Cauliflower dumplings might sound, well, strange, but I promise you that this recipe will be a pleasant surprise, especially for anyone out there craving a Chicken & Dumpling soup made with whole ingredients and without gluten or dairy.
During my squeaky clean Paleo days, I really missed chewy dumplings in a creamy chicken soup come fall. Both of these things can be difficult to achieve in a diet that omits grains, gluten, and dairy.
And while cauliflower has proven to be a magical substitute for both flour and cream, sometimes that sulfuric smell is just too much to handle. The trick is knowing how to calm that down and emphasize other flavors that make the cauliflower work for you and not against you…
Here’s why I think you’ll like this recipe.
This is the affordable way to make the bread-like component you’re missing. Almond flour-based recipes can be really expensive (not to mention that if you’re taking a Paleo approach to your diet, all of those nuts can actually be problematic). So you’re saving money right off the bat, which I love… you love… everyone loves.
Beyond creating a dough alternative, cauliflower also provides the base for our creamy soup texture and flavor. Pureeing florets that cook right in the chicken (or turkey) stock with salt, pepper, and dried thyme helps neutralize any strong flavors or odors and brings forward a savory base that suits the soup.
By pulsing the cauliflower to a rice-like texture first, then steaming and straining with a cheesecloth, something incredible happens. All the moisture leaves the cauliflower (and with it a lot of the strong flavor), and what remains honestly feels like masa flour.
Then by mixing the strained cauliflower with an egg and the flours, you’ll get a kneadable and moldable dough!
That’s right… it’s cauliflower dough.
I sure hope I haven’t lost you at this point.
Knead and press into a half-inch thick square, then divide into nine sections to get low-carb, nut-free, budget-friendly dumpling dough!
The cauliflower dumplings are placed atop creamy chicken (or turkey) soup and steamed to cook, just like with traditional flour-based dumplings. They come out chewy and flavorful and absolutely check the box.
So there you have it. A gluten-free, grain-free, budget-friendly way to make a creamy chicken soup with cauliflower dumplings.
Did you have a chance to make this recipe?
How did you like the cauliflower dumplings? Did you customize the soup at all? Let’s swap ideas in the comments below.
For the Soup
- 1 head cauliflower, divided
- 2 cups cooked chicken (or turkey) chopped or shredded
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 cup celery diced
For the Dumplings
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Place the leftover roasted chicken (or turkey) into a Dutch oven (or a large stock pot with lid) with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce temperature to simmer.
- Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the water becomes a flavorful broth and the chicken falls off the bone.
- Remove the chicken from the stock, separate the usable meat from the bones and skin; discard the bones and skin. Set the meat aside. Bring the stock back to a boil and reduce volume to two cups.
- Divide the head of cauliflower in half. Chop one half into florets.
- When the broth has reduced to about two cups, add the florets to the pot and season with thyme and coarse sea salt.
- Cover and simmer the seasoned cauliflower florets until very tender (about 10 minutes).
- While the florets simmer, break down the other half of cauliflower and load into a food processor. Pulse until a fine rice-like texture is achieved. You may find that working in batches is helpful.
- Transfer the grain-like bits into a microwave-safe bowl, cover and steam in a microwave for 4 to 6 minutes or until very well cooked. Allow to cool to nearly room temperature.
- Once the cauliflower florets are cooked down in the Dutch oven, use an immersion blender to puree with the chicken stock to create a creamy soup base. (If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy)
- Add the diced carrots, celery, and the additional two cups of chicken stock to the pot. Season with addition salt and black pepper to taste.
- Simmer at medium-low temperature until celery and carrots have softened.
- While the soup simmers, prepare the cauliflower dumplings.
- Working in small batches, spoon portions of the rice-like cauliflower into a cheesecloth, wrap completely, and twist hard to wring out all the moisture. This step is very important. If done correctly, the cauliflower will resemble masa flour.
- Place the strained cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, tapioca flour, and coconut flour, plus the 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Combine with a rubber spatula first in the bowl, then turn out onto a work surface and knead for about one minute (or until it becomes a smooth cohesive dough).
- Shape dough into a square that's approximately 1/2 inch thick and use a knife to divide into 9 equal squares. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
- By now the carrots and celery should have softened. If so, add the reserved chicken (or turkey) to the soup. Stir and make any final adjustments to seasonings.
- Gently place the cauliflower dumplings atop the soup, allowing them to float at the surface. I like to add a couple more grinds of black pepper on top of the dumplings at this stage for a little more seasoning to the dumplings.
- Cover the Dutch oven, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. This will steam the dumplings.
- Remove the lid, serve portions of Chicken Soup with Cauliflower Dumplings into bowls and finish with thinly sliced scallions and/or chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.