Plump Pea Dumplings Recipe

A vegetarian dumpling recipe featuring a simple pea, lemon, ricotta filling. Bright flavors and delicious steamed or pan-fried.

Plump Pea Dumplings

Back in the late 1990s, my friend Beatrice had a tradition of hosting dumpling parties. She'd make a few fillings ahead of time and then a bunch of us would spend the afternoon sitting around stuffing, folding, sealing, pinching, steaming, chatting and eventually eating. If you've never tried making your own dumplings you might consider the whole process a bit fussy, but the next time you have a bit of extra time on your hands, and/or a few nimble-fingered helpers, consider giving it a try. The filling for these particular dumplings is bright and light, focusing on the peas as the central flavor. That being said, the lemon zest is the magic ingredient that sets everything off. It permeates the pea and ricotta puree punctuating each bite like a bolt of sunshine. Dumplings are often served with a dipping sauce, but I found that all these needed were a thin drizzle of olive oil and a few grains of salt.

I'll warn you in advance, some people are natural dumpling darlings - able to crank out row after row of identical pillows. Others? Not so much. You'll quickly discover which camp you fall into. Either way, here are a few tips (I've learned the hard way) that might be helpful:

- Keep wrappers covered, they dry out quickly becoming brittle and impossible to work with.

- Exercise restraint when filling your dumplings - they key is to avoid overfilling. Also, ease out any air pockets before sealing - they expand when heated and will cause problems.

- When stuffing and folding dumplings use an assembly line method. Line counter with a dozen wrappers, drop filling onto each, seal and fold each. Instead of doing one at a time.

Vegetarian Dumpling Recipe

I cooked these two ways. You can see how the pan-fried version looks in the above shot, and they were de-licious. That being said, the steamed version were even more exceptional. The recipe below includes techniques for both.

- There are various ways cooks keep dumplings from sticking to a steamer. You might line the steamer with banana leaf, tamale leaf, or a large leaf of lettuce. I didn't have any of those on hand this time around so I kissed the back of each dumpling with a touch of olive oil (where the dumpling would touch the steamer), and hand no problem with sticking.

- You might not want to immediately steam every dumpling you make. That's ok, they freeze perfectly. To keep them from freezing together in a big clump, freeze dumplings for an hour flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate. Now place them in a freezer bag. You can go straight from freezer to steamer.

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Plump Pea Dumpling Recipe

Scan the notes in the original entry for more dumpling making tips, I've outlined 4 or 5 important ones there. Also, the instructions here are for steaming the dumplings, but I also had success pan-frying them in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cover and cook in a single layer until the bottoms are deeply golden, flip using a metal spatula, cover and cook until the other side is browned.

2 cups (about 10 ounces) cups peas (freshly shelled or frozen)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
scant 1/2 tea spoon fine grain sea salt
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
zest of one large lemon

1 package of wonton wrappers, or round wrappers

special equipment: bamboo steamer (or see head notes for alternative cooking method)

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water (as you would pasta water) and add the peas. Cook until bright green in color and puffy, about a minute if the peas were frozen, less if you started with fresh ones.
Drain the peas and run under cold water for one minute to stop the cooking.

With a food processor (or hand blender) blend the peas, ricotta cheese, olive oil, and salt into a puree. I like a bit of texture, so I don't go too far. Return the mixture to a big bowl and stir in the shallots, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Taste. Add more salt if needed.

Fill the dumplings using an assembly line technique - a dozen at a time (for the most part following the instructions on the wrapper packaging). Place twelve wrappers out on the counter, drop a very scant teaspoon of filling onto each wrapper, rub the perimeter of each wrapper with a wet finger seal, fold (most packages have diagrams), and set aside on a plate. Do the next dozen and repeat until all the filling is used up.

Set up your steamer, rub each dumpling with a bit of olive oil, arrange the dumplings in a single layer (being careful not to overlap), and steam for about three minutes - until the dumplings are tender and transluscent. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and enjoy.

Makes about 4 dozen dumplings.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Great filling! My friend Xiang Yi browns and THEN steams them ... just lightly brown in skillet, then sprinkle a bit of water around the pan, cover and steam for about half an hour, continuing to sprinkle water on as needed. SOOOO tasty.


Susmita - Thanks I'll try that. I've been using the fake ricotta recipe from the Real Food Daily cookbook, and while I love it, I don't always want to have to make something I used to grab out of the fridge. Yours is so much simpler - I'll have to try that. And thanks for the instructions Heidi. I will definitely try this next time I get the insane idea to make dumplings!


this looks LOVELY.


Just made a batch to go with a grilled swordfish dinner (and the rest went straight to the freezer). So delish - fresh, filling and a great tribute to spring! I liked them with just sea salt but a Persian friend enjoyed them dipped in lemon juice... I highly recommend them to anyone.


oh I can't wait to try theses, I've had plans for a dumpling, ravioli, wonton and other filled noodle goodies party. yum yum yum so excited these look and sound delish


Dumplings? Where have they been all my life?? I love the steamed dumplings from Chinese restaurants- I'm going to give the dumpling party a go. Thanks!!


thanks for the cooking ideas.LOVE,MEL&G.

melody lamb

Wow, I love this post, and not just for the recipe. The scene you describe made me think of making dumplings as a social event, rather than hours of tedious, solitary work. It's a great idea for an intimate party. Thanks!


These look really good! I enjoy seeing the recipes and pictures that you post. Always makes me ready to eat!!! :-) Do you have any other "filling" ideas that would work also?


WOW! Those look delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!


WOW! Those look delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!


Dear Heidi, those look delicious. If only I could find wonton wrappers around? ps. Jane - you could make those vegan by using silken tofu.


elegant and beautiful i've got to make these as is usual with your recipes i've never done the wonton wrapper thing - i think the time has come!

Claudia (cook eat FRET)

Yumm..I am going to try with Edamame instead of peas....I know edamame with lemon is awesome.....Will let you know how it tasted.....


Steamed version would definitely steal the show. Awesome images, Heidi.


I would definitely go with the steamed version, I love that soft texture as you bite into them. This is like the same sort of craving that I get for dim sum, irrepressible! I love the fresh flavours of pea and lemon too.


I hate peas....but I am just enjoying looking at the photos! So, so pretty!!


Those look absolutely incredible. I don't know what it is that scares me so much about using wrappers and philo. I'm afraid I'll just end up with a pile of goo!


Recipe's printed ready to go...just got to be patient as I need to get wonton wrappers (& to get on with work right now)! I don't know if pea-non-fans who've already commented tend to like broadbeans but I can imagine they'd work well popped out of their skins too.


HOLY SOMETHING! I saw these on Tastespotting and immediately had to JET over here and get the full, front page story. Captivating picture. These little bundles of savoriness are making me a little crazy. Wow. Lovely post today, as always.


Oh good! I'm glad you all are enjoying them - and thanks for reporting back. Anna, I love the grill idea. I bet they would do nicely in my panini maker, but that would have never dawned on me if you had not mentioned the Foreman grill. -h


Made these tonight. Wicked good. I love peas and cheese. I did half steamed and half fried. I like having both, it is a nice contrast. The rest of dinner was a few artichokes, steamed and broiled. And of course some Sauvignon Blanc. Cheers!


Having refused to get rid of my George Forman grill even though its damn near 10 years old (and still works perfectly!). I recommend grilling them! Every time I have dumplings left over from takeout, I have them grilled the next day as lunch or dinner. Grilling adds such delicious color and flavor, without the oil of frying. Now all I need is to hit up the grocery store for the ingredients!


this is next in line for dinner! i've made dumplings once and it was fun. now it's time to try it again. peas and ricotta sound delicious. thanks :)

The Spotted Apron

I am making these for an early dinner out on my front porch - it's beautiful down in Mobile right now. I was given home grown sugar snap peas that are vibrant and delicate and will use those. Can't wait!


wow! how ver creative! gorgeous and delicious!


These look delicious - but totally not what I was expecting when I saw the title! For me, "dumplings" are those doughy things you put in stew, or that get served with red cabbage in Germany/Czechoslovakia! These, to me, are won tons or ravioli! And though I'm sure my local Chinese grocery would sell the wrappers, I'm not sure if I'd recognise them!

Mrs Redboots

If you want to lower the oil content, you don't need to brush the dumplings with oil to prevent them from sticking to the steamer pan. You can just line the steamer bottom with big lettuce or cabbage leaves.


I tried this last night, as soon as I had found the recipe. I had to stop by the store anyways. My husband loved it! He put some immediately away for his lunch the next day. I couldn't puree the peas very well, but it turned out delicious.


As for sides, I usually serve my pork variety with homemade veggie sushi, miso soup, or a veggie stir-fry over rice - these stand in for the meat portion of my meal! With LOTS of soy sauce, or course!


I have a comment on homemade wontons and boiling vs. steaming. I found a recipe for homemade wonton wrappers! I haven't tried it yet, but it was the only one I found after a bit of searching. As for boil vs. steam, i was taught to make meat filled dumplings by a Taiwanese girl. She always boiled hers three times... we found out later (after she consulted with the rest of the family) that they did it that way because they usually bought them frozen - they needed to cook longer. That's also why they boiled them 3 times, using cold water in between to stop the boiling. There is no reason why these could not be boiled, or why meat dumplings could not be steamed - the result will be the same - just be sure to temp. a couple of the meat variety to make sure they're done!!


Taking it from a Chinese's point of view, thought dumplings were supposed to be cooked in water? At least that wat my family does every time: Boil one huge tub of water and dump the dumplings inside, after which you wait for it the reboil again before adding some water, and you do that twices or thrice according to the filling and how hard it is to be cooked. Oh, and it's usually served with chilli or black vinegarXD


Is there a recipe to make the wrappers from scratch? I'm wheat-intolerant so would have to substitute the flour. Peas are one of my favourite veggies, so I'd love to try this!


For sure I will try it! it looks very gooooooood!! I love your website!!!


I used to hate peas, you could get me to eat any other vegetable, but not peas. Then I met my boyfriend who dislikes most vegetables, except peas, and he changed my mind about them (if only I could do the same for him and his dislike of Brassica). Long story short, this recipe looks just delicious and will be one that we can both enjoy!


Ikeep emailing recipes to my daughter at [email protected] but none have transmitted, she says. What could i be doing wrong.(All my other emails get there) Please advise.P.S Love your recipes!


Ikeep emailing recipes to my daughter at [email protected] but none have transmitted, she says. What could i be doing wrong.(All my other emails get there) Please advise.P.S Love your recipes!


Ikeep emailing recipes to my daughter at [email protected] but none have transmitted, she says. What could i be doing wrong.(All my other emails get there) Please advise.P.S Love your recipes!


How do I make the wanton/round wrappers from scratch?


These look interesting. I've had dumplings before, but they were filled with meat, not vegtables.

Krista on the Hill

Making dumplings is time-consuming but not hard. These sound really different from the Chinese dumplings I have made in the past. I love the idea of a dumpling party- I think this would make a really fun tapas night!

Deborah Dowd

Made the Strawberry Panzanella last night using Nigella Lawson's Lazy Loaf from the Nigella Express cookbook. Worked great & was a huge hit for a last minute dessert. Thanks!

Erin in AK

What a great idea. Your blog is so inspiring.


i thought the green looked like avocados at first and then i thought how avocado dumplings friend would be. usually im not a big fan of fusion food but i might try that if i find some dumpling wrappers. thanks!


These sound very tasty. I made a wonderful pasta this weekend using these very same ingredients (peas, fresh ricotta and lemon zest). The lemon zest is definitely the wow factor of the flavor combo. Dumplings are a fantastic idea and a great way to make these spring flavors shine at a cocktail party! I can't wait to try the recipe.


Gorgeous little things! Always a bit nervous about attempting dumplings ... too much room for error perhaps? But these ones will have to be tried!


Heidi - you always manage to take some vegetable I always hated (i.e. brussel sprouts, and now peas!) and make me realize that they are delicious and deserve a spot in my now grown-up kitchen. Thanks for helping me rediscover vegetables.


Fabulous recipe, which I imagine could be used as a base just switching ingredients other than the peas. I have a slight pea hang-up from childhood.


Fabulous recipe, which I imagine could be used as a base just switching ingredients other than the peas. I have a slight pea hang-up from childhood.


Heidi, you have such awesome recipes. Can't wait to try this one. Might be good with edamame too.


Hi Heidi, just curious, if I decided to make a meal with my dumplings, what would I serve as side dishes. And what kind of calories do we have in the dumplings. I am not much of a meat eater. The dumplings sound and look so delicious.


it looks very good


dumpling parties... what fun!! I've always been intimidated by the idea of making my own dumplings; but your recipe sounds quite doable, and fabulous (as always)!!


These look absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering!! I always love when you have a new recipe to share!! Are you planning another book any time soon?

Lisa Cohen

Heidi - at a party I hosted this past weekend my friend brought over some of her fantastic spring rolls that she makes using the same wonton wrappers. She doesn't fry them though- she bakes them! And they turn out nice and brown and crispy too. She doesn't use olive oil or anything to make them crisp up, they just do. Maybe an option for these dumplings?


I wonder if I could get my fiance to eat peas with this recipe?!!? Looks D-lish Thanks :)


Perfect timing!! I have moved from the states to Scotland, and I can't find wonton wrappers in my area! I LOVE to make dumplings, and I'm dying for a recipe to make the wrappers fresh. Any ideas??


Yum, Heidi! This looks delicious, and relatively simple to make. Thank you for posting this! :D


Your recipes are always, somehow, so timely for what I'm up to. I've spent some time today searching the web for a dumpling recipe for a dinner party we're hosting this weekend -- though I was aiming originally for a lighter version of a German style dumpling. I love that this showcases peas though, which are beginning to show up at my local markets. I have tried steaming wontron wrappers before though and I always run into a bit of trouble. Inevitably I under-steam or over-steam them. There's a moment of perfect doneness that isn't given away by visual clues, since they seem to finish up their cooking after they come off the steamer. Trial and error, I guess.

Becky And The Beanstock

Such a fun idea for a party (if slightly messy)... The fried ones look the tastiest, as fried things so often do, but it's good to hear that the healthy option wins the taste test today!


Jane -- I think you could make these vegan by using tofu/olive oil instead of ricotta. I often do this in lasagne and other dishes that call for ricotta. Use a block (or half block) of firm or extra firm tofu. Buzz in the food processor to crumble. Then, while the processor is running, sloooowwwly drizzle in a stream of olive oil, until the mixture resembles ricotta. I find that it is virtually indistinguishable from ricotta, and I am going to try this dumpling recipe with my "faux-ricotta."


I am speechless. The beautiful pictures and the briliant recipe.. and I just got a bambo steemer!! I will try these very soon..


Heidi, These look wonderful. Although the recipe won't work for me (not vegan), I love the way your dumplings look. The dumpling wrappers I use, don't have such fancy instructions to put them together. I'll have to try to see if I can replicate yours. They're beautiful! Heidi note: Jane, the ricotta adds some fluff to the pea mixture, but I suspect they would be delicious even if you left the ricotta out entirely (just use more peas). Or substitute something that you think might go along nicely with the pea flavor.To make them that shape I folded the wonton wrapers diagonally from corner to corner then took the two "arms" and bought them to the center with a pinch. I'll update the instructions.


Those look wonderful. We had a friend, whose neighbor taught us how to make pot stickers. They tasted so much better than any pot stickers we could buy at the store. But they were a little work. :-) They also froze beautifully.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Oh, you make me wanna go make some chinese dumplings now! I love dumplings! by the way, I made the coconut pancake last week! they were great!


I love the simplicity of these dumplings! I bought a package of wrappers yesterday with the intent of making something. Dumplings are so versatile, from veggie or meat to even sweet fillings. I like this pea filling -- it just screams 'spring time is here'.


What perfect timing! I just harvested the last of the peas from my garden so I have about 5 lbs of fresh peas on hand. This sounds like a unique and delicious way to use them up. Also, I made your Strawberry Panzanella this weekend for a dinner party and it was a HUGE hit. Thanks!!

Jen (Modern Beet)

i am a dumpling lover. and these beauties sound delish! love the shape your folded them into.


Oh boy, those look nice and crisp and I love ricotta! I just bought 2 lbs of this incredible fat free ricotta from a brand a just discovered, Calabro? It's so creamy that it's more like queso fresca. Anywho, not a pea fan myself, but I would likely use edamame or corn instead. - The Peanut Butter Boy


Is it possible to use dried or split peas for this since they end up mashed?


I love dumplings! The peas and ricotta are so light and springlike. These would make excellent (and impressive!) hors 'oeurvres. Love them!


These look great, and it's a great way to use peas. A dumpling party sounds like a lot of fun!

Fearless Kitchen

They look delicious, and I can't wait to try them! I love dumplings! Did you fry those in the photo? Heidi note: I steamed some and pan-fried others (see headnote)...both were delicious, but there was something extra special about the way the lemon flavor come through with the ones I steamed.


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