Kale and herb dumplings in broth

This is the kind of hearty and warming food I want to eat on cold days when I’m under the weather. Feel free to substitute the vegetable stock for chicken or beef, if you prefer, but don’t use stock cubes: they’re too salty. And, of course, you can use gluten-free bread instead of sourdough.

6 people

Serving size


1½ litres vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g kale, thick stems discarded, leaves and thinner stems roughly chopped (150g net weight)
1 small banana shallot, peeled and quartered lengthways
2 spring onions, quartered
½ garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 lemon -zest finely grated, to get ½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tsp
10g dill, finely chopped
5g chives, finely chopped
5g tarragon leaves, finely chopped
80g ricotta
60g feta, roughly broken into 2cm pieces
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
60g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs 
(about 2 slices, crusts removed)
30g plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil, to serve


  1. In a large saucepan for which you have a lid, bring the stock and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-high, then blanch the kale for four minutes, until soft. Drain the kale in a sieve set over a bowl until cool enough to handle, then squeeze with your hands to get rid of any liquid. Return the liquid to the stock pot.

  2. While the kale is cooling, add the shallot, spring onions and garlic to the stock, simmer on a medium-high heat for 15 minutes, then discard the shallot and spring onions, and turn off the heat.

  3. Finely chop the kale and put it in a bowl with the lemon zest and juice, herbs, both cheeses, the nutmeg, egg, breadcrumbs, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and stir to combine.

  4. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread the flour on a large plate. Roll the kale mixture into 12 balls weighing about 30g each (dip your hands in water from time to time, to prevent sticking). The balls should be quite compact, so roll them tightly, and put them on the tray as you go. Next, roll each ball in the flour a couple of times, applying pressure so they’re very well coated.

  5. Return the stock to a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium, gently lower in the dumplings, cover and cook for four to five minutes, until they swell and float to the top.

  6. Divide the broth and dumplings between four bowls, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, drizzle over the oil and serve piping hot.