These Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu Spring Rolls are easy to make, Delicious, Vegan, and Gluten-Free! Healthier than deep-fried, but no less tasty.
You know when your fridge is running a bit low, you have really no idea what to make…. but I always seem to have cabbage, carrots, and tofu. And those rice paper spring roll wrappers I bought half a year ago and forgot to use. No? Just me, then?
Well, I decided to use up those veggies and tofu in these Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu Spring Rolls, that now we are just obsessed with. And, they are also so easy to make that you’ll want to have them every week!
Why do we like these Pan-Fried Tofu Spring Rolls?
First of all, these spring rolls are absolutely delicious! And this is the main point. They are filled with healthy vegetables, and tofu, wrapped in a rice paper wrapper, and then simply pan-fried (none of that unhealthy deep-frying!).
You can also make the filling up to 2 days ahead, and just make fresh spring rolls as the craving hits.
And you know what, since the filling is pre-cooked, you may also skip pan-frying, and eat them as a fresh spring roll, or toss them in an air-fryer, if you have it.
And if you don’t have tofu, you can switch it out for other vegetables, like mushrooms, or rice vermicelli noodles, plant-protein meat, or maybe even lentils, or chickpeas.
Give it a try and let us know if you like them just as much as we do!
To make these pan-fried tofu spring rolls you will need:
- tofu; use extra-firm for best results, or regular tofu that you press the excess water out. We’ll crumble the tofu, season it in cook it the pan before using it as for the spring roll filling
- cabbage; we used regular white cabbage in this recipe, but Nappa cabbage would also work, or mix in some purple cabbage for extra color
- shallots; you can substitute with yellow or red onion
- spring onion; we added it uncooked for extra flavor and crunch, but you can skip it if you don’t have it
- leftover cooked rice (optional); we had some leftover cooked white rice, that we just tossed in the pan with the veggies and mixed it all in. This was in place of rice vermicelli noodles, so you can also use those if you want, or just skip it altogether
- rice paper wrappers; so these wrappers are usually used fresh for fresh spring rolls such as these; but, you can also fry it or pan-fry it, as we did! If you don’t have rice paper wrappers, you can also use egg roll wrappers or even wonton wrappers
- vegetable oil
To season the tofu and the vegetables, we used:
- sesame oil
- teriyaki sauce
- soy sauce, dark
- pepper; we usually choose white pepper when making Asian dishes
- roast chicken rub seasoning (optional) – see notes in the recipe; this is just the mix of spices used to season a roast chicken, and it’s usually vegan. Read the label for ingredients just to be sure.
- garlic powder
- sweet chili sauce for dipping; we just used a store-bought sauce for the meal, as it is most convenient
How to make these Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu Spring Rolls
Start by pressing the tofu to remove the excess water. Then, crumble it in a bowl, and season to taste. Mix to combine and let marinate.
While the tofu marinates, grate the carrots, mince the garlic, and slice the cabbage and the shallots. Chop your spring onions, if you’ll be using them.
Then, heat a large pan, add a drizzle of oil, and add the tofu. Cook it on medium heat while stirring regularly, to ensure it cooks evenly. When the tofu is cooked, remove it from the pan, and to the same pan, add the vegetables.
First, add in the shallots and carrots, and stir-fry them until softened. Then, stir in the garlic and the cabbage and stir-fry until soft. Season to taste, and stir in the rice, and tofu, and let cool down.
Once cooled, mix in the spring onions (or just sprinkle them on top of the filling of your spring rolls before rolling).
Now that your filling is done, it’s time to roll.
How to Roll the Spring Rolls
Fill a large shallow bowl with water and dip in a rice paper wrapper. Let it soak for a couple of seconds and then place it on a flat working area.
Scoop a generous spoon of filling and spread it in a heap on the lower part of the wrapper, closest to you. Make sure to leave about an inch of space to the sides. Take the left and right sides of the wrapper, pull them over the filling and then roll the wrapper from the bottom up into a roll, sticking the sides as you go to make sure the filling is safe inside the roll.
Now your roll is done, but we like to double-wrap it!
So, soak another rice paper wrapper, place the rolled roll on it as we did with the filling, and wrap it again.
This step is optional, and you’re totally fine with just a single wrapper roll, but we found the rolls hold their shape better and are crunchier when double-wrapped.
Continue until you use up all of the ingredients. Take care to space out your rolled rolls on a flat surface and make sure they do not touch, or they will stick to one another.
Pan-frying the Spring Rolls
Heat up a pan, add a teaspoon of oil, then place in a couple of spring rolls. Take care that the uncooked rolls don’t touch each other. Let them fry for a minute or two, then turn them around and fry on the other side. Do the sides as well.
Once pan-fried they will no longer stick to one another and are safe to stack.
Place the pan-fried spring rolls on a serving plate. You can also cut them in half once fried to expose the interior and make them easier to grab and dip.
Serve with a generous amount of sweet chili sauce of your liking.
The pan-fried spring rolls will keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days but will get soggier with time.
We recommend storing the filling only and making the rolls fresh as you need them.
Can I make these rolls in advance?
Technically yes, you can wrap the rolls uncooked the day before, and then just cook them as you need them, but make sure to store them separately (add a lining between each roll). Also, add a wet paper towel on top of the rolls to prevent them from drying out.
Can I freeze the spring rolls?
You can freeze the cooked spring rolls for up to 3 months.
Can I skip pan-frying?
YES! If using rice paper wrappers, you can just roll the rolls and eat them as “fresh” spring rolls, as the rice paper is edible.
If you have an air-fryer you can also air-fry these rolls – just spray them evenly with a little oil before frying for a crispier skin (or not, your choice).
If you want to go the traditional route, deep-fry these spring rolls in vegetable oil.
Can I use egg roll wrappers?
Yes, you can use egg roll wrappers in place of rice paper wrappers, and then pan-fry them.
- 350 grams firm tofu
- 2 medium carrots
- 4 cups cabbage
- 2 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 spring onions
- 1 cup leftover cooked rice (optional)
- 30 rice paper wrappers
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp teryaki sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- pinch of salt
- pinch of white pepper
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp roast chicken rub seasoning (optional)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (for dipping)
- Press the tofu for 15 minutes to remove excess moisture. Then, pat it dry, crumble it in a bowl, and season to taste with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, a pinch of salt, a pinch of white pepper, ½ tsp ginger, 1 tsp roast chicken rub seasoning (optional), and ½ tsp garlic powder. Mix to combine and let marinate while you prep your vegetables.
- Peel and grate the carrots, finely slice the cabbage and the shallots, mince garlic, and finely chop the spring onions. I had about 1 cup of leftover cooked jasmine rice, so I decided to use it in the recipe as well.
- To a pan, add a drizzle of vegetable oil, heat it up, and then add the marinated tofu. Let gently fry on medium heat, stirring regularly, until cooked and golden-brown in color. Once cooked, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- To the same pan, add the shallots and carrots. Stir-fry until softened, then add garlic and cabbage. Lightly season with a pinch of salt, some pepper, and a drop of soy sauce, and stir-fry until the vegetables soften. Then, add in the leftover cooked rice, drizzle with a bit of soy sauce, and stir it all together. Remove from pan, mix in with the tofu, and let cool down. Once cooled, mix in the chopped spring onions.
- Fill a shallow large bowl with water and dip in a rice paper wrapper. Let it soak for a couple of seconds and then place it on a flat working area. Scoop a generous spoon of the cabbage and tofu filling and spread it in a heap on the lower part of the wrapper, closest to you. Make sure to leave about an inch of space to the sides. Take the left and right sides of the wrapper, pull them over the filling and then roll the wrapper from the bottom up into a roll, sticking the sides as you go to make sure the filling is safe inside the roll. Then, we soak another rice paper, place the rolled roll on it as we did with the filling, and wrap it again, so it's double-wrapped. (this step is optional, and you're totally fine with just a single wrapper roll).
- Continue until you use up all of the ingredients. This should make about 15 spring rolls.
- Heat up a pan, add a drizzle of oil, then place in a couple of spring rolls, making sure the uncooked rolls don't touch each other, or they will stick together. Let them fry for a minute or two, then turn them around and fry on the other side. Do the sides as well.
- Place the pan-fried spring rolls on a serving plate. You can also cut them in half once fried to expose the interior and make them easier to grab and dip.
- Serve with a generous amount of sweet chili sauce of your liking.
The roast chicken rub seasoning is just a blend of spices that is normally used when roasting chicken (no animal ingredients!), and it can give your bland tofu a hint of the roast chicken taste. This seasoning is totally optional, and you could add more garlic and some smoked paprika instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data is automatically calculated using Nutritionix and may not be accurate.
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