Thursday, July 14, 2011

Authentic Pierogies - Vegan and Gluten-Free

My name is Geanna and I am Polish.

I am [approximately] half-Polish, genetically-speaking; my dad was almost completely Polish, although there were always squabbles on his side of the family about being a few other things as well. Thus, I grew up having and enjoying lots of Polish food.

For those of you familiar with Eastern European cuisine, you'll know that it's very meat-centric and gluten-filled. Hence, I haven't eaten Polish food in a reeeally long time, and I miss it. I think it's why, whenever I see sauerkraut offered as a condiment, I gobble it up as quickly as I can because it's the most Geanna-friendly Polish food out there.

I went about making gluten-free and vegan pierogies the other day because I really wanted to keep some in the freezer for any of those nights when the Polish cravings might get the better of me. Pierogies on their own are a bit labor-intensive, but making gluten-free and vegan ones takes even more time.

I seem to have perfected a pretty authentic recipe, however. I made these once for my father before he passed away, and he told me they tasted just like he was used to. That was the best compliment I could have received, especially since the dough is completely different from what he grew up eating.

Without further ado, enjoy this recipe for gluten-free and vegan Polish dumplings!

Pierogies - Vegan and Gluten-Free
Makes 20 dumplings
1 c. sweet rice flour
2/3 c. potato starch
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. warm water
1 flax "egg" (1 T. flax meal mixed with boiling water, set aside to become gelatinous)
2 t. olive oil


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together first, then slowly add the wet ingredients. Mix together well. You may need to knead the dough to keep it from falling apart, and warm water may need to be added to form the dough.
  2. Divide the flour in half. Store the half you won't be using in tight saran wrap. This will keep the moisture in, but if you find that the dough is dry when you get to it, don't be afraid to add a bit more warm water.
  3. Place one half of the dough between two pieces of sarah wrap. Roll the dough until it is quite thin, but not transparent. At that point, remove the top piece of saran wrap and, using a 3-4" round glass or cookie cutter, cut out pieces that will become the dumplings. Place them on a plate in a draft-free area until you start filling them.
  4. Start preparing your fillings; if you're making caramelized onions, dice them and saute them in olive oil. To make a sauerkraut and mushroom filling, chop the ingredients and saute them in oil with a sprinkle each of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, start a pot of water boiling.
  5. Grab a disc of dough and place a spoonful of filling in the center of it. With the tiniest bit of water on your finger, dab the perimeter of the circle and then press the sides together, making sure to press them tightly together. Plop it into the boiling water and start working on the next one. The dumplings will rise to the top when they are done. Drain on a plate covered with parchment paper or on a cooling rack before preceding to the next step, which is either placing them in a plastic bag in the freezer or frying them in a pan. Continue until all the dough is gone.

*Note: If you freeze them for later, be sure and remove them from the freezer approximately 5 minutes before you start cooking them. During that time, heat some olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry the pierogies in the hot oil until each side is golden brown. The amount of done-ness is entirely up to you, but I like mine a little crispy, so I tend to overcook them.

Serve with sour cream, applesauce, plum jam, sauerkraut, and/or mustard.

Filling Options:
-caramelized onions
-mushrooms and sauerkraut
-mashed potatoes
-sweet cashew cream

Do you have a favorite Eastern European dish or meal?

This post has been linked to Wellness Weekends on Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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