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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC


Golden Vareniki


These delectable stuffed dumplings hail from Ukraine. Boiled or pan-toasted, savory vareniki traditionally are filled with sautéed onions, carrots, and sour cabbage, or potatoes and mushrooms. Sweet vareniki are fruit-filled, usually with cherries or berries. In either case, smetana (sour cream) is the classic accompaniment. Here is a healthy, low-fat whole plant-based interpretation of cabbage vareniki. It uses whole white wheat instead of refined white flour, and creamy, luscious, strained soy yogurt instead of butter and sour cream.  Instead of dressing the boiled dumplings with butter, onions, and bacon, we’ll use sautéed onions and raw scallions. Vareniki are a treat you’ll want to make over and over. While the classic fillings are delicious, feel free to play with other vegetable and fruit fillings, suited to your locale and the season. A full plateful of vareniki makes a delicious, satisfying supper, or serve a smaller portion as a spectacular appetizer.


Prep time 45 minutes to make the dough, filling, and topping + 60 minutes to compose the dumplings

Cook time 10 minutes

Makes about 36 vareniki for 3 dinners or 6 appetizers


150 grams (about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) unsweetened soy yogurt, well drained

195 grams (about 1½ cups) white whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons freshly ground golden flaxseed

4 grams (about ½ teaspoon) shiro (mild, white) miso paste

2 large red onions, cut in a medium dice, half for the filling, half for the dressing

2 large carrots, cut in a small dice

½ small green cabbage, shredded

1 small bunch dill, chopped

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon whole lemon powder or juice of 1 small lemon

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

Grinds of black pepper

1to 2 teaspoons shiro (mild, white) miso paste, or to taste

Corn starch, as needed



1 bunch scallion greens, sliced for garnish

Aka (red) miso powder to taste (optional)

3 cups unsweetened soy yogurt, strained 2 hours to thicken into a sour cream


To strain the yogurt, transfer 3 cups to a square of unbleached muslin. Tie it up with string and suspend the bag over the sink to drain or place the bag in a strainer over a bowl and allow the whey to drain over 2 hours. The yogurt will reduce and thicken into a soft paste, reminiscent of sour cream or crème fraiche. Refrigerate until it’s time to plate and garnish the vareniki.


To make the dough, freshly grind the flaxseed and stir it and 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of shiro miso into the drained soy yogurt. Mix in only as much white whole wheat flour as required to create a soft, somewhat sticky dough. Transfer to a board and knead for about 8 minutes, sprinkling additional flour as needed to create a soft, smooth dough. Keep the dough slightly tacky and not at all stiff to make tender vareniki. Cover with wrap and rest the dough for 30 minutes.


As the dough rests, prepare the onion dressing and the filling. Heat a large lidded nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add half of the onions and dry sauté for a few minutes, stirring, until the onions darken and begin to caramelize the pan, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a few spoonfuls of water. Transfer the sautéed onion and its juices to a bowl and set aside to dress the vareniki later.


Reheat the skillet for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the remaining onions, carrots, and shredded cabbage. Lower the heat slightly, cover the pan, and sweat the vegetables for about 20 minutes, stirring periodically.  Add only enough liquid to prevent adhesion or scorching by spritzing the pan with water as you scrape up any caramelized sugars that adhere to the bottom of the skillet. Keep the sauté on the dry side, however, or the dumplings will tear. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the chopped dill and parsley, the lemon powder or juice, the caraway seeds, and black pepper. Cover and cook for a final minute. Add some of the miso and taste to correct all seasonings as you like. Remove from the heat and uncover to cool as you roll out the dough.


Lay the vareniki dough down and use your hands to roll it into a 1½-inch thick snake. With a bench scraper or knife cut the dough snake in 3/8-inch slices. Replace all but one slice in the bowl and cover well to prevent drying. Sprinkle the board lightly with corn starch and roll out the first slice of dough disk into a 3-inch disk, about 1/16-inch thick. If your disk is regular, you’re good to go, but if its shape is irregular, use a 3-inch cutter to cut out your disk, reserving any dough scraps for reuse.


Pick up the disk, add a full teaspoonful of filling, dampen the perimeter of the dough with water, and fold the disk in half, sealing the dumpling well in a half moon. You can stop here or make small folds long the sealed edge to create a decorating roping and reinforce the sealed edge. The dumplings must be well sealed to stay intact as they boil. Place on a plate, lined with wax paper and cover with another sheet of wax paper. Repeat until all your dough and filling is used.


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the vareniki in 3 batches, adding them all at once, stirring gently once with a wooden spoon. The vareniki cook quickly, rising to the surface as they do. Cook for an additional 3 minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon and plating them on warmed plate and placing them in a warm oven.  Repeat for the 2nd and 3rd batches of dumplings. Spritz the plated dumplings with water to stay moist and prevent sticking.


To serve, dress each place with sautéed red onion and sprinkle scallions over the surface.  Season, if you like, with a few shakes of ground aka (red) miso powder (optional) and serve with a mound of strained soy yogurt.

Golden Vareniki

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