lifestyle peace corps veganism

My Favorite Ukrainian Recipes with a Vegan Twist

Before I left the U.S. for Peace Corps, many people that I told about my upcoming stint in Ukraine responded with concern for how the food would taste. I entered Peace Corps interested in what foods would be offered to me, but also cautious because of my assortment of allergies and dietary restrictions. Oh, do I wish I knew then what I know now! Ukrainian recipes create some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, hands-down.

One of the first things I did when I was sent home on a medical evacuation was make Ukrainian food for my family and friends. Needless to say, they loved it! When I published Being Vegan in the Peace Corps, so many people asked for Ukrainian recipes after I talked about how much amazing vegan food I’d eaten in my time there. So, without further ado, here are three of my favorite Ukrainian recipes made vegan:

Borscht

Ingredients

1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 beet
3 potatoes
3 carrots
1 cup of beans (the beans I ate in Ukraine were closest to white beans)
1/2 of a small to medium cabbage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Morton’s Nature’s Seasons, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
1 & 1/2 cups of veggie broth, water, or a mixture of both

Directions

  1. Cut up all the vegetables. I normally like to cube my beets and potatoes, and cut my carrots into thin, small slices. Cut them however you’d prefer to eat them!
  2. In a large saucepan, place beans at the bottom and veggies on top.
  3. Pour vegetable broth (or water, or both) in the pot. If your ingredients aren’t covered by the broth, then add until they are.
  4. Pour seasonings on top. I usually put Morton’s Nature’s Seasons and maybe some Italian seasoning blend on mine, but to each their own!
  5. Simmer on medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Enjoy!

Zrazy (ZrAH-zee)

Ingredients

4 or 5 potatoes, depending on their size
1/2 of a small or medium cabbage
3 carrots
1/2 of a small onion
2-3 cups of all-purpose flour
Oil, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes.
  2. Boil potatoes until nice and soft for mashing.
  3. While potatoes boil, cut up cabbage, onion, and carrots.
  4. In a skillet, sauté onion, cabbage, and carrots on medium heat until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once potatoes are done boiling, mash them.
  6. In a large bowl or pot, mix mashed potatoes and flour until the potatoes are at a consistency that you can make them into patties.
  7. Place sautéed vegetables in a separate bowl.
  8. Now, the fun begins! Form a spoonful or two of potato and flour mix into a patty. It should look like a little pancake.
  9. Take a spoonful of veggie mixture, and put it in the middle of the potato mix.
  10. Fold the potato and close the ends together with the veggie mix inside. If you find that your veggies fall out or the potato won’t close, then take some veggies out and try again.
  11. Place the potato patty in the skillet with oil on medium heat. Simmer until brown, then flip over and heat again. I normally like to have 4 or 5 at a time in the skillet.
  12. Repeat steps 8 through 11 until all your mixes are gone.
  13. Enjoy!

Varenyky (Vah-REN-i-kee)

Ingredients

Dough from this recipe
3 or 4 potatoes, depending on their size
Mushrooms
1/2 of a small or medium onion
Oil for sautéeing

Directions

  1. Make the dough from the above linked recipe.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes.
  3. Boil potatoes until they’re soft for mashing.
  4. Sauté mushrooms and onion in oil over medium heat.
  5. Mash potatoes.
  6. Set mushrooms, potatoes, and dough in separate bowls.
  7. Roll dough ball into your hand and flatten like a little pancake.
  8. Spoon mushrooms or potatoes into the dough patty.
  9. Close into a dumpling, pressing harder at the tips to make a sort of wave (see photo below).
  10. Boil for about 5 minutes. Let them cool.
  11. Pan-fry after boiling until golden-brown on both sides. (Or skip this step if you only want them boiled.)
  12. Enjoy!

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