South Tyrolean Red Beet Dumplings
I was determined to create whole-food plant-based dumplings after our recent visit to South Tyrol, where dumplings are a staple food. The dumpling variety there is huge- meat dumplings, cheese dumplings, buckwheat dumplings… and delicious red beet dumplings. These were the ones I was going to make at home.
Having grown up with all sorts of dumplings, I clearly remember horrified and utterly disappointed faces on Viennese mothers when the dumplings fell apart during the cooking process. The glue used in dumplings comes typically from eggs and I was naturally a bit nervous whether an egg replacer would do the job or whether my little balls would simply disintegrate. but you’ll only know if you try so I gave it a shot… And the dumplings turned out beautifully!! Phew! Look at their amazing pink color!
The batter consists of only a few ingredients with the main ingredient being old bread, cut into cubes. make sure you use healthy, long fermented bread, preferably a light (in color, not weight) one.
Not everything went smoothly though and when I first attempted to form the dumplings from the mixture, they just wouldn’t stick together and I got slightly stressed out, like the moms I witnessed in Vienna.
But I don’t give up easily and had the sudden, genius idea of chucking the mixture into the food processor. And that made all the difference. The balls were easily formed thereafter and held their shape during the boiling process.
Lucky me! So I can only advise you to include this important step in your preparations!
Form about 20 small balls out of the batter, about this size:
I know, the gloves look a bit freaky, but you really don’t want to stain your fingers with the color of the red beets.
Traditionally, some sort of warm coleslaw is served with the dumplings and I happened to have a homemade fermented slaw in the fridge. I warmed it up and it complemented the dumplings wonderfully. You can also simply place the dumplings on a bed of rocket and add a bit of freshly ground pepper for garnish.
- 5 cups of old hard bread, cut in smaller cubes
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 red beets, cooked and peeled
- 1 tbsp stoneground whole wheat flour
- 2 egg replacers (I used 2 tsp Energy egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp water)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in mortar
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper
- Rocket salad
- In a large bowl, soak bread cubes in milk for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan and cook onions for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add them to the bread mixture.
- Finely chop red beets (I highly recommend using gloves) and add them to the bread mixture.
- Add flour, egg replacer, fennel seeds to the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients really well and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large pot with salted water.
- Form about 20 small dumplings out of the bread mixture and cook them in gently boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a little bit of olive oil in a large pan.
- Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the pan.
- Serve on a bed of rocket and garnish with black pepper. Or serve with warm fermented coleslaw.