Crispy tempeh-stuffed dumplings with bean chili are a hearty vegan meal

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen isn’t to invent new recipes but to reinvent classics I grew up eating. Instead of creamy chicken and dumpling soup, I whipped up an entirely vegan take on that fall and winter classic, made with three beans, rice and my new favorite, tempeh!

For those who don’t know, tempeh is an all-soy-based protein that comes in a big block. Unlike tofu, it’s hard (and doesn’t need to be pressed) and is the perfect substitute for ground meat in many recipes. For this one, I crumbled and stuffed it into crispy fried dumplings, which make the perfect flavor and texture complement to this hearty three-bean chili soup.

Crispy tempeh stuffed dumplings with hearty bean soup

Crispy tempeh-stuffed dumplings with hearty bean chili soup recipe

Serves 4


For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5-6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill whole grains and beans soup mix
  • Salt and pepper

For the dumplings

  • 3/4 cup warm water, 110 degrees F
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Dash salt
  • Oil, for frying

For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 1/2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the broth (start with 5 cups), and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Add in the soup mix.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 70 minutes or until the beans are softened. Add in the remaining broth, and heat for another 10 to 15 minutes. Mix in some salt and pepper.
  3. While the soup cooks, prepare the dumpling dough by mixing together the yeast, sugar and water until the yeast bubbles. Mix in the flour and salt. Move the dough to a hard, floured surface, and knead with floured hands until the dough is soft and elastic.
  4. Place the dough ball into an oiled bowl, and coat the dough ball with the oil. Top the bowl with a damp cloth, and place it in a warm spot so the dough can double in size, about 60 minutes.
  5. While the dough rises, prepare the filling by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, tempeh, zucchini and mushrooms, and cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, and punch it down. Place the dough onto a floured surface, and form it into a large circle. Separate the circle into 6 smaller, even-sized dough balls.
  7. Roll out each dough ball to about 1/4 inch thick, and scoop about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the tempeh mixture into the center. Bring the edges around the filling, and press with your fingers to close. Pinch the seams shut. Repeat until all the dumplings have been made.
  8. In a large wok, heat some oil. Add the dumplings (2 to 3 at a time), and cook until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, and place them into a paper towel-lined basket.
  9. To serve the soup, pour it into 4 bowls, and add 1 to 2 dumplings per bowl. Garnish with shredded vegan Parmesan.

More vegan comfort food recipes

Quick and easy low-cal vegan comfort food
Tempeh Reuben sandwich
Vegan grilled cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwich