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In this post, I’m bringing you a tasty and healthy recipe for homemade vegan dumplings (including the wrapper and dipping sauce!). I love to make this recipe with the whole family involved, which makes the whole process much more easier and fun! This recipe will not only help you sneak in more veggies into your diets, but in your kids’ diets as well. Mine particularly enjoyed making these dumplings so much, they gobbled them up without even remembering they were full of vegetables!
All right then, let’s take those rolling pins out and get ready to make a delicious mess!
What is a dumpling made of?
Dumplings are heavenly parcels of dough stuffed with as many different ingredients as you can imagine. From vegetables, to meats, to cheeses, the limit does not exist (I don’t care, I love Mean Girls). One thing that I adore about dumplings is that almost every culture has a version of them.
You have your pierogi from Central and Eastern Europe, ravioli from Italy, wontons from Asia, momo from India and Southern Asia and….well, you get the point! There’s just something about filled dough that ties us all together!
Here in Puerto Rico we have our version as well. They look a bit different, although the concept is the same. We have empanadillas (what we call the more commonly know empanadas in Latin cuisine) and pastelillos. The best way I can describe them is a large turnover (I guess?) made with a thick dough and rolled edges. They’re usually filled with ground meat fillings, seafood or even just plain cheese, and fried (we do love our fried food!). I adore the shrimp filled ones.
There are also pastelillos, which are a bit smaller than empanadillas and are made with a thinner dough that’s crimped at the edges and fried. The fillings are usually the same used for empanadillas.
How do you make vegan dumplings from scratch?
OK, so back to the vegan dumplings. While you can make them with pre-made dumpling wrappers, I find that making them at home is a much more satisfying experience, as well as having less food additives involved. You can use whatever vegetables you like, so customization is built in!
For this recipe, I started by making the dough first, since that’s the trickier part. I’ve even had to get my husband and kids involved, but the last time we made them we all had a blast, and it made the experience of making them just as good as the eating part.
So basically, it goes like this:
- Make the dough, refrigerate it, roll it out and cut into rounds
- Chop up your veggies, then stir fry them with the condiments
- Fill up the dough rounds, close them and shape ’em up
- Cook the dumplings: steaming or pan frying
- Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!
Don’t worry: I’m gonna walk you through it all!
Homemade dumpling wrapper
Homemade dumpling wrapper dough only includes 3 ingredients: flour, water and a pinch of salt (which you can omit if you want). So the good part about making them at home is that you avoid excess sodium, additives and preservatives, which we can benefit from avoiding as much as possible.
All you have to do is mix the boiled water (and salt if using) slowly with a wooden spoon together with the flour until the dough starts to form. You can knead it in a lightly floured surface. Make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated into a smooth-ish dough (it’s gonna have some cracks and a lump here and there, but as long as its not overly sticky or too dry, we’re OK). You can also knead the dough with a stand mixer for 6-8 minutes, which is way easier!
Buy it here: Stand Mixer
Next, divide the dough into 2 parts, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Afterwards, roll out the dough in a floured surface (I used cornstarch which is way silkier than flour) using a rolling pin, like
I did my husband did until it’s quite thin in thickness (from 1/8 to 1/16 inch is OK). A pasta sheet roller is much more quicker and convenient, and it’s something I will soon be adding to my cooking arsenal!
Buy it here: Pasta sheet roller
Then just cut out 3 inch circles using a biscuit cutter, a cookie cutter, or even a drinking glass. Make sure to flour them as you’re stacking so they don’t stick together. Keep joining up the dough scraps, rolling and cutting until its all used up.
They can also be wrapped in cling wrap and stored in the fridge (3-4 days) until ready to use, or stored in an airtight container in the freezer (up to 1 month). Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.
Vegan dumpling filling
For these particular vegan dumplings I used a pretty simple mix of vegetables I had on hand. I don’t know if it’s culinary blasphemy, but I cut corners and used a bagged coleslaw mix instead of shredding cabbage and carrots. Hey, I’m a mom of two with a full time job, so convenience will trump la cuisine gastronomique for the time being!
I also used chopped mushrooms, green onions, plus fresh garlic and ginger. Another way I usually speed things up in the kitchen is using a garlic press. And although one of my favorite cooking sites, Epicurious, literally said they “are the devil“, I can’t live without mine, especially when I’m not in the mood to mince. I used my garlic press for the ginger too (don’t @ me).
So, once you have all your veggies nicely chopped, now you stir fry them in a bit of sesame oil, medium heat. I like to start with the mushrooms (1-2 minutes), then add the onions and cabbage mix (2-3 minutes more). Once the veggies are softened up, add the garlic and ginger and cook until until fragrant, for about 1-2 minutes. Add the sauces, combine well, and once the vegetables are cooked down, remove from heat and place them in a separate bowl.
How do you shape dumplings?
Now it’s time to fill up our dumpling wrappers with that delectable veggie mix (seriously, my kids could not stop eating it as we filled the dumplings!). I use about a tablespoon of vegetables for each wrapper (don’t overfill).
Next, take a small container filled with water (I used a ramekin cup), dip your finger in the water, wet the inside edges of the wrapper, fold in half and lightly press to seal.
As to how to get those pretty pleated edges, I really like this video because it’s quick and easy to see the technique, which is not as intimidating as it looks!
Tip: Working quickly in this part will help keep the wrapper dough from drying out. You can also cover the remaining wrappers with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out while filling and folding the dumplings.
Two of my favorite ways to cook dumplings
How long should I steam dumplings?
Once you have your vegan dumplings all shaped up, one of the ways to cook them is by steaming them.
I used my metal steamer for this part. I find they’re easier to clean and take up less space than bamboo ones. And yes, bamboo steamers are prettier and are the more traditional option, but they sometimes require using liners and are a bit more time consuming to wash (you can’t just toss them in the dishwasher). They can also absorb stains and flavors if you don’t take care of them. But it’s just a matter of personal preferences.🤷♀️
Spray the streamer with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dumplings in, making sure they’re not touching. Fill a pot with water, taking care that it doesn’t reach the bottom of the steamer. Once it starts boiling, place the steamer with the dumplings in the pot, and steam for around 10-15 minutes, or until tender. When done, the wrappers will appear translucent and noodle-like. I like to flip them over halfway through the cooking process when using a metal steamer.
How to pan fry dumplings
My favorite way to cook dumplings is by pan frying. Heat the skillet with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat.
Once the pan is hot, place the number of dumplings you want to cook n in the pan. Allow them to sear for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown.
Add from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of water, immediately cover with a lid, and let the dumplings steam for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the water evaporates.
What is dumpling sauce made of?
Dumpling sauce is usually made with a base of soy sauce and rice vinegar, and a variety of other ingredients. I made this simple sauce using those ingredients, plus I added fresh garlic and ginger, sesame oil and green onions.
This sauce can be made in no time. Just mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil well. Add the freshly minced (or pressed) garlic and ginger, combining well, then top with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. That’s it! You can also add a bit of Sriracha sauce for a touch of heat, but I don’t use it when I make this for my kids (now if it’s just for me and the hubs, pile on the spice!)
How to freeze dumplings
If your not going to use the dumplings immediately, you can freeze them and they can keep up to 3 months. Don’t defrost them before cooking, or they’ll become soggy. Just cook them straight from the freezer using your preferred method.
- Lay the dumplings in a parchment lined cookie sheet that fits your freezer. Make sure they’re not touching or they’ll stick together
- After a few hours in the freezer, when the edges are hardened, transfer them to a Ziplock bag, label, and freeze for up to 3 months
Homemade vegan dumplings recipe
Homemade Vegan Dumpling Recipe
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp hot, boiled water
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cups bagged coleslaw mix, or shredded cabbage with shredded carrots
- ¼ cup green onions, chopped
- ¾ cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1½ tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- ½ tbsp tamari sauce
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 (2") piece of fresh ginger, minced or pressed
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds optional
- Prepare the wrappers: dissolve the salt into the hot water. Slowly pour into the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon, or your stand mixer, for 6-8 minutes until a uniform, elastic dough is formed.
- Divide dough into two parts, wrap each half in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll out dough on a surface sprinkled with flour or cornstarch. Roll into a thickness of about 1/8-1/16 inch.
- With a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut dough into 3 inch rounds. Keep joining the dough scraps, rolling and cutting until it's all used up. Stack the rounds with a bit of flour or cornstarch between the layers.
- Prepare the filling: Heat sesame oil in thick bottomed pan or wok. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the onions, then the cabbage and carrots, and cook for about 2-3 minutes more.
- When the vegetables are softened, add the garlic and ginger, and cook until, fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sauces and continue until the vegetables are cooked down. Remove from heat and place in a separate bowl.
- Fill and fold the dumplings: Fill each wrapper with about 1 tbsp vegetable filling (don't overfill).
- Next, take a small container filled with water, dip your finger in the water, wet the inside edges of the wrapper, fold in half and lightly press to seal.
- Pleat the edges with your fingers using this video as a guide.
- Cook the dumplings
- Steaming: Spray metal steamer with nonstick cooking spray. Place the prepared dumplings inside, making sure they don't touch. Fill a pot with water, but make sure it doesn't reach the bottom of the steamer. Once the water is boiling, place the steamer inside the pot, and cook the dumplings for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking process. The wrapper should be tender, translucent and noodle-like.
- Pan frying: Heat a skillet with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, place the number of dumplings you want to cook in the pan. Sear them for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown. Add from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of water, immediately cover with a lid, and let the dumplings steam for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the water evaporates.
- Make the dipping sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl. Add the garlic and ginger and mix well. Top with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.*¼
- Serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce and enjoy!
So, if you try out this vegan dumplings recipe, let me know how it goes down in the comments section. It’s not the quickest recipe to make, but if you make it with others, it’s much faster and a lot more fun!
Need some more healthy vegan recipes? Check these out:
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…