Vegetarian Chicken and Dumplings is so easy it can be made in 30 minutes, and so creamy, rich, and satisfying you won’t even notice that there is no actual meat in it!
I feel like the past 17 months have been full of one big change after the other. My son, of course, was born 17 months ago, so every parent out there knows what that transition is like. And then I found that working a full time job shut up in an office with no windows, and paying half my salary in child care to someone else to care for my child, was so utterly abhorrent that I was soul sick.
So I quit my job, and went back to adjunct teaching.
Now I pay for a little child care, and get to be in the classroom, which I love. I genuinely like teaching freshman composition. I like working with students who start the year as teenagers, and finish the semester as adults. It’s a remarkable, fast transition, and I feel privileged to get to not only witness the profound changes, but to help mold those transitions.
But adjuncting is not the most lucrative of careers, and there is frequently a shortage of classes in the spring semester.
It’s a frustrating cycle, and one I hope will be remedied in the not too distant future. I was lucky enough to get some work this spring, but it’s not guaranteed.
So I am taking on some other work from home, and that means my family’s schedule is about to get BUSY again.
Which is why I decided to put this Vegetarian Chicken and Dumplings Recipe up on the blog now.
To me, it is basically a hug in a bowl.
Growing up, chicken and dumplings was one of my favorite meals. It was one of the only meals I would willingly eat meat in.
My grandmother made the best chicken and dumplings.
My grandmother and I were very close. She was a great cook, but didn’t do it much after my grandfather died. But if I asked for chicken and dumplings, she’d make it for me.
I have a vivid, slice of a memory of sitting at the counter in the kitchen digging into a bowl of chicken and dumplings and counting frogs on the window pane.
We lived in Florida, and my grandmother’s house was separated from a large lake only by the train.
Every night, when the lights in the house would come on we could watch little green tree frogs, bright colorful grasshoppers, and other insects climbing the big glass pane windows. Moths would flutter and thump against the glass, and, for a while, an owl also came to visit every evening at dusk.
It would sit in a tree right outside our living room window, and seemed to divide his time by watching us, and watching the things out there, in the night. I thought then, and think now, that huge gray owl was as fascinated by use as we were by him.
As a young child I was fascinated by these bright, harmless frogs, and my grandmother would frequently pluck one from the window and try to get me to hold it.
Sometimes I would, but mostly I liked to cling to her arm while it hopped about. After a few minutes we’d release it back into the hot, humid night.
So when I think of chicken and dumplings, it is this I think of.
I think of being safe and cool and bright inside behind the big glass windows with my grandmother, innocently fascinated by the hot wet world outside.
Our family was a spoon drop dumplings family.
Now that I’m older I know there are a lot of different kinds of dumplings out there, and I like many of them.
But spoon drop dumplings are all of the nostalgia for me.
I adored dumplings growing up. Now, I know how rich they are, and I know this isn’t a meal we should be indulging in often. In fact, in the decade I’ve been vegetarian, I have not eaten dumplings.
If you get them out in a restaurant they are just not going to be vegetarian. And when I was single – well, I certainly wasn’t going to make a pot of these just for myself.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge on occasion. And, when I discovered my British husband had never had these – well, I knew it was time.
And friends, my husband is IN LOVE with these vegetarian chicken and dumplings. He even asked me to make them for his upcoming birthday.
Which is fine by me! I may make a pot of vegetarian chicken and dumplings for my birthday this summer too!
These vegetarian chicken and dumplings are seriously so easy.
I had the entire meal ready in 30 minutes, but it makes enough that we were able to eat from this one meal for at least three dinners and two lunches. I kept our portions reasonable by pairing it with a salad. This is hearty, creamy, and comforting, so even with a one cup portion it still was filling and delicious.
And I see lots of possibilities, actually.
I packed this pot full of carrots and peas. In another round, I actually added in some fennel. I will actually put in a ton of broccoli and kale next time, along with carrots.
Colorful food is good for you! Kind of lol.
In any case, this Vegetarian Chicken and Dumplings recipe is easily adaptable for added vegetables to fill it out and add in a bit more nutrition.
That said, I think it’s fine to just INDULGE every now and again.
My philosophy going forward is all about living life to the fullest. Making healthy choices most of the time and sweating in the gym, and NOT sweating not over sharing a cookie with your little one. Or a donut date with your husband.
That’s a thing everyone does right? 😉
I did use Beyond Meat Vegan Chicken Strips in this, but honestly, it doesn’t need it. You can use whatever meat substitute you like, or even just omit it entirely. The no chicken bouillon provides a rich, hearty chicken flavor without actually having any chicken in it at all, so it’s really up to you!
30 Minute Vegetarian Chicken and Dumplings
- 4 Carrots Diced You want about 1 cup. I used fresh, but you could also use frozen.
- 2 Stalks Celery, Diced About 1/2 cup
- 1 Whole Large Yellow Onion, diced About 1 cup - may use more or less to taste
- 1 Cup Frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs rosemary optional
- 3 tablespoons No Chicken Bouillon
- 6 Cups Water
- 3 cups milk (for the stock/base)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (for the stock/base)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (for the dumplings mixture)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk (for the dumplings)
- In a large stock pot, saute, onions, celery, and carrots if using fresh carrots, until soft.
- Add garlic and saute for one minute, until lightly toasted.
- Add water, and no chicken bouillon and bring to a simmer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups of milk and 1 cup of all purpose flour.
- Slowly, adding no more than 1/4 cup at a time, add the milk and flour mixture to the pot, stirring to combine. This will begin to make your soup thicker and creamier.
- Add peas and carrots if using frozen and return to a simmer.
- In a separate bowl, combine remaining milk, flour, baking powder, and salt to make the dough for your dumplings.
- Using a 1/2 tablespoon scoop, drop the dough into the pot a spoonful at a time until it has all been added.
- Stir in two sprigs of fresh rosemary. May use more or less to taste.
- Continue to cook at a low simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the soup has reached your desired consistency. The longer you simmer, the thicker it will be - but remember that the leftovers will get even thicker, so be careful how long you simmer here.