Five-Ingredient Dinner: Hetty McKinnon’s Dumpling Salad

Hetty McKinnon's Dumpling Salad

The other night, I confronted a familiar dilemma: What can I make for an easy summer dinner that does not involve pots and pans and…cooking? Then I remembered a genius recipe…

The dumpling salad from Hetty McKinnon’s seminal cookbook To Asia With Love, which calls for store-bought dumplings, a mess of fresh greens, tomatoes, chilis, or scallions, and a punchy vinaigrette. That’s it! (“Gotta pat myself on the back for that one,” she said.)

When I read ‘store-bought dumplings,’ I remember thinking you can do that? but then quickly realized this was Hetty, who’s a master of flavor-bomb vegetarian meals (see also her newest cookbook: Tenderheart) and isn’t afraid to lean on a crutch to get us there. A few days later, I “made” the dinner for my family (it’s assembling more than cooking) and was instantly hooked. The best part? The short ingredient list, which officially qualifies the recipe to be first in our back-by-popular-demand five-ingredient dinner series.

Hetty McKinnon's Dumpling Salad

Hetty McKinnon’s Cold Dumpling Salad
Hetty is a big fan of Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza (pictured) but feel free to swap in your favorite. One 16-ounce bag of Trader Joe’s dumplings has about 16-18 dumplings. The salad is also good when the dumplings are cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.

20-25 dumplings of your choice
4 large handfuls fresh greens, such as romaine or bibb
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
tomatoes, any kind, but the best you can find
1 bunch scallions, finely minced
chili crisp (or even better, this chili crisp vinaigrette by Fly By Jing, which I love)

Steam dumplings according to package directions. While dumplings cook, toss greens with salt, pepper, tomatoes, scallions, and chili crisp (or chili crisp vinaigrette). Once the dumplings have cooled slightly, divide the salad into bowls, then top with dumplings. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette, if necessary.

Fyi, in the cookbook version, Hetty tops the salad with her ‘reliable dumpling sauce,’ which I’ve made so often I have it memorized: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1-inch fresh ginger (minced), 1 scallion (minced), 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds. But to streamline the recipe as much as possible, she suggests swapping in chili crisp or Fly By Jing’s chili crisp vinaigrette. That’s what gets this into five-ingredient territory.

*We aren’t counting olive oil, salt, or pepper in the ingredient total.

Thanks, as always, Hetty!

P.S. A Trader Joe’s breakfast hack and more five-ingredient dinners.

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