Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nature’s Touch™ Frozen Foods; all opinions are my own.
Growing up in Russia, I had a love hate relationship with Russian food. It’s too heavy, too greasy, and too difficult to cook. While I do have a lot of respect towards women who can find time to cook everyday gourmet dishes, I’ve never been one of those ladies. I rarely spend more than half an hour on cooking and most of the dishes I preferred eating were not even Russian because these were too healthy: gluten free, fat free, and vegan. I know it’s such opposite to the authentic Eastern European cuisine! However, even with my diet preferences and limitations I have a few Russian recipes that I enjoy while living in America. Today I’m collaborating with Nature’s Touch to share with you my favorite recipe for Vegan Gluten-Free Russian Pierogies with Wild Blueberries.
The best part about this recipe is that it literally takes under an hour to cook and you don’t even need to use fresh berries! I usually pick a pack of Nature’s Touch Organic Wild Blueberries up from my local ShopRite to cook my pierogies with and then use the leftovers for my after-workout smoothies (soy milk, cacao, blueberries, and peanut butter is my favorite recipe!). As you might have known, sometimes frozen berries are actually better than fresh ones, especially in the wintertime when prices on organic produce are skyrocketed. I believe that vitamins in frozen fruits and vegetables are better preserved than in the refrigerator, so you’ll always find my fridge filled with frozen produce by Nature’s Touch that I usually pick up at my local ShopRite.
While you may find pierogie recipes in many Eastern European cuisines, there are a few points that make this dish authentically Russian. If you remember from history or art classes, Russian creators are all about delicate details that make even the most boring item more attractive. Think about Russian-style windows hand-painted to perfection or Russian silk scarves that are so beautiful that they could be placed in a museum.
The same goes for food. I noticed that regardless how simple a recipe is, Russians are always trying to decorate their plates in a way that I haven’t seen in any other culture. Think about a Russian dish called “Seledka Pod Shuboi.” The first time my boyfriend Ben tested it, he said, “That pie is super delicious!” When I responded that it was actually a salad, he couldn’t believe me! He was even more shocked when I mentioned that it takes about two hours to prepare this appetizer—imagine the effort that goes into main courses!
While we are not going to spend hours on making our pierogies look fancy, there is still room for creativity in this recipe. Specifically, we are talking about decorating the edge of each Russian dumpling. Usually, each Russian family has its own way of styling pierogies. For instance, my grandmother on my mom’s side (who was not Russian, but Belorussian) was always getting super fancy about the look of her pierogies. She hand-rolled the edge and then created tiny prints with a fork on the side of each dumpling. Her favorite pierogie flavor was strawberries and cabbage (for a sour version). My grandma on my dad’s side was more into “braiding” the side of the pierogies. She was originally from Ukraine and her affection towards potato and fried onion pierogies was unstoppable).
Regardless which of my grandmas was cooking, I was all about pierogies as a child. In fact, it was one of those rare dishes that I actually ate as I’ve always been knows as a picky eater. My mom would cook all sorts of soups, meat dishes, and salads, but all I wanted was pierogies and cottage cheese pies.
These days, when I’m following a strict gluten-free vegan diet, many of the Russian dishes that I managed to love until this day are not acceptable for my new lifestyle. What I started doing lately is experimenting with organic and gluten-free ingredients to make traditional Russian dishes healthier and more modern-day appropriate. Saying so, I’m delighted to bring to your attention my modified version of traditional Russian pierogies that are healthy and so easy to cook!
If you love cooking, you might be interested in entering the Nature’s Touch Instagram contest for a chance to win the grand prize which includes a trip for 2 to the destination of your choice (Chile, Belgium, or Canada) and visit a farm where Nature’s Touch sources its fruits and vegetables. There are also 50 first prize winners that will receive a $100 grocery gift card and 50 second prize winners that will be awarded with NutriBullet®. All you have to do in order to enter is share your favorite recipe incorporating Nature’s Touch frozen food products and share it on Instagram tagging @NaturesTouchContest with the hashtag #FlavorAdventure. The giveaway starts on March 20th and ends on May 31st. Head over to www.NaturesTouchContest.com for more info!
Vegan Gluten-Free Blueberry Russian Pierogies
- Water – 5 fl.oz.
- Quinoa flour – 1 cup
- Nature’s Touch Organic Frozen Wild Blueberries – 5 oz. (half a package)
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Raw brown sugar – 2 tablespoon
- Olive or canola oil – 3 tablespoon
1. Thaw the frozen, Nature’s Touch organic wild blueberries in a microwave and put it in a sieve to remove water.
2. Bring water to boil and add salt to it.
3. Mix quinoa flour with oil and mix thoroughly.
4. Add salty water to batter and mix together. First, use a spoon and when batter is getting cold, mix it with your hands. Form dough into a ball and let it sit for a half an hour. Put a napkin on top of the bowl with dough and leave it in room temperature.
5. Roll out the dough and use a glass to cut perfectly round pieces of dough.
6. Pick each dough circle and add a bit of blueberries in each of them. Spritz sugar on top.
7. “Close” each dough circle in a way that it looks like a half moon. Using your fingertips, close each piece so the filling is not coming out while cooking.
8. Put pierogies in a freezer for at least two hours.
9. To cook pierogies, add a pinch of salt to boiling water and add pierogi. Add pierogi and boil for 3-4 minutes.
10. Serve with agave syrup or vegan coconut yogurt.
As you see, it doesn’t take that long to prepare this delicious ethnic recipe! Since the recipe requires putting pierogies into a freezer prior to cooking, I recommend preparing at least a few servings so you can boil the rest of the pierogies next time. Having those vegan dumplings in the freezer is actually a great way to always have a delicious dinner always ready for you!
Please let me know in the comments area below if you ever tried Russian food. If so, how did you like it? What is your favorite Russian dish and why?