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Vareniki (Pierogies) Stuffed with Potato and Mushrooms. Vegan (VIDEO)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


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bowl with dumplings

At least once in your lifetime you have eaten or at least heard about Vareniki or another word for it Pierogies. As many of you know, I was born and raised in Ukraine, the country that is currently engaged in war and fighting in order to preserve its freedom.


Vareniki (Ukrainian Pierogi Recipe) is one of the best and most traditional comforting Eastern European dishes. Stuffed with savory or sweet fillings and wrapped in homemade dough, they’re easy to love by adults and children!

vareniki uncooked on a wooden board

This traditional Ukrainian dumpling recipe has been passed down through generations in my family. It uses simple, frugal ingredients, and makes enough to feed a small village.

me making vareniki

Being Ukrainian, my children are 1st Ukrainian Americans, but they have never actually lived in Ukraine, and I've not traveled back home since becoming a mom. Even though I am now an American citizen, my Ukrainian roots are a big part of my identity, and my family never lets me forget it. As the whole world is praying for peace for my precious homeland and many are evacuating, I secretly believe and desire for my children to visit Ukraine in the near future. I desire for my mom to meet my baby girl and someday maybe my boys will marry Ukrainian girls. We hope at least. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy being in my new homeland while introducing my family and all of you to Ukraine by sharing such special basic recipes like the one I am providing today!


ABOUT VEGAN DOUGH

This simple dough recipe is easy to make using your average bread dough ingredients: flour, water and oil. There are many recipes for this dish, and they usually consist of flour, eggs and dairy (butter, sour cream). But this type of dough has been made and used by my family during fasting days. Fasting is one of the major pillars of the Orthodox Church. Most Orthodox Christians in the old days fast for more than half the year - 210 days out of 365. While some fast longer than others, Coptic fasting ranges from intermittent fasting along with adhering to a mostly vegan diet but allowing for the consumption of shellfish. There are designated days in which fish with a backbone is allowed.

dough in my hands

Even though this dough is plant-based, don't worry it doesn't compromise the flavor. Pierogi (vareniki) dough, unlike Chinese wonton dough, is very soft and by not adding fat (eggs, butter) we compromise that loss with very warm water and oil and the result stays the same. The dough is very pleasant to work with and I promise you even if you are not following a vegan diet, you will enjoy working with this dough. Also, the combination of 2 colors, white and yellow, makes it even more visually appealing.

dumplings

ABOUT THE POTATO-MUSHROOM FILLING

piece of dough with potato-mushroom filling

For this recipe, you can use any type of mushroom, but I highly recommend using thin-skinned potatoes such as yellow potatoes, etc. I used a mix of red and yellow baby potatoes. These are great because they cook faster. I like to cook my potatoes with the skin on because it saves all the nutrients and cooked potatoes with skin also have lower glycemic index. It is win-win. Please save the skin after you peel and mash them, and by the way a potato ricer is the best tool for this assisting in separating the skins from the potato and have perfect consistency of potato filling.


Serving suggestions

Once the vareniki are cooked, they can be served right away or fried.

Sprinkling chopped dill or parsley on top of the cooked vareniki adds nice color and flavor. Another thing that I like to do is fry some onions with the leftover potato skins. These fried potato skins mimic the missing lardons.


IDEAS FOR THE FILLINGS (savory & sweet):

The beauty of a Vareniki recipe is that it can be filled with both savory and sweet fillings:

Here are some savory filling ideas:

  • Cabbage or sauerkraut

  • Sauteed onions and mushrooms

  • Organ meats

  • Pumpkin

  • Swiss chard and goat cheese

  • Peas and ham

  • Cooked meat, (such as pulled pork)

  • Potato and bacon

  • Beans

  • Buckwheat and caramelized onions

Here are some sweet filling ideas:

  • Cherry and semolina

  • Dried fruit and nuts

  • Poppy seeds and apple

  • Pumpkin and farmer's cheese

  • Farmer's cheese with vanilla and raisins

  • Chocolate and cherries

  • Strawberries

  • Tart cherries

  • Millet with vanilla and currants

  • Plums or apricots


MORE DUMPLINGS RECIPES:

blueberries dumplings
kimchi in a jar and pot stickers
dumplings and sour cream
dumplings and cilantro

TROUBLESHOOTING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT VARENIKI (PIROGIES)

  • Why are my pierogies falling apart? This can happen if the seal isn’t tight enough. Once you pinch the dough closed, try crimping the edges with a pinch and twist motion.

  • How do you know when pierogies are cooked? You’ll know the pierogies are ready when they float to the top in the pot of boiling water.

  • Can you use leftover mashed potatoes? Yes! You can stir some milk of your choice into the refrigerated potatoes (omit the butter) to help soften them. Just make sure they aren’t too soft or creamy.

HOW TO FREEZE VARENIKI (PIEROGIES)?

I always freeze up a batch because they are a great treat to have on hand. To freeze the vareniki (pierogies), I line a baking sheet or a large cutting board with parchment paper and place the vareniki (pierogies) on top of the parchment paper in one layer. You can also use a regular ceramic plate sprinkled with flour.

Next, place them into the freezer for a few hours, or until they are completely frozen. Transfer the vareniki (pierogies) to freezer bags or a sealed container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Honestly, I don't remember my freezer without any dumplings. It's nice to have them available especially for a rushed weeknight dinner or to serve to unexpected guests, which is an often occurrence in my house. LOL.


Let's make them...


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Making time: 30-60 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 40-70 minutes

Yield: About 68-72 pieces

Author: Inna of innichkachef.com


Ingredients for the white dough

5 tablespoons sunflower oil (or oil of your choice)

1 and 1/2 cups very warm water

1/2 teaspoon pink salt


Ingredients for the yellow dough

5 tablespoons sunflower oil (or oil of your choice)

1 and 1/2 cups very warm water

1/2 teaspoon pink salt

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

ingredients

Ingredients for the filling

2 lb. potatoes (I used a mix of baby red and yellow potatoes)

1 lb. mushrooms (I used buttons mushrooms)

1 onion (plus one onion for the garnish)

1 teaspoon Celtic salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

1 tablespoon dried dill or 1/4 cup fresh chopped.

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons sunflower oil (plus 2 tablespoons for the garnish)


Directions

  • To make the dough, mix together the flour, water, salt, and oil with an electric mixer or by hand. Knead until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap or place into a container and cover with a lid. Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes. Repeat the same process with the yellow dough.

  • Meanwhile make the filling. Place the non-peeled potatoes into a pot and cook until done.

  • In a pan with a heavy bottom or cast-iron pan add oil and onion, season with salt, pepper, dried dill and add garlic powder. Cook until the onion is translucent. (If you are using fresh dill add to the potatoes after they have been mashed.)

  • With a potato ricer, smash the hot potatoes (save the skins), and add cooked onions. Mix all together. Set aside.

  • Divide each dough into 3 pieces using a dough cutter and work with one piece at the time. Keep the rest of the dough covered to prevent it from drying out.

  • With your hands, roll the dough into a thin sausage-looking shape. With a generous amount of flour on your working space, place your sausage-looking shaped dough on the workspace. You should end up with 3 white and 3 yellow sausage shaped dough pieces.

  • Roll the white one into a skinny rectangle shape. Place yellow sausage inside the rectangle. Pinch with your fingers and try to seal it. You will end up with one thicker yellow sausage.

  • Start cutting the dough into pieces with a dough cutter, just eyeballing to make sure every piece looks the same size and shape (it looks very much like Italian gnocchi).

  • Using a rolling pin roll each piece into disks that are the size of a pancake. Place one tablespoon of filling, in the center of each disk and stuff with the potatoes and mushrooms. Bring one end of the Vareniki (Pierogies) dough over to meet the other and seal the edges to form a half-moon. Make sure that the edges are securely pressed together.

  • Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of dough.

  • When ready to cook, bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Drop the dumplings into the water, cook in batches so that you do not crowd the Vareniki. Bring the water back to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook them for 4-5 minutes or until they swim back onto the surface of the water. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the water.

  • Next, make the garnish. To the same pan add oil and cook the chopped onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potato skins and fry all together until they are nice and crisp.

  • Serve vareniki immediately topped with the fried onions and potato skins and make sure they are all covered to prevent stickiness. For a nice touch, sprinkle with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

varenik on a fork

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon, or Pinterest.

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