Vegan friendly recipe: Canederli (dumplings) from bread & spinach

It's veganuary, or didn't you know?

Ever tried canederli?

I’m a big fan of dumplings, in particular the Wagamama kind whenever I get to Dublin or Cork. These ones are a little different. Think the Italian answer to knödel as bread dumplings found traditionally in the north east of Italy.

In the past they would have been regarded as something of a poor man’s food, made with stale bread and a little milk to moisten things up for the cooking.

If you’re following a Veganuary drive (going vegan for January) or you’re looking to up your plant-based or vegan eating habits, this one could be for you.

The ingredients should be fairly accessible and the steps are pretty straight forward. You’ll find a vegan friendly recipe here every Monday for the month of January.

The following is a guest recipe from the Vegan Society.

Canederli (Dumplings)

A vegan-friendly version of a traditional Italian dish in Canederli (boiled dumplings)

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Chico Francesco


  • 40 g dried Italian bread
  • 50 ml vegan milk
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 30 g spinach cooked, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 7 g parsley finely chopped
  • 25 g wheat flour


  1. Break the bread into small pieces and pour just enough milk to moisten the bread. Set aside.

  2. 2 Sauté the onions and add this to the bread together with the spinach, salt, pepper, nutmeg, oil and parsley.

  3. 3 Add just enough flour so that the mix holds together.

  4. 4 Form very compact balls slightly smaller than a golf ball in size and place them into a steamer.

  5. 5 Cover and allow to cook for 12 minutes. Remove and lightly sauté in olive oil.

Print Recipe

Don’t have access to a steamer or steaming basket? Here’s a few handy alternatives.

The important bit

This recipe was originally sent to me to mark World Vegan Month (November) and while the month has come and gone, January is a good time to revisit it.

Recipe copyright The Vegan Society, developed by Chico Francesco, London Vegetarian & Vegan School. Jo Brewer is the food stylist, photograph from Sue Hiscoe.

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