• Alessandra DeNardo

Carb-Free Cabbage Dumplings

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

These are an Asian-flavored ‘dumpling’ but rather than a wonton wrapper, I used cabbage. I don’t know the name in Italian, but we also stuff cabbage (again flavored differently). I wanted to use Asian flavors because I love them and they belong with dumplings. For my filling, I used a ‘meatless’ alternative (one of those Morningstar frozen things), and 1 can of black beans. However, I would suggest 1 package of tofu, 1 Lb ground pork, or 1 Lb ground chicken as filling options, up to you. You could keep the black beans if you like or omit. I also wish that I included mushrooms, so if you have, I would definitely dice up, cook to remove water, then add.


  • 1 head of green cabbage

  • 1 can black beans

  • ‘protein’ filling of choice

  • 2 TSP fish sauce

  • 2 TBSP sesame oil

  • 2 TBSP soy sauce (more or less depending on your tolerance to salt)…

  • generous chopping of scallions, basil, and cilantro (all fresh please!)

  • garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper

For side-sauces

  • 1 part soy to 1 part lime juice, dash of water, chopped scallions, red pepper

  • 2 parts mayo to 1 part lemon juice, garlic powder

Steaming cabbage so it can be rolled up!


  1. Boil a pot of water. When boiling, add the entire head of cabbage and steam for 30 seconds.

  2. Remove and add to a bowl of ice water. Cut out the core of the cabbage and take off the leaves (as well as you can). Do your best to keep them whole, once they stop being an entire ‘leaf’, you can stop and save the core for something else.

  3. Once leaves are removed, steam leaves again for 2-3 min until beginning to get soft and put to side. Let cool.

  4. Begin to make your filling. If you are using black beans, add them to a bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon until mostly broken down. Add fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce. Mix. Add all herbs/spices.

  5. Begin to roll up your ‘dumplings’. Put large tbsp of filling in lower center of leaf. Roll over once and fold in sides. Roll over again.

  6. Once you make all your dumplings, steam for 5-10 min in a frying pan (add small amount of water to bottom and cover). Add some sesame seeds.

  7. In a separate pan, add sesame oil and get hot. Sear/brown each cabbage roll. It may spray oil/water at first from the water hitting the pan, but it will work. Just be careful. Flip each one so brown on both sides, feel free to add more sesame seeds so they toast on the outside.

  8. IF YOU ARE USING REAL MEAT, steam for at least 10 min and fry for at least 5, making sure to flip over.

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