Healthy Dumplings Made With Olive Oil Instead Of Suet {Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly}

Dumplings, savoury scone-like balls, are great to serve with stew instead of potatoes. You can cook them in the same pot as the stew which saves washing up as well. I have only very recently discovered the delights of dumplings, having been put off by the name for many years!

Healthy Dumplings Made without Suet and with olive oil instead .jpg

Dumplings are traditionally made with flour, suet (hard animal fat) and water. We're trying to cut down on our saturated fat intake so I tried making dumplings without suet, using olive oil, milk and some dried herbs. They tasted delicious with stew and the kids really enjoyed them as well.

Healthy Dumplings Made without suet and beef stew.jpg

Dumplings are quick, easy to make and ridiculously cheap. The uncooked dumplings are placed on top of your cooked stew and baked in the oven. I believe you can cook dumplings on the hob, but I have never tried doing it that way. You can also bake them directly on a baking tray for a more crispy, scone-like dumpling.

Here's a little dumpling related tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver. Dumplings soak up quite a bit of moisture, so if your stew looks dry, stir in a mug of boiling water before you add you dumplings.

Beef stew topped with healthy dumplings made with olive oil.jpg

I served these dumplings with my easy & healthy beef stew but they would also work well with this Italian bean stew for a vegetarian / vegan friendly option. If you like these healthy dumplings, you might like to try my easy beef cobbler recipe.

Healthy Dumplings Made With Olive Oil Instead Of Suet {Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly}

  • Makes: 12 dumplings / 4 servings

  • Time: 10 mins prep + 30 mins cooking

  • Cost: 8p per serving

  • Calories: 299 per serving


  • 250g self-raising flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • Good pinch dried herbs e.g. thyme

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Splash of milk, soya milk or water


  1. Mix the flour, salt and thyme in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil and a little milk. Stir, the milk and the oil together while gradually incorporating the flour. Keep adding milk (or water) a little at a time to form a soft dough. Don't add too much milk or it will become sticky. If this happens, just add a little more flour.

  2. Tip the dough a little on a floured surface and shape into a rough sausage shape. Cut the dough into 12 evenly-sized pieces and gently form them into little balls. Be careful not to overwork the dough or you will end up with tough scones. Pop them on top of your cooked stew, ensuring there's enough liquid (see notes). Press the dumplings down a little so they are half submerged in the stew.

  3. Pop the lid back on the casserole dish (or if you prefer crispy, golden dumplings like me leave the lid off) and cook your dumplings and stew in the oven at 180 C / 160 fan / gas mark 4 for around 25 - 30 minutes until the dumplings have swollen.