Chinese

Vegan Dumplings

These vegan dumplings feature a faux pork, shiitake and cabbage filling. They are the “meatiest” vegetarian dumplings out there and they are surprisingly easy to make!

A plate full of vegan dumplings. The front one held by chopsticks. Dipping sauce behind the plate.

What to put in vegan Chinese dumplings

If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll know I love me a good vegetarian dumpling! 

They’re kind of like tacos, you can pretty much put whatever you want in them and they’ll always turn out delicious!

That being said, there are certain formulas that are typical of Chinese-American restaurants and if you search google, you’ll most often find these typical recipes.

The most common type of vegan dumpling recipe you’ll find is the same as my very popular vegan potstickers recipe. 

That recipe features an all-vegetable filling of cabbage, carrot and mushrooms.

However, in an effort to offer readers something different than all the other vegan blogs out there, I’ve experimented with other types of filling such as in these smoky tofu vegetarian potstickers.

And I also love making dumplings for wonton soup like this basic vegan wonton soup with a tofu and shiitake filling, and this super delicious edamame-mint vegan wonton soup

A pair of chopsticks holding up an open vegan potsticker to show the filling.

My latest effort has been to make a vegan version of the typical Chinese restaurant pork dumplings. 

And that’s the recipe that I have for you here! 

To replicate the pork I’ve used tvp (textured vegetable protein), marinated it to infuse it with flavour before processing it to make it stick together. 

Then I added seasonings, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and shredded cabbage.  

Served together with your choice of dipping sauce, this is the vegan pork dumpling recipe you’ve been waiting for!

Where to buy vegan wonton wrappers

On all my other vegetarian dumpling posts, this is the most common question!

For a long time I didn’t know where to find them either so I started making my own vegan wonton wrappers. 

Most of the dumpling wrappers at the supermarket have egg in them but if you are able to find the Nasoya or Twin Dragon brand, these are both vegan.

A package of Master Las brand vegan wonton wrappers.

I made a special trip to my Asian supermarket to pick up a few things and found this Master Lau brand which, as you can see from the ingredients, is vegan.

That’s what I used for this recipe so if you have a good Asian supermarket in your town, definitely take a look there. 

If you’ve looked everywhere and can’t find any, try my homemade vegan wonton wrappers recipe.

How to make vegan dumplings

First you’ll need some textured vegetable protein. This is a soy product that I also buy at the Asian supermarket but the Bob’s Red Mill brand can be found at regular supermarkets or in health food stores.

A glass bowl with dry tvp.

It’s dried so it needs to be rehydrated. Instead of rehydrating it in water, I chose to infuse as much flavour as possible by making a marinade of dark miso paste, soy sauce and vegetable stock.

This gives the tvp a deep, salty umami flavour that’s perfect for these vegetarian pork dumplings.

After the tvp has rehydrated, it’s important to squeeze out as much of the marinade as possible.

A collage showing pouring the marinade over the tvp, the rehydrated tvp and squeezing the liquid out of the tvp.

The reason is that the dryer the tvp, the better it sticks together into a little ball for your filling. 

Also, I blend the tvp in a food processor for the same reason – it sticks together better.

To the tvp I add ginger, garlic and sesame oil. You can experiment here with your seasonings. If you want a bit of spice, add chili oil or sriracha. If you like Chinese five spice, add a pinch. 

A collage showing the tvp with ginger and garlic in the food processor. A hand showing a ball of the filling.

Since it’s not raw meat, you can taste the filling and adjust it however you like!

I also add some finely diced shiitake mushrooms, scallions and cabbage. 

A collage showing all the vegan dumpling filling ingredients in a glass bowl before and after mixing.

With the cabbage as well it’s important to squeeze out as much liquid as possible so that it’s soft and doesn’t make soggy potstickers!

So mix your filling all together and then get to folding!

How to fold dumplings

If you’ve never made potstickers before, the folding part might seem complicated. 

But don’t worry! With a bit of practice it gets really easy!

If you’re using store-bought wonton wrappers you’ll need to dip your finger in water and run it around the circumference of the wrapper first. 

If you’re using homemade wrappers, this isn’t necessary.

An open wonton wrapper with a ball of filling in the middle. A bowl of water and a bowl of the remaining filling in the back.

Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling in the middle of the wrapper (for wrappers that measure 7.5 cm / 3 inches wide). My favourite folding technique is the one-directional pleat you see here.

First pinch together the end of one side. I’m right handed so I start with the left side.

Use your right thumb to push the wrapper back over your left thumb to make a pleat. 

With your left thumb push the pleat closed. 

Notice I keep my right index finger inside the wrapper touching the filling. I am pushing it down and compacting it as I fold.

Two hands showing the folding technique for potstickers.

Continue down the length of the wrapper making the pleats with your thumbs until you reach the end.

Go back over your pleats and push them together well between your thumb and index finger to seal.

A collage showing hands folding of vegan potstickers and the final dumpling shape.

Place the finished dumplings on a plate and cover them with a towel to prevent them from drying out. 

Rows of stuffed and wrapped dumplings on a board before cooking.

How to cook them

There are a couple different ways you can cook dumplings. 

I usually fry just the bottoms until crispy and then steam them. You can also make them extra crispy by frying both the bottom and the side before steaming. 

It just takes a minute or two to get them crispy then you can quickly pour a couple tablespoons of water into the pan.

Chopsticks holding up a vegetarian dumpling to show the crispy fried bottom.

Do this carefully because the hot oil will spatter! Have the lid ready and held just above the pan as you pour the water in to quickly cover the pan and not get burned.

If you’re using fresh wrappers, they just need to steam for a couple minutes. If using store-bought, give them 5 – 7 minutes for the pleats to cook through.

Then lift the lid off the pan and allow any excess water to evaporate. Give the dumplings a bit more time to crisp up on the bottoms again and they’re ready!

What to serve with vegan dumplings

First you’re going to want to prepare a delicious sauce.

I’m lazy so I usually just mix up a quick soy sauce and rice vinegar sauce, like the one I included in my vegan potstickers recipe.

But there are many more elaborate and tasty options. Red House Spice has a whole post with six dumpling sauces you can try.

And Omnivore’s Cookbook has a further four Chinese dumpling sauces you can take a look at.

You can serve your vegan dumplings as an appetizer to an Asian-inspired meal alongside vegan scallion pancakes or vegan hot and sour soup

For your main try sweet and sour tofu, rice vermicelli stir fry, baked cauliflower in Chinese lemon sauce or this tasty and unique black pepper tofu.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this post of 50+ vegan Chinese recipes.

The cooked dumplings in a pan seen from above.

Can you freeze them?

Yep, dumplings are super simple to freeze. 

After you have finished folding them but before you cook them you can freeze as many as you like.

Space them out on a tray or board and pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight bag. They can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

A close-up photo of a plate of dumplings. The front one being held by chopsticks. A bowl of dipping sauce in the back.

How to cook frozen dumplings

You do not need to defrost frozen vegan dumplings before cooking. 

The cooking instructions are the same as for freshly made dumplings but you should steam them for a couple minutes longer.

First fry the bottoms in a couple tablespoons of oil, then carefully pour in a few tablespoons of oil and quickly cover the pan. 

Steam for about 10 minutes then lift the lid and fry for a couple minutes longer to crisp up the bottoms. 

A plate of vegan dumplings. The front one is held by chopsticks. Dipping sauce in the back.

Vegan Dumplings

Yield: about 16 dumplings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These vegan dumplings feature a faux pork, shiitake and cabbage filling. They are the “meatiest” vegetarian dumplings out there and they are surprisingly easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) tvp (textured vegetable protein)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dark miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 packed cup (40 grams) very finely shredded cabbage (preferably napa)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • A chunk of ginger about 12 grams / 0.4 oz
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • The white and light green parts of 2 scallions, very finely chopped
  • 2 - 3 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, very finely diced
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 16 vegan dumpling wrappers (7.5 cm / 3 inches wide), store-bought (see note) or homemade
  • A small bowl of water (if using store-bought wrappers)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
  • Water for steaming
  • Your favourite dipping sauce (see note)

Instructions

    Place the dry tvp in a bowl. In a small bowl combine the miso paste and the soy sauce. Stir well to dissolve the miso paste then add the vegetable stock. Pour this marinade over the tvp and set aside to rehydrate, stirring from time to time - about 15 minutes.

    Place the shredded cabbage in a separate bowl with the salt and mix well. Set aside to allow the moisture to draw out - about 10 minutes.

    Once the tvp is rehydrated, transfer it to a strainer and use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. The dryer it is, the better it will stick together.

    Transfer the tvp to a food processor and add the ginger, garlic and cornstarch. Process until you have fine crumbles. It won’t make a paste but processing it this way makes it stick together better. You should be able to squeeze a bit of it together into a small ball.

    Add sesame oil to taste. It can be a bit strong so I like to start with 1/4 teaspoon, taste the mix (it’s not raw meat, you can taste it) and then add more if I like. You can also add more ginger or garlic if you want.

    Transfer the tvp to a bowl.

    Squeeze as much water as possible out of the cabbage. I start with my hands and then transfer it to a paper towel and give it another good squeeze to make sure it’s dry.

    Add the cabbage, scallions, shiitake mushrooms and pepper to the tvp and mix it up.

    To keep the outside of your dumplings clean you can make the filling into little balls first and set them on a plate. Take about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling and squeeze it together in your hand into an oval shape. You should get 15 - 16 balls. Rinse and dry your hands.

    Now time to fold. Keep the dumpling wrappers under a slightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out.

    Take one dumpling wrapper and use your finger to moisten the circumference water (only if using store-bought wrappers. Not necessary if using homemade).

    Take a ball of filling and place it in the middle of your wrapper. Fold it up and pinch one end closed. Use your thumbs to make pleats down one side. I use my index finger to push down and compact the filling as I go. See the pictures above. Squeeze the pleats closed well. Place the finished dumplings under a towel to prevent them from drying out.

    Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan over medium heat. You may need to work in batches if all the dumplings don’t fit together.

    Fry the dumplings on the bottom for a couple minutes until golden brown and crispy.

    Holding the lid of the pan in front of the pan and ready to cover it, add a couple tablespoons of water (if working in batches) to 1/4 cup water (if you’ve got them all in a big pan). Be careful because the oil will splatter. Quickly cover the pan with the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low.

    Allow to steam for 3 - 4 minutes if using homemade wrappers or 7 minutes if using store-bought. Add more water if necessary.

    Remove the lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate then allow another couple of minutes for the bottoms to crisp up again.

    Serve with your choice of dipping sauce (see note).

Notes

Note: Look for Nasoya or Twin Dragon brands, which are vegan. I found the Master Lau brand at an Asian supermarket. There may be other brands, just read the ingredients and make sure they don’t have egg in them.

For dipping sauce ideas check here or here.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 689mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.

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