1 cup all purpose flour (see note 1)
1 tsp baking powder (see note 2)
¾ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut milk (or melted vegan butter/neutral oil)
⅓ – ½ cup warm water
1 medium sweet or yellow onion, diced
3 ribs celery, sliced thinly
3 medium carrots, sliced thinly
3-4+ (to taste) cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup baby spinach or other greens
1 15-oz can (or 1 ½ cups) butter beans (or beans of choice)
4 cups vegetable broth (see note 3) + 2 cups water
1 tsp dried Italian herbs blend
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ – ⅓ cup canned coconut milk (see note 4)
Make the dumpling dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a spoon or spatula to make a well in the center and pour in the canned coconut milk (or melted vegan butter/oil) and warm water. Mix well until a sticky dough forms. If it won’t come together, add a bit more warm water. If it’s really sloshy and wet, sprinkle in a bit more flour. This is a pretty forgiving dough. When it’s thick and somewhat sticky, cover it with a kitchen towel and set it aside.
Saute the veggies: Heat a large, wide pot over medium high heat. If you don’t like to cook with oil like me, add your onions, carrots, celery, and a few tablespoons of water to the pot and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent (you can of course use oil if you prefer). Add water a splash at a time if the veggies start to stick. Now add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the spices after that and stir them constantly for just a minute, until fragrant.
Bring to a boil: Now add the mushrooms, broth, any extra water, and the beans and bring everything to boil. Unless you’re using harder veggies like potatoes that are not very finely sliced (like the carrots and celery), you should be ready for the next step.
Make and add the dumplings: Using a spoon (I like to use a smaller spoon), grab a small amount of dumpling dough. Keep in mind they will puff up, so grab less than you think you need. The perfect size for me was about 2 – 2 ½ teaspoons of dough. Push it off your spoon carefully into the broth. It’s ok to dip your spoon into the liquid to coax it off. Repeat with the rest of the dough, giving the dumplings a little breathing room in the pot. It’s OK if they touch after 30 seconds or so, but in that initial dunk they can stick a little, so just give them a little time.
Simmer: Simmer the dumplings on medium high heat for about 10-12 minutes. If your dumplings are bigger, they’ll need a little longer to cook. Remove one, cut it in half, and give it a taste. Try not to overcook your dumplings, as they may become hard.
Add the spinach and coconut milk: If your dumplings are ready, stir in the baby spinach and then the coconut milk until the spinach has wilted and the soup is nice and creamy. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy! I like to grind a little black pepper on top and sprinkle on a little fresh parsley.
Store: To store the vegan stew and dumplings: I recommend removing the dumplings from the soup and storing them separately. This will keep them from getting as hard. When you reheat, you can combine them in your bowl and microwave them or heat in a small saucepan on the stovetop (on medium low) until desired temperature is reached.
The flour you use should be light enough to create a fluffy dumpling. I recommend unbleached all purpose flour. If you want to make this gluten-free, I recommend trying a good quality cup for cup flour, like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour or King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour. I’ve had lots of success in gluten-free cooking/baking with these brands.
Note 2: If you don’t have baking powder, you can use baking soda or omit it all together. The first time I tested this recipe I used baking soda, and the dumplings turned out but they were a bit dense. You can also completely omit it, but again, your dumplings may turn out a bit dense. Some people like dense dumplings and that’s totally cool too. But this recipe makes fluffy vegan soup dumplings, so if that’s your thing, pick up some baking powder before you try this recipe.
Note 3: My favorite vegetable broth is Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable Base–which you just mix with hot water. The Better Than Bouillon brand is much more economical than prepared broth, has better flavor in my personal opinion, and lasts forever in the fridge. I use 4 cups of broth and 2 cups of water because 6 cups of broth would be too salty and strong for me–but taste and adjust to your own preferences. Vegetable bouillon cubes or store bought broth will also work. You may want to add salt and pepper, more spices, or more herbs. Vegan chicken broth or even vegan beef broth will also work.
Note 4: In the soup, it’s totally optional but the creaminess the canned coconut milk adds to the final soup is so good. You can substitute cashew cream, vegan plain yogurt, or a thick non-dairy milk.