For years, vegan pierogi have been a mythical aspiration – impossible to attain. I’ve searched for that elusive target in frozen cases at natural grocery stores, chains, and specialty markets. If they had a freezer and pierogi on display, I pored over the ingredients. Time after time, there was a moment of hope followed by inevitable disappointment as I walked away with an empty cart.
If you’ve never had pierogi, think of them as the Polish equivalent of ravioli. However, these dumplings are stuffed with fillings like potatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and/or sauerkraut.
I first fell in love with pierogi when I encountered them years ago at Trader Joe’s. In my vegetarian days, I always had a package in my freezer for quick and filling lunches or dinners. After I went vegan and no longer wanted the kind stuffed with dairy-based cheese or made with egg in the dough, I tried my hand at making my own. The results were terrific, and if you’re ever looking for a project, the potato pierogi from Vegan Brunch are wonderful.
However, homemade pierogi are more of a commitment than I typically want. That’s why I made a recipe for pierogi quesadillas a while back, which are also totally delicious. They’re a worthy potato delivery vessel when you need a way to transport spuds from plate to mouth ASAP.
But last month my quixotic pipe dream was realized at last. David and I were at Fresh Thyme grocery store when I saw a couple kinds of their store-brand pierogi in the freezer case. One was obviously not vegan since cheese was right on the front. So I scanned the ingredients on the potato fried onion variety, and lo and behold, it was vegan! Cue the violins and choir, we have success! (You can see the outside of the package on my Instagram feed.)
David heard my audible gasping from around the bend and came trotting over to see what I’d discovered. He’d never actually had pierogi. It wasn’t in his regular dining repertoire before I came into his life. And since we’ve been vegan for the majority of the time we’ve been together, his life has been pierogi-free for all of these years.
Vegan pierogi with sautéed kale
Using frozen pierogi, vegan pierogi with sautéed kale is a simple lunch or weeknight meal. The whole shebang is ready in about 20 minutes. The perfectly browned vegan pierogi have a little bit of crunch before giving way to the pillowy potatoes underneath. I deglaze the pan with vegan butter, and add a helping of green onions, which are in season right now. The mild green onions don’t overwhelm the flavor, and they cook quickly, needing just a little bit of time in the skillet until they are nutty brown.
I serve the pierogi over garlicky sautéed kale. Then just add some freshly ground pepper and a dollop of cashew cream cheese. Kite Hill cream cheese in plain or chive is my favorite, but Go Veggie is also good. If you’d prefer to make your own, the cashew cream cheese recipe in Artisan Vegan Cheese is excellent and not too tricky.
Real talk: I managed to finish the first whole bag of pierogi myself, and David never got to try it. But then we got three more bags, and he finally got to sample some for himself! Verdict: He’s a fan! So now you know, if you want to divide this recipe for one person, it works just as well as doing the full recipe for two.
People sometimes assume that food bloggers always have involved, intricate meals, but very often mine are simple and fuss-free. And now that pierogi are back in my life, I have no doubt this weeknight-friendly dish will be coming into my rotation of easy vegan meals often.
Vegan pierogi with sautéed kale
Use frozen potato & onion pierogi for this lightening fast weeknight meal. With sautéed kale & cashew cream cheese, it is packed with flavor.
- 8 to 12 frozen vegan pierogi
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil (or other neutral flavored, high heat oil)
- 2 green onions, sliced with ends removed
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter
- 2 Tablespoons cashew cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch curly kale, chopped with ribs removed*
- 2 Tablespoons water (Plus an extra splash, if needed)