Making dumplings is a big tradition in my family. When I was young, my mother would wake me up early on Sunday mornings to make dumplings with her and my grandmother. We would spend an hour or two filling and shaping dumplings, and then cook them for brunch for the rest of the family.
It was a lot of work, but I always got first dibs on the freshly made dumplings!
Now that I live away from my family, I still try to keep that weekend dumpling-making tradition alive.
If you have never made dumplings before, these vegetable and cream cheese baked wontons are a great place to start. The filling comes together quickly and folding the dumplings is quite simple compared to other, more elaborate dumplings.
Plus, there's no deep-frying involved!
Store-bought wonton wrappers are so convenient. For this recipe, buy square-shaped wonton or dumpling wrappers. Technically, you could make the wontons with circular wrappers, but you won't get the same pyramid shape that you see in the photos.
Store-bought wrappers are usually dusted with flour or another starch to prevent them from sticking together in the package. I feel that once baked, this tends to make the wontons quite dry.
You can keep this from happening by brushing all the wontons with a thin layer of oil right before baking. You don’t need a lot of oil, just enough to moisten the wrapper on the outside. You can also use cooking spray to apply the layer of oil.
Because these wontons are baked (as opposed to deep-fried), most of the crunch will come from the golden brown “X” on the top of the wontons. Using whisked eggs to seal the "X" makes this part extra-crunchy!
These baked wontons taste great all on their own, but I have included a quick recipe for a soy sauce and vinegar dipping sauce that you can serve alongside, if you like. If you want something on the sweeter side, try a sweet chili sauce.
Baked Vegetable and Cream Cheese Wontons
To make wontons ahead: Freeze the unbaked wontons on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Do not refrigerate the wontons; the moisture from the vegetables will seep into the wonton wrappers and turn them into mush.) When you are ready to bake, brush or spray a thin layer of oil over the frozen wontons; do not thaw. Bake the frozen wontons at 400ºF for about 12 to 13 minutes.
- For the wontons:
- 4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (from a 1-inch piece of ginger)
- 5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (green cabbage is also ok)
- 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 1/3 cups grated)
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large egg
- 48 to 50 square wonton wrappers
- 4 1/2 to 5 ounces cream cheese
- For the dipping sauce (optional):
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Prepare the filling:
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until it starts to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the grated carrot, peas, scallions, salt and sesame oil and cook for another minute.
Turn off the heat and dish the vegetables onto a plate to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF:
Position an oven rack in the center position. Brush 2 large baking sheets with oil (1 tablespoon per pan), spray with cooking spray, or line with parchment. (Wontons baked on parchment won't get quite as crispy on the bottoms.)
Lightly beat an egg for the egg wash and set aside.
Fold the wontons:
Lay 4 wonton wrappers on a work surface. Place about a tablespoon of vegetable filling in the center of each wrapper. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on top of the vegetables.
Using your fingers, brush the egg wash along the edges of the wonton wrappers. Lift 2 opposite corners of the wrapper and pinch them together at the top. Lift the other two corners towards the top and pinch them against the first two corners to form a pyramid. Pinch edges of the wrapper together to seal the wonton closed.
Repeat with the other three wontons. Transfer the sealed wontons onto one of the sheet pans and cover loosely with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
Repeat filling and folding the wontons until you have filled a baking sheet with 24 to 25 sealed wontons. Remove the plastic wrap and brush a thin layer of oil on all of the wontons or spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 11 to 12 minutes:
or until the edges of the wontons are a deep golden brown color.
While the first batch of wontons is baking, prepare a second batch of wontons using the remaining filling:
Once the first batch is done baking, bake the second batch.
Let the wontons cool for a few minutes before serving. Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and serve with the warm wontons. These baked wontons are best consumed in the same day.