If you go to the store looking for vegan or vegetable dumplings, chances are you realize that despite not having meat as a filler, it still costs a lot. Dumplings take a while to make, especially if you are making a lot, so really, the reason I make them is that 1) it’s a huge cost saver and 2) I get to put whatever I want in them.

I find that a lot of vegetarian dumplings at the stores aren’t meaty enough for me. Maybe as a former meat-eater, I miss that kind of stuff. I get annoyed when the filling is just a gooey pile of mashed vegetables. That’s why I filled these “pork” and cabbage dumplings with textured vegetable protein and shitake mushrooms, which adds that meaty flavor and texture back in.

A friend of mine, who is taking a science of cooking class, said to me that there isn’t really a molecule for the flavor of meat. It’s actually a combination of flavors that can be re-created, which is why I add flavors like mushrooms and miso to things I want to taste a bit more like meat.

Anyways, don’t think I skimped on the veggies. I made sure to fill it with scallions, cabbage and carrots. I think it’s still worth mentioning that although many of my recipes are recreations of food that might not contain a ton of vegetables, the reason to eat vegan or vegetarian is for me, a health choice and eating more vegetables should be at the top of everyone’s list.

Tip: Remember to chop up your herbs and cabbage finely. It will be a pain to fill the dumplings if you have huge chunks of vegetables poking through.

Also, it is hard to seal an over-filled dumpling, so don’t get too greedy, or else it might burst on you. Start sealing the dumpling by folding up the wrapper and pinching the middle first. Then seal the left side and then the right.

Vegan “Pork” and Cabbage Dumplings

(Makes about 75-80 dumplings)

  • 1 1/2 cups textured vegetable protein
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions or Chinese chives, chopped thin
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 package frozen round dumpling wrappers

To seal:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the TVP, salt, pepper and 1 cup of boiling water.
  2. Add in the garlic ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, oil and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Finely dice the cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes in salted boiling water. Drain and squeeze out any additional water.
  4. Finely dice the green and white parts of the scallions. Add to the TVP mixture.
  5. Finely dice the shitake mushrooms and add to the TVP mixture.
  6. Fold in the cabbage. Adjust for flavoring.
  7. Prepare a slurry by mixing the cornstarch and water in a small ramekin.
  8. To assemble, brush one half of the dumpling wrapper with the slurry. Fill the dumpling with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and seal tightly. Repeat.
  9. The dumplings can be frozen or cooked as desired.