A great vegan recipe to share with a group of friends, and as a big carnivore I can safely say that the meat will not be missed with this one. The oats in the dumplings not only help to bind them without the use of egg, but also soak up all of the great flavour in the sauce and make the dish really hearty and filling with a great complex carbohydrate. Any vegetables that you like can be used, however I have opted for less root veg than in a traditional stew to allow for just how filling the dumplings are, and to keep the dish feeling Mediterranean and summery. Give it a go, I am certain you won’t be disappointed.
For the stew
- 1 red onion
- 250g okra
- 1 aubergine
- 250g mushrooms
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 medium sized courgette
- 1 sweet pepper
- 2 sticks celery
- 200g green olives
- 1 can of quality cherry tomatoes (or fresh peeled)
- 1 can of cannellini beans
- 200ml tomato passata
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
For the dumplings
- Up to 500g of porridge oats (added bit by bit until consistency is correct)
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 bunch of Spring onions
- Salt and pepper
1Roughly chop all of the vegetables, keeping the onions, celery and fennel separate from the rest. There is no need to finely chop anything as this will give your stew a good variety of texture.
2Heat a large pan over a medium to high heat with a little olive oil. Add the onions celery and fennel and sweat them down until they begin to caramelise, before adding the rest of the chopped veg to the pan.
3Add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and one of smoked paprika and a generous helping of black pepper and stir in, before adding the can of cherry tomatoes (save the can to one side) and your passata.
4Take your empty tomato can, add a vegetable stock cube to it and fill with boiling water. This will give you the perfect amount of stock needed and get all of the leftover tomato juices out at the same time. Winner.
5Add the stock to the pan, along with the cannellini beans and green olives and stir everything in the stew together.
Now transfer the stew to a large oven proof dish and with the back of a spoon push all of the vegetables to the bottom leaving a layer of liquid on top. This is important for cooking your dumplings, which will soak of all of the excess. Leave to one side
6Now to make the dumplings, take two cans of chick peas (saving around a third of one tin) add to a blender and blitz until smooth and then transfer to a mixing bowl.
7Add two teaspoons of cumin seeds, one of ground coriander, a generous teaspoon of salt and pepper, the zest of a lemon, the green tips of the spring onions finely chopped and the rest of the chick peas that you put to one side.
8Stir all of the ingredients together, and begin to add the porridge oats bit by bit until the mixture stiffens up just enough that you can form it into small golf ball sized dumplings. Depending on the density of the chick peas you use, different amounts of oats will be needed so best to go by feel rather than by a set amount.
9Set the dumplings out on top of the stew, leaving around 1cm gap between them to allow space for the to expand whilst cooking. Place the stew and dumplings into a pre heated oven at 180c for 30 minutes.
10Remove the stew from the oven and carefully flip the dumplings over to expose the moist underneath to the surface and then place back into the oven for a further 30mins. This turning process will ensure that the dumpling cook evenly and do not dry out on one side.
11After 30 minutes remove the stew and dumplings from the oven, sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and serve with fresh focaccia bread and a green salad.