BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Heart Beets

43 Comments

Unromantic and full of teenage angst, I’ve hated Valentine’s Day with a passion for the better part of my “adult” life. Back in middle school, while all the other kids were still crafting cute cards to share amongst friends, I went home and embroidered the words “Love Bites” in sparkly seed beads on a black t-shirt. Paired with inky-black dyed hair and baggy pants approximately eight sizes too large for my frame, it was the perfect ensemble that said Don’t even think about talking to me today. I was simply charming as a child.

Though still fairly bitter about the rampant commercialism inherent in most Valentine’s Day celebrations, forced sentimentalism, and being single in general, I’ve warmed considerably to the concept since then. Instead of writing it off as a couples-only event, it’s become more about appreciating the people I care about most in my life, be it my mom, my dad, my dog, or what have you. Sure, there’s a good bit of love shared everyday so a holiday needn’t be necessary, but isn’t it nice to have a legitimate excuse to spoil these wonderful people more than normal? That’s my new understanding of Valentine’s Day.

The perfect V-Day dinner isn’t full of supposed aphrodisiacs or drenched in fine wine; It’s all about the care that goes into preparation. Pierogi, a delight that rarely if ever graces our table, sounded like the ideal dish. More involved than your average weeknight meal, shaping each individual potato pillow must be created with great attention to detail. If that sort of dedication doesn’t say “I love you and I want to feed you very well tonight,” then I don’t know what does.

A casual affair through and through, it’s the gesture that speaks louder than words. You don’t need to make your pierogi shaped like fussy hearts (although you certainly could) because it says enough that you would make them from scratch. Better yet, these are no average pierogi…

Made to match the occasion, they’re stuffed with an alluring pink filling of red beets and mashed potato! That savory, earthy flavor paired with the lightly herbaceous wrapping is simply irresistible, especially when pan-fried and paired with a smidgen of vegan “sour cream” on the side. Of course, you could go the healthier route and boil them more like ravioli, but come on, live a little- Treat your loved ones to a truly special meal!

Blushing Beet Pierogi

Herbed Pierogi Dough:

2 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Dill Weed
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Plain Greek-Style Vegan Yogurt or Vegan “Sour Cream”
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Beet and Potato Filling:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, Diced
1/3 Cup Sauerkraut, Drained
1/2 Pound Peeled, Cooked and Cubed Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 Pound Peeled, Cooked and Finely Chopped Red Beets
1/4 Cup Plain Greek-Style Vegan Yogurt or Vegan “Sour Cream”
Salt and Pepper to Taste

To Cook (Optional):

3 – 4 Tablespoons Margarine or Coconut Oil

Prepare the dough by combining the flour, dried herbs, and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.  Separately, mix together the vegan yogurt, water, and oil before pouring these wet ingredients in as well.  Stir thoroughly until the mixture comes together into a cohesive dough, and then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead by hand for 5 – 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes so the gluten can relax, which will allow it to roll out more easily. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet, and add in the diced onion when hot.  Saute for 5 – 8 minutes on medium heat, until softened and beginning to brown around the edges.  Add the sauerkraut, and cook for just 1 or 2 more minutes.  Turn off the heat, and combine the contents of your skillet with the cooked potatoes, beets, and “yogurt” in a medium bowl. Mash together until creamy but still good and chunky, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before assembling your pierogi.

NOTE: You can prepare both components up to this point up to one day in advance. Just wrap the dough up tightly, stash the filling in an air-tight container, and store both in the fridge.

Roll out your dough as thinly as possible, pausing to allow it to rest if it continues to spring back and resist rolling thinner. Cut it out into equal circles with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps and repeat.

Place 1 – 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each circle, paint a dab of water around the edge, and seal into half-moon shapes. Crimp the outer edges with a fork to secure.

NOTE: You can again pause here and freeze the pierogi for up to a month. Just line them up on a baking sheet so that none are touching, and let them chill down in the freezer until solid. Transfer to a zip-lock bag or an air-tight container, label clearly, and fit them back into the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy. Don’t defrost; cook them as you normally would, but allow a few extra minutes.

To cook, slide them in a large pot of salted, simmering water for 5 – 9 minutes (up to 15 minutes if frozen), or until they float. Cook only 12 at a time so that you don’t crowd the pot. Remove gently with a slotted spoon. Serve, or for the more indulgent option, pan-fry them in the optional margarine or coconut oil until each side is golden brown; about 5 – 8 minutes. Enjoy with someone (or many someones) that you love!

Makes 30 – 40 Pierogi

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

43 thoughts on “Heart Beets

  1. Your recipes are always perfectly appetizing!
    This is lovely, and I would take the airplane for eating at your table ♥ discuss knitting, cooking before a good tea ♥

  2. I LOVE perogies. Have never put beets in my filling but might try when we make the next big batch! Thanks for sharing

  3. Upon seeing the word “beets” I had to check this article right away! I adore beets and eat them nearly every day – with hummus, tabouli, on salads – I even had to resort to canned beets since I lack the time to roast beets every day. . . But beet perogies!! I’m truly falling in love with what I think they would taste like and I’ve now got sauerkraut and vegan sour cream on the grocery list. If the family doesn’t love them tonight, at least I will have plenty of leftovers for ME! Thank you!!!

  4. Have no idea that there were such things as perogi – it looks like ravioli, and just check it out on Wiki, these are from Poland.
    I like the fact that they look pretty common, but what a surprise when you take your fork and knife and cut one of them to see that it is full of a pinky-purple filling.
    Reading the ingredients, they surely are very tasty PLUS they look pretty.

    Like you I am not found of Vanetine’s day, I think it has become too commercial, but still as some of my acquaintances said, for those who do not take or have the time to eat together, this could be the best opportunity to really make the effort to set at table, with nice dishes.

  5. Those look delicious. I hear you on the Valentine’s Day stuff…I was a bit of a dismal teen too, all dressed in black (actually, the clothes haven’t changed much). I agree that it is a commercial occasion, but also just a good opportunity to celebrate our loved ones. I am doing a little party for my kids and my nieces today–hopefully it helps brighten up a dreary winter day.

  6. These looks amazing Hannah! I used to always order pierogi when my family and I would go to Capitola near Santa Cruz. There was this little restaurant there that served them and they were amazing. I had never tried pierogi before and from that point forward they set the gold-standard for me. Looks like your perogi could give them a run for their money!

  7. Wow! I never thought of using beets in pierogi! My kids love pierogi, in fact, my son requested them for his 12 year birthday dinner. We make them together and fry them in a little oil and fresh sage. I must admit, the first time I made them, they were huge and mis-shapen, but with practice, they are absolutely beautiful. I look forward to trying your version!

  8. I have never liked Valentine’s Day, not as a teenager, not now… I just dislike the whole commercialism, like you say, too much. I think you should love each other every day, and there’s nothing more lovable then being spoiled on a day you wouldn’t expect it.

    On the other hand, I do like this recipe! It looks incredible, definitely going to try once I can get a hand on some beets :)

  9. Oh I must absolutely make these! Pierogis or piirakka as they are called in Finland are very popular there too. I love what you have done with the dough and the filling ;)

    • Oh wow, I’ve never even heard of Pierogi. They look absolutely divine!!!
      I’m not keen on the commercialism of Valentines Day nowadays – it just seems that you have to ‘buy’ it. Though I must confess I did enjoy making cards for that special person in my early teens.
      Thanks for this post.
      Dan
      -x-

  10. To make it easier on yourself, you don’t have to cut them with a biscuit cutter. Just slice into square-ish objects and you can fold them into triangles. I always wind up overstuffing them…

    Also, (gotta go all Ukrainian grandmother on you) if you don’t pinch both sides of the dough, it’ll burst in the water when you cook them (because they’re usually boiled and THEN fried, if at all). Also, I had a great-great aunt who always felt that something was wrong if one didn’t burst, so would break one open herself. :-P Also, when you’re done with the filling, if you have excess dough, you roll them into little pencil sized 3″ long wormies, and cook them as well. … I think they’re called something like babushki? Which, if that’s true, means they’re called “From Grandma”. My great-uncle apparently preferred these to actual pierogi.

    Aaaaaaaaand I’m done being my grandmother. I hear that every time we make them, so I think it every time now too!

    • These are really great tips- Thank you for channeling your grandmother! Definitely words of wisdom, gained through experience. :)

      And you’re totally right about boiling and then frying, I don’t know where my mind was. I clearly waited to long to write out the recipe after making them, and then wasn’t properly caffeinated in the morning when I did. Recipe fixed!

  11. Hmm… it might be “babachka” which I think means “Little Grandmother” or something like that.

  12. I’ve been wanting to make pierogies for years but have yet to do it. If any food says I love you it’s pierogies (with the effort they take to make)! And I love both the beet filling and the herbs in the dough, yum.

  13. I was the same way as a teenager! Inches of black eye liner and black hair and no Valentine’s spirit. This year I have felt a little differently. Not incredibly appreciative, but much more tolerant.

  14. I’ve definitely been a V-Day hater for a long time but I’m coming around to the idea that it’s so much more than just a couple’s holiday. And now it shall be a day to pierogis! Which is always a good day.

  15. These sound sooo good. Newly single, I’ve become a new V-day hater, hah. I want someone to make these! A girl date may be in store..

  16. I like your take on Valentines day and pierogies!

  17. Your pierogi look amazing, and I can just imagine how delicious they are! I am nuts for beets, and I cannot wait to make them! Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet Hannah!

  18. Oh yes, Hannah :) This is the perfect way to approach Valentine’s Day! I must admit I’ve never really been fussed about it; perhaps because while it is definitely acknowledged and celebrated here, it’s nothing like in America where stores are pink and kids have to write cards and all that trollop. I know I’m meant to hate it because I’ve always been single, to be honest I’ve realised that I actually like being single, and don’t want to give up the gloriousness of independence and freedom until I’ve met someone who truly, truly, truly makes my world sparkle and makes the compromise worth it. And until that day (and even if that day never comes), my friends and family create more joy than they’d ever know.

    P.S. I never had the courage to dye my hair, even as a kid. Go you! xo

  19. Love this approach to V-Day! And I love these little bites of hidden beets! Beautiful. And I can’t’ imagine you ever being anything but charming, hair or pants aside!! ;) Happy Valentine’s Day, Ms. Hannah!

  20. This sounds really good.. I’ll be trying it soon~~ Thank you for sharing~~

    Sherry

  21. we never really celebrated vday back home.. got into all the fuss after moving here. and i dont know about peirogi too..love the herbed dough and the pretty filling. Have a great valentines day!

  22. A very yummy and creative use of beets — perfect for vday :)

  23. Too funny, Hannah — that “Love Bites” shirt sounds like something I would have worn as a teenager too! :)

    Your pierogis sound perfect. I’ve been on a real dill kick lately (I bought 2 large bunches this past week and still have about half a bunch in my fridge) and I love the herbs in the dough.

  24. wow it’s been long time I haven’t see a recipe/eat red beet!!! It seems yummy, I wonder how it taste with the potato!

  25. The boyfriend and I made these last night for dinner guests. Everyone really enjoyed them. We got 40 perogies out of the dough (which was perfect because there were only two left to do when I got tired of stuffing them!) and had a little bit of filling left over. I’m going to use the left over filling in valentines tofu scramble tomorrow. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  26. How crafty of you to make your own fun shirt :D Love these perogies, and I agree we don’t have them nearly enough in our house!

  27. Those look beautiful and delicious! I want to make them immediately!

  28. Those are by far the prettiest pierogi I’ve seen! And I love your story about teenage Valentine’s Day angst – I definitely felt the same way, although I wasn’t creative enough to make clothing to express my sentiments.

  29. I never really know what to eat beets with (I only use them in salads). but these beet pierogi looks really great! I’ll definitely pan fry like you did. beautiful colour!

  30. this looks amazing and what a nice vegan idea because i’ve only ever eaten and made them with meat! thanks for sharing!

  31. I like your take on the beet filling–the traditional Slovak one is sweet, which I’m not a huge fan of. I’d take this savory one any day!

  32. I just want to say first of all that your photos are exquisite! Delicate, yet appetizing :-) As a first time visitor your blog, let me just say I will definitely be back for more

  33. You’re so right about valentines day. Funny enough I didn’t really grow up with it as the concept of valentine was known here but not really a big thing. It has become big since but at least nothing to worry about as a kid. Love those pierogi!

  34. Looks like ravioli….love that stuffing….perfect to increase the beet of the taste buds….

  35. looks delicious as ever! happy valentine’s hannah x

  36. These were wonderful!
    I had leftover filling so I made potato beet pancakes this morning. They were also pretty good using the filling as-prepared but next time I might try grating in one more potato to make them a little more like latkes. I used the grating blade on my food processor for chopping both the beets and potatoes in the original recipe. (One of my culinary interests is using my food processor as often as I can.)

  37. Those look amazing!! I love beets, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Perfect :)

  38. Pingback: February’s PPK “Red” Potluck

  39. Pingback: 15 Scrumptious Sour And Salty Pierogi

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