As we all know, Root Radical veggies can be eaten raw and completely unadorned and still be the most delicious meal/snack around. They’re tasty and fresh and can speak for themselves. But as many of you also know, foods that are contained in pockets are kind of the best, be they samosas, spring rolls, pierogies, ravioli, or DUMPLINGS. Yep, this week, we’re making dumplings, just because we can (and snacking on green beans and carrots as we prep them).
I originally got the idea for dumplings from the combination of cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and green onion that was forecasted to be in the share. However, I ended up getting swiss chard instead of cabbage, and wasn’t convinced chard would be the right flavour profile for the dumplings (I could, of course, be convinced otherwise) – so carrot, green onion, and cilantro dumplings it was! And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. I added tofu for a bit of protein, but you could easily add mushrooms, kale, shelled peas or spinach (oh, and cabbage of course!). This is part of what I love about the CSA model – it’s fun to be creative in the kitchen, and let your ingredients lead you to new and fun veggie and flavour combinations. Also, I highly recommend doing this with friends/family/happy helpers – my friends and I wrapped about 50 dumplings together, which I could have done happily on my own, but it was so much more fun and exciting as a shared task, as we learned how to make the perfect dumpling shapes together. If you love eating pocket foods, but don’t eat gluten – you can wrap the filling in lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves and eat to your heart’s content.
I really like serving things in threes, so to compliment the dumplings, I whipped together a peanut lime cucumber salad (a fresh and bright side dish) and sesame green beans (a savoury and salty side dish). It created a lovely trio on the plate with a variety of textures and flavours. I would definitely make the cucumber salad again to incorporate into a cold noodle salad dish, or as a garnish on top of a rice bowl. The green beans were a favourite, and can be served chilled in noodle salads as well, or simply just gobbled right up.
More Magnificent Meal Musings:
- Greek Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta
- Basil Pesto
- Fresh Spring Rolls with Carrots, Cucumber, Thai Basil, and Cilantro
- Lemony Swiss Chard and Mushrooms on Toast
- Swiss Chard Ravioli (again, because it’s so good!)
- Stir Fry with Zucchini, Green Beans, and Mushrooms
- Soba Noodle Salad with Sesame Green Beans, Cucumber, Green Onions, and Cilantro
This recipe comes straight outta the Food Network, and specifically Alton Brown. I've adapted it slightly to my tastes (I LOVE cilantro and green onions), and it can be easily adapted to suit yours (garlic would be a tasty addition!). You can switch up the veg – using kale, spinach, or even shelling peas for the dumpling stuffing. These freeze well (don't cook before freezing), and come together relatively quickly (especially when you have happy helpers!). While they're steaming, I whipped together a quick dipping sauce with cilantro, chilis, soy sauce, and lime. So good!
- 350 grams extra firm tofu (approximately, I used most of a package)
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, gently squeezed to remove juices (this was about 10 small carrots)
- 4 Tbsps finely chopped green onions (about 3 total)
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 eggs, divided (both lightly beaten, but kept separate)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
- pinch chilli flakes
- Bowl of water plus additional water for steamer
- 40-50 dumpling wrappers
- vegetable oil or cabbage/kale/chard leaves for the steamer
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Cut the tofu in half horizontally and fold into a clean tea towel, separated by a layer. Place on a plate or cutting board, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (such as heavy cook books). Let stand 20 minutes. I did this in the morning, and then put the drained tofu in the fridge in an airtight container so it was ready to go for the evening.
Crumble the tofu into small pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 egg, salt, and chilli. Lightly stir to combine, and let sit for another 20-30 minutes to allow tofu to soak up the juices.
To form the dumplings, remove 1-3 wrappers from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with the 2nd beaten egg. Place 1 teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the centre of the wrapper. Form the dumplings into your desired shape. I ended up looking at a couple of Youtube videos for instructions, and made a pleated crescent moon-style dumpling. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.
Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the steamer's surface lightly with the vegetable oil or vegetable leaves to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat.*
Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. I laid mine on an oven proof plate, covered it with a damp towel, and put them in a slightly heated oven (heated to 200 and then turned off). Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.
Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!
*You can also fry the dumplings in a bit of oil for a couple of minutes, and then add 1/4 cup water, cover with a lid, and let steam until water had evaporated. Then you’ve made yourself a potsticker!
Sesame Green Beans
These beans are savoury, spicy, and sweet. They come together in a flash and are a perfect side dish for the dumplings (see above). Cook extra and chop them up as part of a soba noodle salad for tomorrow's lunch! Or cook extra and just eat'em all up, because they are that good.
- 2-3 handfuls of green beans
- 2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 pinch red chilli flakes
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
Trim the green beans and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, and once warm, add the neutral cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, add the green beans. They should start to brown quite quickly – keep an eye on them, and stir frequently.
After a couple of minutes (when green beans are starting to show crispy brown parts, but are still quite green) add sesame oil, soy sauce, chilli flakes and ginger. Stir and allow to cook down.
Eventually the liquids will reduce and start to stick to the pan – deglaze the pan with water and stir, allowing water to evaporate. This will ensure the beans are cooked through.
Add sesame seeds, and stir to coat. Serve hot.
Peanut Lime Cucumber Salad
Refreshing, light, and satisfying, this cucumber salad has a good hit of lime, and is nicely grounded by the peanuts. We had it as a side dish, but it would be excellent with cold rice noodles, in a soba noodle dish, and as a garnish for rice bowls.
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2-1 fresh thai chilli, thinly minced
- 1 lime, freshly squeezed
- 1/2-1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch salt, or to taste
- 3 Tbsp dry roasted peanuts, crushed or roughly chopped
Peel cucumber in stripes (or leave unpeeled if preferred) and slice thinly. Place in a small serving dish/bowl.
Mix together the lime juice, sesame oil, chilli, sugar, and salt. Pour over cucumber and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Top with chopped peanuts and serve.