Air-fried, plant-based dumplings


  • 1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup kale, shredded
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 rice paper wrappers
  • Toasted sesame seeds and spring onions for garnish


  1. Set your air-fryer to around 180 degrees C and allow it to preheat while you prepare the filling.
  2. Saute the vegetables until they are soft, add the cornstarch, tamari and five-spice powder. Mix well and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Soak the rice paper wrappers, one at a time, and add around 2 large tablespoons of filling to the center. Fold the edges of the wrapper over so that it makes a neat square-shaped parcel. Repeat until all of the filling is used.
  4. Place the dumpling into a pre-warmed air-fryer and allow to cook for around 10 minutes, or until crunchy on the outside.
  5. Garnish with some toasted sesame seeds and finely sliced spring onion and enjoy with some hoisin sauce.

The health benefits

We all know that deep-fried foods are fatty, calorie-dense and not good for our waistlines. But did you know that the process of frying in oil produces toxic compounds (aldehydes) that can be carcinogenic and promote neurodegenerative diseases? And the more often oils are reused the greater these health risks become. Many vegetable oils are highly processed, loaded with pro-inflammatory omega 6’s and devoid of nutrients and fibre. It’s better that we consume fats from whole food ingredients like nuts, seeds and olives than eating the extracted oils.

Eating whole plant foods in their natural form not only makes you feel fuller for longer but supplies all of the cells in your body with the nutrients they need to thrive. The fibre in whole foods also feeds our gut microbiome which is essential for good health and mental wellbeing.

Cooking without oils is easy when you have an air-fryer. If you don’t have one, borrow one. If you can’t do that, then a good non-stick pan and a hot oven are just as good. This recipe produces a crunchy, satisfying dumpling that doesn’t contain a drop of oil. And this means you can eat more of the good stuff!

The ingredients

In this recipe I’ve just used fresh vegetables, chopped and sauteed these in a non-stick pan and added a little tamari and Chinese five-spice powder for flavour. You can fill them however with any ingredient you like. Crumbled tofu, rice noodles and even potato would make a delicious filling. I’ve even made them with apples and cinnamon!

The method

Wrapping the filling in rice paper wrappers can be a little fiddly but you’ll get the hang of it after the first one. I just placed some of the filling in the middle of the softened wrapper, folded the edges over so that they form a squarish shape. Try to roll and fold them in such a way that no sides are only one layer thick. Place them in a pre-warmed air-fryer and blast them with the hot air. They will become crispy and brown very quickly so keep an eye on them! If you do use a frying pan or a conventional oven, make sure that the surface is non-stick.

The verdict

These tasty little parcels are a game-changer. Crunchy, satiating and all without a drop of oil. Even the kids will love them!

Nutritional values

Air-fried, plant-based dumplings (each)

Calories: 60 | Protein: 8 g | Carbohydrates: 50 g | Fat: 2.8 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Fibre: 1.5 g | Iron: 0.4 g | Calcium: 26 mg

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