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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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

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