Sometimes, you just need a comforting dish, with nostalgic feels to really hit the spot. This batch of vegan cheesy sweet potato pierogi is exactly that! And even better when topped with the optional caramelized onions.
I know I’ve said this before, but I’m half-Polish, so I grew up with a number of Central/Eastern European foods. My favorite to this day, is still pierogi! (Which btw is the plural of pierog in Polish). It’s like how every cuisine has their version of a dumpling! Pierogi can be either sweet or savory, like this blueberry yogurt version I made with my sister.
I mostly enjoyed the pre-made pierogi when I was younger, which are very convenient. But, I did get to make them with my grandparents when we would visit! Those, along with golabki and kluski, were dishes my grandmother would make for us, each trip.
My dad did, and continues to, tell me that when he was growing up they ate a lot of vegetarian meals. This was purely for cost reasons, as potatoes, onions, and flour were very affordable ingredients. For this post, I knew I wanted to keep the ingredients to either pantry staples, or something you’re nearly guaranteed to have on hand.
And, I think I did a pretty good job! Most of these vegan cheesy sweet potato pierogi components are either shelf-stable, long-lasting, or easily found. The only cold ingredients are non-dairy milk (which can be shelf-stable), dijon mustard, and the optional vegan yogurt, for serving.
Here are some substitutions you can make depending on what you have on hand:
- No dijon? Use a touch less yellow mustard, to taste. Or, use 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder!
- Don’t have plain vegan yogurt or sour cream around? Make a cashew cream from blending 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2-3/4 cup water until smooth.
- Non-dairy milk is also easy to make, but you can use veggie stock if that’s what you have available.
I actually ended up making a double-batch of these sweet potato pierogi and freezing half. This way I have some for after I run out of this batch! The key to freezing pierogi is to boil them first, then line them up on a plate or baking sheet. Freeze them for at least 1 hour, then store in a container or zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 6 months.
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups (250 g) peeled & diced sweet potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain, unsweetened, non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the dough
- 2 cups (260 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) grapeseed oil, plus more for frying
For topping (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) grapeseed oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (120 g) plain vegan yogurt or sour cream (cashew cream also works)
- Chopped parsley or green onion, for garnish
- To make the filling: Place the sweet potatoes and garlic cloves in a small pot and add water until they are barely covered. Bring pot to a boil over medium heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water from potatoes and set the pot aside.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then add the water and oil to them. Knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined, with no dry spots. If the dough is still quite sticky, add a pinch or two of flour at a time and knead some more. Set aside while you finish the filling.
- Next, add the non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, dijon mustuard, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mash the potato mixture until fluffy; taste, and season with more salt and pepper if need be.
- To assemble: Lightly dust your work surface with flour, and cut dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out to roughly 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick. Using a cup or cutter roughly 3.25-inches across to cut circles in the dough.
- Drop a heaping-tablespoon-sized (roughly 16 g) scoop of filling into the middle of each circle. Lightly wet the outer 1/4-inch (6 mm) of the dough rounds with water, then fold them in half. Seal the edges together by pinching them with your fingers or pressing down with a fork.
- Bring a large pot, filled with roughly 2 quarts (1895 ml) of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once at a rolling boil, place 6 or 7 pierogi in the water. Do not overcrowd the pot, as they will expand slightly, boil pierogi for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they start floating on the top of the water and are opaque.
- Place the cooked pierogi on a baking sheet, and repeat boiling process with remaining pierogi. (At this point, you can either freeze the pierogi for later, eat them soft, or fry them to serve.)
- To serve: In a skillet, warm 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium heat. Add onion slices, stirring to coat in oil, then adjust heat to medium-low and cover with lid. Start batch-frying the pierogi per instructions below, and between each flip, stir the onions as well. Once you're on the last batch, add a hefty pinch of salt to the onions, stir, adjust heat to low, and cover; cooking until brown throughout.
- In a large skillet, warm 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium heat. Once hot, add 5 pierogi to the skillet and brown for 3 minutes on each side; repeat 3 more times with remaining pierogi. Set fried pierogi on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Once all are fried, divide the pierogi between 4 plates, serve with yogurt and garnish with scallions.
*Read blog post for ingredient substitutions.
I almost forgot to mention, this recipe is based on the Pierogi recipe in Vegan Yack Attack On the Go! In that recipe, the caramelized onions are inside the pierogi, with some other recipe changes. Plus, they’re a little larger in size! (Also, it looks like the book is on super-sale, right now)
Now, make a batch or two of these with your family, for a fun, tasty endeavor. Enjoy and make sure to tag me @veganyackattack when you post a pic!
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