My friend J. makes amazing pierogi – dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with potato filling, first boiled, then fried in butter with onions. Yes, they are as good as they sound. The gooey, savory potato/onion/cheese filling and the soft, buttery dough combination is irresistible – and of course, not very healthy. Which is fine, since most people enjoy pierogi only once in a while.
Still, I was curious to see if I could recreate the chewy texture and savory flavor while also reducing the amount of calories and fat and adding some extra fiber. So I used white whole-wheat flour in this recipe, and Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream that several online recipes called for. I also extracted more dumplings from the same amount of dough by simply rolling the dough thin. Finally, for the last step of frying the pierogi, I used butter-flavored cooking spray instead of actual butter.
The result of my experiments surprised even myself! These whole-wheat, reduced-fat pierogi are amazing. And the recipe also utilizes a few shortcuts (such as preparing the dough in a food processor, chilling it in the freezer and microwaving the potato) that turn this into an easy pierogi recipe – well, as easy as a multi-step recipe can be.
Makes 12 pierogies
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons more flour for rolling dough
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small egg (or 1 large egg yolk)
1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt (I like Voskos)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, soft
For the filling:
1 small (5oz) Yukon Gold potato
Olive oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil or butter-flavored cooking spray
1. In food processor, process together the flour and salt. Add the egg, then the yogurt and butter. Process just until a dough ball forms. Press dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Wash potato and peel. Place on a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high, 2 minutes on each side. Handle carefully – plates will get hot. While potato is cooking, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray, add a teaspoon of olive oil, and sauté the chopped onion until golden, stirring occasionally, 3-5 minutes. Mash the cooked potato with the onion, cheese, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of yogurt if it’s too dry.
3. Take dough out of the freezer and lightly knead to soften. Roll out on a floured countertop, as thin as you can. Cut twelve 3-inch circles. Scraps can be kneaded and re-rolled. Place a scant tablespoon of filling on each dough round and fold the dough into a semi-circle. Press edges together with a fork.
4. Boil 2 quarts water in a large, wide saucepan and boil the pierogies until they float to the top or about 5 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon onto a platter.
5. Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Spray with olive oil or butter-flavored nonstick spray. Fry 4-6 of the pierogies at a time until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes on each side. Spray the skillet again between batches. Serve immediately.
PS. You’ll likely have some potato filling leftover from this recipe. If you’re like me and you can’t bear the thought of throwing out such deliciousness, keep it for serving as smashed potatoes, or do as I do, mix in an egg yolk or a small egg and fry in olive oil spray into lovely, golden potato cakes:
Nutrition per pierogi
(I estimated the cooking spray as 1 teaspoon of oil)
Total Fat 4.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 19.7 mg
Sodium 95.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 3.6 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3 points