Oven-Baked Lentil Dumplings with Sunflower Dandelion Pesto

Here’s something fun for the summer that is based mostly on ingredients indigenous to the Americas, as well as ingredients which are relatively low-impact in terms of carbon emissions and water use. I mostly cook by sight (sorry), so use proportions to taste.

Steph Tai



  • Store-bought Asian dumpling wrappers
  • Dried red lentils (soaked at least four hours)
  • Finely diced onions
  • Finely diced garlic
  • Finely diced tomatoes
  • Sunflower oil
  • Allspice
  • Chili powder (at your preferred spice level)
  • Salt


  • Dandelion greens
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Olive oil


  1. Boil the soaked red lentils for at least 20 minutes (or until tender), and then cool.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic in sunflower oil until browned, then add tomatoes and continue to brown until the consistency is a light paste.
  3. Add the red lentils and mix with allspice, chili powder, and salt, and continue to brown until the texture is not too wet for a dumpling filler.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a baking sheet.
  5. To make each dumpling, use your fingers to brush the edges of each dumpling wrapper with water. Then, put some of the lentil filling into the dumpling and fold and form a half circle. Crimp the edges to help the wrapper stick together. Repeat for each dumpling.
  6. Either lightly toss the dumplings in sunflower oil or use spray sunflower oil.
  7. Put the dumplings on the baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F on one side for 10 minutes, and then flip and bake for another 15 minutes (this may vary with your oven, so really just watch until both sides are browned).
  8. For the pesto, lightly blanch the dandelion greens (about 15 seconds at most in boiling water). Remove, drain, then puree in a food processor with sunflower seeds, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil to taste.