Even my toughest critics (the family) were SHOCKED that these crispy buffalo chicken egg rolls are dairy free and guilt free. I had to ward everyone off from the final few so I could snag some photos.
What's the hidden veggie? ... butternut squash! Serve with a dairy free ranch and brace yourself for the crispy, creamy, cheesy goodness.
Want to make them gluten free? You can make your own homemade gluten free egg roll wrappers.
How to roll egg rolls like a pro
- Place an egg roll wrapper in front of you like a diamond filled with ~3 tablespoons of the buffalo chicken mixture across the center.
- Wet all 4 sides of the egg roll wrapper. Fold the bottom corner up over the mixture until it's fully covered.
- Fold in the left and right corners so that the tips of them touch.
- Finish by rolling the mixture up towards to the top corner. Cover with a wet paper towel until you are ready to cook so the wrappers don't dry out.
For more tips - check out this article.
What makes these spring rolls healthy?
Everyone has different opinions on what makes something "healthy" but my personal definition includes being plant centered, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free (using natural sugars). Typically, buffalo chicken dip has loads of dairy & egg rolls are usually fried in canola oil which don't aid in optimal health so I made some swaps.
- Replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats - dairy products and most frying oils (ie. canola oil) are a main source of saturated fat (bad fat) which raise bad cholesterol levels and make us age quicker. Avocado oil and cashews are mainly monounsaturated fat (good fat) which lowers the bad cholesterol levels and provides vitamin E. There's no mayo, no cream cheese, no blue cheese, no sour cream... and your taste buds won't even be able to tell the difference.
- Use a buffalo sauce with no added sugar - I love this one from Whole Foods.
- Butternut squash - full of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene) which reduce inflammation and slow cellular damage.
- Buy high quality chicken - when you eat meat you are also consuming whatever the animal was fed or medicated with. Do your research to know how the chicken was cared for. I aim to buy chicken that is never given antibiotics or added hormones, pasture raised, humanely raised and USDA organic. To simplify things, I've been purchasing my meat from ButcherBox for years so that I always have the highest quality meat right in my freezer. It makes meal prep super easy!
How to make homemade gluten free egg roll wrappers
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any pre-made gluten free egg roll wrappers. So I make them homemade! I use Nicole's Gluten Free Egg Rolls recipe on her Gluten Free on a Shoe String blog! I usually triple the recipe to be able to make 20 spring rolls because it can be difficult to roll out super thin by hand or I double the recipe and use my pasta maker to more easily roll out thin wrappers. The thinner the wrapper, the crispier it will get!
3-4 days in an air-tight container in the fridge. To reheat lightly coat with avocado oil and re-fry in an air fryer or saute pan until warm and crispy.
Yes, you can easily freeze cooked or uncooked egg rolls for up to 4 months.
Cooked: Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge or skip right to re-frying in a pan or in air fryer until warm and crispy.
Uncooked: Place the uncooked egg rolls separated on a flat surface in the freezer until frozen. Then you can place them together in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freezing them separately at first ensures they don't stick together. Do NOT thaw before frying. Follow the cooking instructions in the recipe below until crispy (since they are frozen the cook time will be longer).
A lot of people (including myself) use "egg rolls" and "spring rolls" interchangeably. However, egg rolls are typically crisper and fried. Spring rolls are typically made of a thin raw rice paper. Here's a great article with more info.
Looking for more savory recipes with dairy free "cheese" sauce?
Healthy Chicken Enchiladas: Mouth watering with hidden veggies and a simple dairy free cheese sauce. Top with guacamole and avocado! Always a crowd pleaser.
Vegan Enchiladas: Savory black bean and mushroom filling with an easy dairy free cheese sauce. They taste even better the next day when the sauce sinks into the tortillas. Great meal to make ahead.
I hope you love these dairy free buffalo chicken spring rolls! If you make them I’d love for you to leave a rating & connect with me on Instagram @passthesprouts!
Dairy Free Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (Air Fryer or Pan Fry)
Buffalo Dairy Free "Cheese" Sauce:
- 2 cups cashews soaked overnight or in boiling water for at least 30 minutes
- 2 cups butternut squash diced and cooked
- ¼ cup lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- ½ cup olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder or peeled garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup buffalo sauce sugar free - add slowly to taste
- 3 breasts chicken breasts cooked & shredded
- 20 wrappers egg roll wrappers or make the homemade gluten free recipe linked below in notes
- ½ cup avocado oil use an oil with a high smoke point
- Soak cashews: Soak cashews in room temperature water overnight OR if you're in a pinch soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes. The shorter the soak the longer you'll need to blend the cashews. The longer the soak the silkier your cheese sauce will come out.
- Cook Chicken: Fully cook and shred chicken breasts with two forks.Boil: Bring a large pot to boil, add chicken breasts and cook for 40 minutes on medium heat. Shred with two forks.Instant Pot: Cook chicken breasts with 1.5 cups of water in the bottom of the pot. Cook for 18 minutes with 10 minute natural release. Shred with two forks.
- Cook butternut squash: Bring a sauce pot to a boil. Add diced butternut squash and lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until easily cut with a butter knife. Drain and set aside for the "cheese" sauce.
- Make "cheese" sauce: Blend together the drained cashews, butternut squash, lemon juice, oil, nutritional yeast, water, garlic or garlic powder and paprika until creamy and well combined. Start by only adding 1 tablespoon of sea salt and slowly add up to ¼ teaspoon more depending on your personal salt preference - taste along the way to ensure it isn't too salty. Adding the perfect amount of saltiness makes the perfect cheese flavor. You should want to eat it with a spoon! Then add buffalo sauce to taste - add 1 tablespoon at a time until your spice level is satisfied.
- Assemble Egg Rolls: In medium bowl mix together shredded chicken and buffalo "cheese" sauce. Place an egg roll wrapper in front of you like a diamond. Place ~3 tablespoons of the buffalo chicken mixture across the center of the diamond. Wet all four edges of the egg roll wrapper. Fold the bottom corner up over the mixture until it's fully covered. Fold in the left and right corners so that the tips of them touch. Finish by rolling the mixture up towards to the top corner. Cover with a wet paper towel until you are ready to cook so the wrappers don't dry out.
- Cook Egg Rolls: Air Fry or Pan Fry -Air Fryer: Preheat air fryer to 390°F. Brush or spray all sides of the egg rolls with avocado oil. Cook in the air fryer for 3 minutes, carefully flip with tongs or with a fork. Cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown. Pan Fried: Cover the bottom of a sauté pan with avocado oil and heat the oil on medium/high heat for ~3 minutes or until hot. Cook the egg rolls for about 3 mins on each side or until golden brown.
- Serve: Serve immediately with dairy free ranch or blue cheese!
- Avocado oil substitute - I recommend using grapeseed oil. Other oils likely have a lower smoke-point and more potent flavor which could impact the taste.
- Nutritional yeast substitute - do NOT substitute with yeast, nutritional yeast is very different and should be yellow in color. This is what gives the "cheese" sauce a cheesy taste. If you can't find nutritional yeast you could substitute with vegan cheddar cheese.
- Chicken - cook raw chicken breasts or use a cooked rotisserie chicken to save some time.
- Homemade gluten free egg roll recipe - Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any pre-made gluten free egg roll wrappers. So I make them homemade! I use Nicole's Gluten Free Egg Rolls recipe on her Gluten Free on a Shoe String blog! I usually triple the recipe to be able to make 20 spring rolls because it can be difficult to roll out super thin by hand or I double the recipe and use my pasta maker to more easily roll out thin wrappers.
- Make ahead of time / reheating - I like to make the chicken and buffalo "cheese" sauce mixture a day or two ahead of time and store in the fridge. Then I assemble and fry the egg rolls as close to eating them as possible. To reheat before serving place them on medium broil in the oven until they are warm and crispy. Be sure to watch them because they will heat up quickly!