili sauce, Chinese garlic sauce, or sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy!
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: You can prepare the filling 1-2 days in advance, or even assemble the vegan rolls un-baked and keep them covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Alternatively, freeze the un-baked vegan egg rolls for up to two months – cook from frozen (add a few extra minutes).
Store: Once baked, store any leftover baked spring rolls in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They will lose their crispness as they chill, but reheating will help.
Freeze: You can either reheat the veggie rolls in the oven until warmed through and slightly crispy. Alternatively, add a little oil to a pan and pan-fry until warm and crisp.
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- To pan-fry: Heat a little neutral vegetable/canola oil in a skillet/wok. Then, add a few pancake rolls to the oil and fry, turning often, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the skillet, then serve.
- For air fryer spring rolls: I haven’t tried this method (yet). But I recommend cooking the crispy rolls in batches in your air fryer at 370F/190C for 10-15 minutes, flipping once at 8 minutes. Keep an eye after flipping them until browned and crispy, as I don’t know the exact times.
- Be generous with the oil: When baking vegan egg rolls, they rely on oil for the crispiest results. So don’t be too stingy when brushing them with oil before baking.
- To quickly/easily shred veggies: You can use a mandoline on the julienne setting, handheld vegetable shredder, or food processor disk.
- Allow the filling to cool before filling the gluten-free spring rolls. Otherwise, the warm filling can cause steam and make the wrappers wet, ruining their ability to crisp up properly. You should also drain or squeeze out excess liquid from the filling before stuffing so that it is drier. Also, make sure not to overfill the rolls.
More Veggie-Packed Appetizers
- Savory Vegetable Muffins
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Vegetable Kabobs
- Pajeon Korean Pancakes
- Easy Bruschetta Recipe
- Vegan Empanadas
If you try this crispy Asian pancake rolls recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Baked Vegan Spring Rolls (GF)
- 1 small (80 g) onion diced
- 11.3 oz (320 g) mushrooms diced
- 3/4 cup of (100 g) zucchini diced
- 1/2 cup (50 g) red pepper diced
- 2 cups (200 g) white cabbage finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt & ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp oil to sauté and brush
- 10 vegan spring roll wrappers (thawed) or homemade wraps (see instruction step 3)
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet and add the diced onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and red pepper. Stir, then add the white cabbage and give it a good mix. Sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, all spices, tomato paste, and tamari and stir to combine. Turn off the heat after about 1-2 minutes and let the mixture cool.Make sure the veggie mixture is quite dry, if it's not, drain or squeeze out as much liquid as possible, otherwise the rolls won't crisp up.
- Prepare your wrappers. You can use store-bought spring roll pastry wrappers, vegan egg roll wrappers (see notes), or make homemade wrappers. I made gluten-free wraps, but increased the water in the recipe to almost 2 cups (450 ml).
- Preheat the oven to 390 F (200 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone mat).
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling on the lower part of the wrapper, fold in the sides and then roll from the bottom upwards. Repeat this step until you have no filling left.
- Transfer the pancake rolls to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with a little oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip them carefully, brush the other side with a little oil and continue to bake until crispy and golden brown. The total baking time can take 20-35 minutes, depending on your oven and the type of wrapper you use.
- Serve with a sweet chili sauce or this Chinese garlic sauce and enjoy!
- Wrappers: Store-bought spring roll pastry wrappers or vegan egg roll wrappers can be normally found in the freezer section of Asian supermarkets (make sure they are vegan). Phyllo dough might work as well.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically