There was a time in my life when I always had a bag of frozen pierogi in the freezer. The Polish dumplings weren’t something I’d grown up eating, but who could resist that carb on carb action of potatoes wrapped in dough? For the uninitiated, pierogi are the Eastern European equivalent of ravioli but with spuds instead of ricotta.
I’d tear open a bag, give them a quick boil on the stove, and then brown the dumplings in a skillet until they were crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside. A food probably couldn’t get cozier than that. It’s a full on meal of a hug.
Sadly, finding frozen pierogi without dairy or eggs is a tricky thing. I know. I’ve looked. With a doomed kind of hopefulness, I check the ingredient lists on any new bags that I can find, only to walk away pierogi-less.
Desperate to quench my craving, I made them once from scratch. They weren’t impossible, but still quite a lengthy task. And since I’m the only pierogi-loving person in my household, I’m more apt to save my hours-long culinary projects for something that will be universally loved. (But if I ever make another pierogi-enthusiast friend, I may just have to offer that we spend a day in the kitchen together making enough that both of us can freeze for future potato-variety emergencies.)It’s understandable then that whenever David and I are in Chicago dining at the famed Chicago Diner, I’m always tempted by their pierogi quesadillas. An amalgamation of two of my favorite foods, many a time I’ve come close to ordering it, only to make a last second switch to the beloved reuben instead. For a sauerkraut lover, these are the impossible decisions. The last time I was there, I made a mental note to make my own pierogi quesadillas at home with all of my dream ingredients.
Now that dream has come into fruition. These pierogi quesadillas are stuffed with sautéed onions and mashed potatoes, a generous layer of sauerkraut, and melty cheddar non-dairy cheese. (I grated a block of Follow Your Heart’s American style.)
Do yourself a favor and use refrigerated sauerkraut and not the kind found in cans. You can’t beat the fresh crunch of crisp, raw sauerkraut. Just one jar and you’ll never be able to swing the slurpy canned variety again.On the side is a yogurt ranch sauce that’s perfect for drizzling on top, or if you’re anything like me, adding a spoonful with every bite. The dill and basil dip is good to have around any time you need a light, creamy ranch sauce for dipping.
For the yogurt ranch dip, I used unsweetened coconut milk yogurt from So Delicious. David has a container of their vanilla yogurt from his office TARDIS fridge almost daily. However, as a person who opts for savory treats, this is a great way to get in some probiotics (both from the yogurt and the sauerkraut), while noshing on quesadillas.
Let me know if you try these filling quesadillas! I think they’d be a great addition to a Super Bowl appetizer line-up or snack for games night.