These Squash and Leek Dumplings Are the Perfect Vegetarian Dish for the Holidays

These squash, rosemary, and leek dumplings deserve a spot on your holiday table. Not only are they vegetarian, but putting them together can be a fun activity for the whole family.
Squash, rosemary, and leek dumplings with a ginger dipping sauce.
Squash, rosemary, and leek dumplings with a ginger dipping sauce. / Institute of Culinary Education

While American Thanksgiving is associated with a traditional menu, there’s more flexibility around the dinner table during the winter holidays. The season is a time for honoring old traditions and experimenting with new ones. If you’re looking for a festive recipe that involves the whole family, consider making these vegetable dumplings for your next holiday gathering. 

These dumplings from the Institute of Culinary Education swap the meat for seasonal, vegetarian ingredients like rosemary, butternut squash, and leeks. To make the filling, start by cubing and roasting the squash in a 375° F oven for 20 minutes. Once it’s had a chance to cool, blend it in a food processor until smooth. Next, sweat thinly sliced leeks together with minced garlic for about three to five minutes and add minced ginger at the end. Combine the sautéed vegetables with sesame oil, mirin, lemon juice, and the pureed squash in a medium bowl.

You can progress through the remainder of the recipe yourself, or you can recruit your loved ones to help you at this point. Wrapping dumplings as a family for your holiday meal is the perfect precursor to unwrapping presents. “Usually, dumplings are something that the family gets together to do,” ICE chef-instructor Chayanin Pornsriniyom tells Mental Floss. “So points to you if you can get all your friends and family to make dumplings together.” 

After filling your dumplings in wonton wrappers, pan fry them in oil on each side until golden brown. Serve with ginger dipping sauce for an extra dose of warming, holiday flavors. 

With campuses in New York and Los Angeles, the Institute of Culinary Education offers cooking and hospitality management classes at various skill levels. In addition to their career training programs, they provide continued education to professionals already working in the culinary world. To learn more recipes like the one below, you can check out the school’s curricula here.

Rosemary, Squash, and Leek Dumplings with Ginger Sauce

Yields: 25 dumplings

1 1⁄2 pounds butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely minced
6 ounces leeks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1⁄2 teaspoon mirin
1 tablespoon lemon juice

25 wonton wrappers
1/4 cup oil

Ginger Sauce
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 ounce ginger, julienned
2 teaspoons scallion, thinly sliced

  1. Heat oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, combine the squash, 2 tablespoons olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Transfer the squash to a parchment-lined half sheet pan and roast 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
  2. When cool, transfer the squash to food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Sweat the leeks and garlic until tender, about 3–5 minutes. Add minced ginger.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl and add sesame oil, mirin, lemon juice, and pureed squash. Mix to combine and season to taste.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of a wonton skin. Lightly brush the outer edge of the wonton wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper in half to form a half moon, pinching the edges together. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling.
  6. In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat 1⁄4 cup oil on medium-high. Add 6–7 wontons at a time and pan fry each side until golden brown, about 3–4 minutes a side.
  7. Whisk and combine all dipping sauce ingredients in small bowl and serve with dumplings.