Monday, May 5, 2014

Perogy Bites

Every August, I go to the Heritage Festival in Edmonton where there are more than one hundred tents representing cuisines from all over the world.  I am ashamed to admit it, but each year I make a bee-line for the Ukrainian tent so that I can eat pierogies.  Why would I go to such a wonderful event and focus on pierogies, which I can get any day of the year?  Because I feel guilty eating them normally.  Full of white flour, cheese, butter, and potato, they are not exactly the healthiest dumplings on the planet.  I have been searching for a way to make them a bit healthier, and I've finally done it.  The greatest thing about these perogy bites is that they can be an appetizer or a meal, and if you leave off the bacon (or substitute it with coconut bacon), they are even vegan!  But don't worry, they taste just like pierogies - maybe even better - they are a cross between perogies, a baked potato, and chips.  To make this easier, make the cheesy cream a day ahead.

Makes 20 - 24 pierogie bites.


Cheesy Cream:
1 cup plain, raw cashews (soak in water overnight, or at least 4 hours)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
pinch cayenne pepper

1 long, skinny russet potato
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions
2 green onions
1 rasher of bacon (optional)


1. To make the Cheesy Cream, drain and rinse the cashews and then combine them with the water, nutritional yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a blender or bullet.  Blend until a smooth paste results, about 3 - 5 minutes.  Refrigerate until cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Slice the unpeeled potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds.  brush them with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and then bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 - 35 minutes, turning over halfway through.

3. Slice the onions into half-moon slices and sauté in the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat until they are caramelized and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

4. Slice the green onions into very thin slices, including the green bits.  If you are using the bacon, slice it into bits, and fry in a small dry pan until it is crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.  Set aside.

5. When the potatoes and onions are ready, assemble the bites.  On top of each potato round, smother about 1 tsp Cheesy Cream, add some caramelized onions, green onion, and bacon pieces, if using.  Enjoy!

Shopping Tips:

1. Russet potatoes are also called baking potatoes.  They are the ones with the scabby skin that look dirty, even when they are not.

2. Nutritional yeast is not yeast, but is a by-product of molasses.  It is an important source of vitamin B12, and it looks like yellow flakes.  See this recipe for a picture.  It smells like the cheese package in KD.  It can usually be found in the organic section of the grocery store, usually in the bulk bin.  Try sprinkling it on your popcorn for a cheesy alternative...

That's it.  Don't be scared by the planning required to make this recipe.  It comes together really easily.  If you can make perogies, you can make this recipe!

1 comment:

  1. Mouthwatering and no dough! WE must try this next time you visit!