I’ve pretty much been a vegetarian for a year now (I think the anniversary of the last day I had meat was literally a few days ago!). It really wasn’t a difficult change for me as I didn’t eat very much meat anyway, and I was never a fan of cooking with it due to the whole raw thing. One major difference I’ve noticed is that I eat out WAY less than I used to and therefore end up cooking quite a bit more.
There are so many yummy non-meat things to eat that I rarely miss it. When I do, it’s usually chicken that I crave most. Despite how bad it is for you, I occasionally find myself with a crazy craving for Chick Fil-A. Ugh…SO good, yet so bad. It’s like everyday is Sunday.
Most of all, I miss my grandma’s chicken ‘n dumplings. I grew up with them, and no other versions have compared. Most dumplings are usually biscuits thrown on top of the soup, but my grandma’s are actually strips of dough cooked in the soup. The result is this dense, almost chewy texture that I love.
Years ago, my grandma gave me the family recipe. We made it together, and then I made it again at home for my family. My sister texted me last week saying that she was craving Grandma’s chicken ‘n dumplings. I then found out that she hadn’t had them in 22 years (!!!), which makes sense because that’s about how long she’s been a vegetarian. I had been meaning to try to make a veggie-friendly version for awhile, and that was enough motivation to get me going! The next day I did it, and sent her home with plenty of leftovers. :)
Veggies ‘n Dumplings
adapted from my family’s Chicken ‘n Dumplings recipe
This is essentially vegetable soup with dumplings, which is exactly what I was going for – I didn’t want to add tofu or any meat substitute to make up for the chicken, but feel free. I think what really makes it taste similar to my grandma’s is that the only seasoning is salt and pepper. She never puts any herbs in it (though you totally could), which is why I think a good broth is key. Also, the dumpling recipe really is like that…it will bother you if you feel like you need super specific amounts, but just go with it. :)
2 quarts good-tasting vegetable broth
1 medium onion, diced
1 large potato, cubed (I left the skin on)
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper to taste
3 half eggshells milk (about 3 tablespoons)
¼ cup or less of oil
½ teaspoon of salt
flour, as required (I used a little less than 2 1/2 cups total)
for the soup: in a large soup pot, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Bring down to a simmer and let cook while you work on the dumplings.
for the dumplings: in a medium bowl, beat eggs well. Whisk in milk, salt, and oil. Add flour to form a ball (I added by 1/4 cups and used about 2 cups). On a floured surface, knead the ball in flour, turning until mixture is no longer sticky. Roll out the dough on the flour until the dough is approximately ¼” thick or less. Cut the mixture into 1″ to 1½” strips approximately ½” wide. A pizza cutter is perfect for this. Cover the strips lightly with flour; wipe off the excess. Place the strips into the soup over medium heat for fifteen minutes, partially covered. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir occasionally. Uncover and cook for an additional fifteen minutes, over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
This would be especially awesome when you’ve got a cold. Who needs chicken noodle soup? :)