Growing up in a place where the summers are hot, but the winters are atrocious (thank you, lake-effect snow!) there was nothing like a warm stew or soup to perk you up from the winter blues, while simultaneously warming up a perpetually drafty home. The tradition in my home was two thrifty, go-to meals: potato soup, and chicken and dumplings.
When I married my vegan wife, I had to say goodbye to these two traditions. Since then, I’ve searched long and hard for some alternatives. At this point in my life, I’ve perfected my own (vegan) potato soup, and it was just recently that I came by a dumpling recipe that I altered for my own and my wife’s tastes.
You can find the original recipe here, which I adjusted to simplify, and added a few things to. I also doubled the recipe because I’m lazy and will eat leftovers for lunch and dinner, so feel free to halve the recipe.
Let’s start with the ingredients. A quick note: again, I am very, very lazy, and a lot of these veggies tend to be bad this time of year where I live. As such, many of these veggies you can get frozen, though I wouldn’t recommend canned.
Broth & Veggies:
- 15 cups broth
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves (you can use whole)
- 10 peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 Tbs margarine
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp tarragon, sage and thyme
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion
- 2 ½ cups carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups peas (I used frozen)
- 1 package sliced mushrooms (I didn’t have these, but it’s a great addition)
- 1 ½ cups celery cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 cups chopped broccoli
- 12 oz package of firm Tofu cut into 1 inch squares
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ cups milk + 3 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 4 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup chives/parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup shortening or 4 tbsp coconut oil
Step one: Start by combining the broth, cloves and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring this to a boil, and simmer partially covered for 15 minutes.
Step two: While it’s simmering, melt the margarine in a skillet. Add the onions, mushrooms and and cook until they’re just browned.
Step three: Very important! Drain the broth to remove the bay leaves and peppercorns. There’s nothing like getting a bite of peppercorn to ruin a good meal. You can also just fish them out of you have the patience.
Step four: Add the garlic, pepper and herbs to the skillet and cook for another minute. Add this to the broth in your pot.
Step five: Bring the broth back to a boil. Add the carrots, peas, celery, broccoli and tofu. Simmer covered over low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Step six: When there are about 10 minutes left on the clock ,start the dumplings. Combine the soymilk and lemon juice/vinegar in a bowl and let set.
Step seven: Mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
Step eight: Using your fingers, work in the shortening or coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly.
Step nine: Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add in the soymilk mixture, chives and parsley into the well. Stir with a fork until just mixed.
Step ten: Drop large tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the simmering broth, approximately 1 inch apart. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Do not uncover!
Step eleven: You’re done! Enjoy right away! The best part — this recipe should make two rounds of dumplings, so put on another batch while you eat.
This recipe, while much more complicated than the recipe of my youth, has gotten me through some severe chicken and dumpling cravings. I hope to introduce it to my family soon, though I can guarantee the “mine is better” is sure to come up. What can I say, I come from a family of meat eaters — but when it comes to alternatives, this recipe is as close as I can get.