I love a good vegan egg roll, especially paired with a stir fry or rice dish. These plant based egg roll bowls are a unique twist on the fried version. There is no need to fuss with wrappers in this recipe. Instead, the egg roll is reimaged as a healthy salad!
What is an egg roll bowl?
An egg roll bowl, also known as a “deconstructed egg roll” or “egg roll in a bowl,” is a dish that includes the filling of an egg roll served in a bowl without the traditional deep-fried wrapper. This dish typically features a protein, shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, and various seasonings like soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil.
It is a popular choice for those seeking a lower-carbohydrate or gluten-free alternative to traditional egg rolls, as it captures the essence of the egg roll filling but without the wrapper. It’s a simple, quick, and often healthier way to enjoy the flavors of an egg roll!
About the ingredients
- Firm Tofu, Drained and Cubed: Tofu is the main protein source in this vegan dish. Pressing out the liquid gives it a firmer texture, which is excellent for absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients, mimicking the texture of meat typically found in egg rolls.
- Neutral Oil: This oil is used for sautéing the tofu and vegetables. Being neutral, it allows the flavors of the other ingredients to stand out without adding any additional taste.
- Green Cabbage, Sliced: Cabbage is a staple in egg roll fillings, offering a slightly sweet crunch, lots of fiber, and a satisfying volume to the dish.
- Carrot, Peeled and Shredded: Carrots contribute sweetness, a pop of color, and additional texture. They are also rich in vitamins and fiber.
- Radishes, Cut in Sticks: Radishes add a peppery taste and a crunchy texture, enhancing the dish’s overall complexity.
- Yellow Onion, Sliced: Onions are essential for creating depth of flavor, adding sweetness when cooked and contributing to the savory base of the dish.
- Garlic, Minced: Garlic is key for its pungent, aromatic flavor, which is crucial in many savory dishes.
- Minced Fresh Ginger: Fresh ginger offers a warm, spicy note, typical in many Asian-inspired dishes.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: This oil has a distinctive, nutty flavor common in Asian cuisine, adding depth and a hint of richness.
- Sriracha: This sauce introduces heat and a slight acidity, enhancing the dish’s overall flavor profile.
- Soy Sauce (or Tamari for Gluten-Free): Soy sauce is crucial for its salty, umami flavor. Tamari is a great gluten-free alternative.
- Dijon or Spicy Mustard: Mustard adds a tangy, spicy element, complementing and adding complexity to the flavors.
- Green Onions, Sliced (for Garnish): As a garnish, green onions provide a fresh, sharp taste and a visual appeal, enhancing both the flavor and presentation of the dish.
Each ingredient contributes to a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, creating a flavorful, nutritious, and satisfying dish.
Tip: this recipe tastes very good with this homemade peanut sauce as well
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to press the tofu before cooking? – Pressing tofu removes excess water, resulting in a firmer texture that absorbs flavors better and browns more effectively in the pan.
Can I use a different type of oil instead of a neutral one?
Yes, you can use other oils, but neutral oils like vegetable or canola oil are recommended because they don’t impart additional flavors to the dish.
Is there a substitute for sesame oil? Sesame oil has a unique flavor, but if necessary, you can use a mild olive oil or more neutral oil, though the dish will lose some of its characteristic taste.
Can I add other vegetables to this recipe? Absolutely! Feel free to include other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or snap peas for added flavor and texture.
Is it necessary to cook tofu separately before adding the other ingredients? Cooking tofu separately until it’s slightly browned ensures it has a good texture and flavor. It’s an important step for the best results.
Can I make this dish without sriracha if I don’t like spicy food? Yes, you can omit the sriracha or replace it with a milder sauce to adjust the spice level to your preference.
What’s the best way to store and reheat leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stove until thoroughly warmed.
Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Yes, to make this recipe gluten-free, use tamari instead of regular soy sauce and ensure that all other ingredients, like sriracha and mustard, are gluten-free.
Healthy Plant Based Egg Roll Bowl
- 1 lb firm tofu drained and cubed (for best results press out liquid)
- 2 Tbsp. neutral oil
- ½ green cabbage sliced
- 1 carrot peeled and shredded
- 3 radishes cut in sticks
- ½ yellow onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 ½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tsp. sriracha
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
- 1 tsp Dijon or spicy mustard
- 1-2 green onions sliced
- toasted sesame seeds
- cooked rice or vermicelli noodles for serving
- Thinly slice the cabbage and cut the onions into semi-circles. Peel and finely chop the ginger and garlic.
- In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and mustard. Whisk them well and put aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the tofu cubes in a single layer in the pan. Let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring, until they start to brown on one side.
- Lower the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the tofu. Stir occasionally and cook until the onion begins to soften, which should take about 3-5 minutes.
- Now, add the cabbage, carrot, and radish to the pan. Keep stirring regularly for about 7 minutes, until the cabbage becomes soft.
- Pour the prepared sauce over the vegetables and tofu. Stir everything together and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender.
- Serve the dish hot. You can have it over rice, cooked vermicelli, glass noodles, or just by itself. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.