steamed baozi dumplings in steamer with thyme on side

Healthy Dumpling Options for the New Year

The dumpling is a rather versatile dish that is the staple of different cultures all across the world.  Though its origins can be traced to China, there have been a number of variations created in different countries based on local tastes and improvisations. As we get settled into the new year, it is time to look at how to make traditional dumplings healthier.   

Steamed Shanghai Soup Dumplings

These dumplings have soup in them and are incredibly tasty. They are called xiaolongbao and come from the Jiangnan region of China. However, they are typically connected with the city of Shanghai, hence the popular name. They are a steamed dumpling with a thin wrapping that has a filling of pork and hot flavored soup. We can make this offering healthier by using less sugar, replacing pork with less fatty meat and using lighter sauces for the dip. 

Kale and Edamame Dumplings in Simple Dipping Sauce

These dumplings are an improvement on the gyoza that are available at sushi and steakhouse outlets in Japan.  While gyoza are usually made with a meat or vegetable filling, the kale and edamame dumplings are made using these two vitamin-rich veggies as the main ingredients. The iron in the kale and the proteins in the edamame make this dish filling and nutritious. The dumplings are steamed rather than fried, and the sauce is made up of tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar and chipotle powder, all stirred together to make a delectable concoction.

Cauliflower, Potato and Cheddar Pierogi 

To make this dish healthier, we can add cauliflower, spinach, kale or broccoli to replace the potatoes and cheese. We can also steam or boil the pierogi instead of frying them. Serving the dish on top of a bed of greens will complete the health benefits. 

Garden Veggie and Ravioli Skillet 

We can turn this Italian meal into a healthy one by using homemade pistachio butter for the sauce. Add the pistachios, lemon zest and herbs into the pasta. Then top it off with extra virgin olive oil. You can even try your hand at zucchini ravioli, which is a better and healthier option.

Whole Wheat Steamed Pork Buns

Steamed pork buns are soft bites filled with barbecued pork. You can make it healthier by reducing the honey and sugar content, adding shredded cabbage and substituting ground chicken for pork. Replacing whole wheat flour for the white variety makes the buns healthier too.

Veggie Pot Pie Pasties 

You can make these healthier by replacing the meat and gravy mixture with a filling made from veggies. Using whole wheat pastry dough and shredded chicken would be good options to consider.

Gluten-Free Beef and Chorizo Empanadas

These are tremendously popular in Spain, Argentina, Portugal and South American countries. They are filled to the brim with flavorful ingredients and fried till crispy. Using almond flours and a mix of cheeses with a chorizo filling will make it a low carb wonder.


We have looked at dumplings from different parts of the world and discussed how they can be made healthier. If you adopt these strategies, you are sure to enjoy your meal no matter what part of the world you are in. 

If you’d like to brush up on your dumpling making skills, grab your friends and join one of our dumpling parties at Patty Chen’s Dumpling School!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *