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Learn how to make Vegan Filipino Spring Rolls aka Lumpiang Shanghai at home! These fried lumpia have the same exact taste and texture as the authentic recipe I grew up with, but are made with 10 simple plant-based ingredients. Deep fry or air fry Lumpiang Shanghai until golden brown and crispy and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.
What is Lumpiang Shanghai?
Lumpiang Shanghai is regarded as the most basic type of lumpia (fried spring rolls) in Filipino cuisine. Lumpia originated in Fujian, China, but the Lumpiang Shanghai that is made and served in the Philippines today has been nativized over the years and is now a different recipe altogether.
This version in particular differs from other types of Filipino lumpia, such as Turon (Banana Lumpia), due to its small size and thinner dough.
Traditional Lumpiang Shanghai is usually filled with ground meat (pork or beef) and sometimes even shrimp and beaten eggs. Obviously none of those ingredients are vegan, so I created a vegan version with the same authentic taste and texture.
After a dozen rounds of testing, I finally perfected these authentic vegan spring rolls and got the seal of approval from my family’s taste test! Trust me, if they approve of these Lumpiang Shanghai, then it is for sure the real deal. And if you haven’t already, try my other lumpia recipes: Turon (Banana Lumpia) and Dynamite Lumpia (Lumpiang Dinamita).
For reference, vegan spring rolls, lumpia and Lumpiang shanghai will be used interchangeably in this post.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Flax eggs: Several authentic versions of Lumpiang Shanghai are made with eggs to help add fat and bind the filling together. We’ve used flax eggs, one of our favorite vegan egg substitutes, to bind the filling together with omega-rich, plant-based ingredients.
- Water chestnuts: Adds a slight crunch and essential moisture that helps bind the filling together and keeps it moist.
- Green onions and garlic: Instead of or even in addition to green onions, feel free to opt for white or yellow onions. They may add a bit more moisture to the filling, but it should still hold together well.
- Carrot: For best results, we’d recommend fresh carrots over frozen. Frozen will make the filling too wet and is better suited for recipes such as Rainbow Summer Rolls.
- Nori: Nori, or seaweed, adds saltiness and the taste of the sea. It’s also rich in iodine, an essential nutrient.
- Plant-based ground beef: Impossible Food’s plant-based ground beef is my favorite in this recipe. I also tested these vegan spring rolls using Beyond Meat and found the “Beyond Meat” taste too overpowering. Feel free to use your favorite vegan ground beef crumbles.
- Soy sauce: Adds saltiness and umami flavor. If making gluten-free, opt for tamari.
- Lumpia or spring roll wrappers: I purchase my lumpia wrappers from my local Asian market in the refrigerated or freezer sections. If you do not have a local Asian market near you, you may be able to find them in larger grocery stores too.
- Oil: The oil is used for frying the vegan spring rolls. Choose an oil with a high smoke point – vegetable oil or canola oil are good choices.
- Mixing bowls
- Food processor
- Large pot (for frying)
- Kitchen shears or sharp scissors
- Plate or platter and paper towels
- Slotted spoon
How to Make Vegan Spring Rolls
- Defrost your spring roll wrappers: If your wrappers are frozen, thaw them according to the package directions or the night before in the refrigerator.
- Make the flax eggs. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and water until well combined. Set aside for 15 minutes to thicken.
- Finely chop the veggies. In the bowl of a large food processor, add in the water chestnuts, green onions, carrot, nori, and fresh garlic. Process until finely chopped and uniform in consistency.
- Make the filling. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl along with the vegan ground beef crumbles, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and flax eggs. Mix well until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Heat your frying oil. Fill a large, deep pot with 2-3 inches of frying oil and heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fill the vegan spring rolls. Carefully peel one sheet of the wrapper off of the pile and place it on a clean work surface (in a square, not a diamond). Place 1 ½ tablespoons of filling toward the bottom of the wrapper and spread it out into a long line.
- Roll the spring rolls. Fold the bottom over the filling and tightly tuck it under. Roll the Lumpiang Shanghai tightly into a long cigar shape. Dip your fingers into the cup of water and wet the ends of the wrapper. Roll the lumpia over the end and make sure it sticks.
- Cut the Lumpiang Shanghai. Using kitchen shears or sharp scissors, cut the long roll into 2-3 pieces, depending on how big you want your vegan spring rolls. I cut mine into 2 to be about 2 ¾ inches long.
- Prep for frying. Line a large plate or platter with paper towels and set aside. This will be used to drain the oil once the vegan spring rolls are fried.
- Test the oil. Test the oil with one spring roll and see if it is hot enough. It should take about 4-5 minutes to become golden brown. If it is a lot faster, the oil is too hot. If it is slower, the oil is not hot enough.
- Fry the remaining lumpia. Once the oil is at an optimal temperature, add about 5-8 lumpia to the oil (depending on the size of your pot) and fry the Lumpiang Shanghai for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Place the lumpia on the paper towel-lined plate to drain off the excess oil.
- Serve these vegan spring rolls immediately with a dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!
- Air Fryer option: If you’re uncomfortable deep frying at home, you can air fry these vegan spring rolls from fresh or frozen. Both work well and there is no need to precook the filling. To do so, coat the outside of the lumpia with a thin layer of cooking oil and place them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Gluten-free option: If you are gluten-intolerant, you can use rice paper instead of lumpia wrappers – similar to making Vietnamese Spring Rolls. If you’ve never fried with rice paper before, refer to this tutorial for making Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls that Won’t Explode When You Cook Them! Note that her recipe is NOT vegan, but the technique is helpful.
- Add celery: I have seen some recipes with added celery. I left it out in my version because my family doesn’t add that, but if you want to use celery, I would add 1 large or 2 small ribs.
- Use wonton wrappers: We use lumpia wrappers that are found in the frozen section of our local asian market. Wonton wrappers will work BUT the vegan spring rolls will look bubbly on the outside.
- Use a cornstarch glue to seal the wrappers: If the spring roll wrappers are not sealing with just water, opt for a cornstarch glue instead. To make this, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1⁄3 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring often until thickened into a glue-like consistency. Allow it to cook until it is easy to handle, then use it as you would water to seal the lumpia wrappers shut.
Authentic Lumpiang Shanghai is often served as a snack or appetizer with dipping sauces of choice. We love sweet and sour dipping sauce, banana ketchup, or garlic and vinegar dipping sauce.
You may also enjoy vegan spring rolls served with another one of our other Filipino Recipes, such as Crispy Tofu Sigsig, Vegan Filipino Garlic Fried Rice or Vegan Filipino Pancit Bihon. Finish off the meal with Creamy Ube Pie or Avocado with Condensed Milk.
Once fried, these vegan spring rolls are best served immediately. If you’d like to make them in advance, keep the lumpia covered in a single layer in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel over top until ready to fry (best if planning to fry the same day). If you are prepping more than one day in advance, it is best to freeze for future use.
To do so, place all of the lumpia on a baking sheet and stick the baking sheet in the freezer until the spring rolls are frozen a few hours. Once frozen, transfer the spring rolls into an airtight container or bag and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If frozen, these vegan spring rolls can be deep-fried or air fried from frozen until hot and crispy.
More Vegan Filipino Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Champorado (Tsampurado)
- Turon (Banana Lumpia)
- Filipino Coconut Milk Adobo
- Vegan Tortang Talong (Filipino Eggplant Omelette)
- Vegan Sinigang (Filipino Tamarind Soup)
- Boiled Peanuts (Nilagang Mani)