Lentil Pierogi Recipe

Craving a vegan twist on classic pierogi? Meet our lentil pierogi recipe!

These wholesome and flavorful dumplings are simple to make and perfect for a satisfying, healthy meal. Get ready to find your new favorite pierogi!

Lentil pierogi served

Here are our delectable lentil pierogi, featuring a fuss-free filling of cooked lentils and sautéed onions, perfect for vegan pierogi enthusiasts.

While the recipe itself is straightforward, keep in mind that the process of preparing the dough, filling, and shaping the pierogi can be time-consuming. Assume that it’s going to take you at least 1.5 to 2 hours for the entire process. That’s how long it takes me.

To save time, I often prepare multiple pierogi batches on weekends and enjoy them reheated during the week.

(If you need a 30-minute recipe, my Polish lazy pierogi recipe is perfect for busy weeknights.)

So, whether you’re a pierogi aficionado or seeking inventive ways to serve lentils, our lentil pierogi is a must-try. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get cooking!

If you’re making lentil pierogi for the first time, read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re a veteran, feel free to jump to the recipe card.

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

Lentil pierogi ingredients
Lentil pierogi ingredients. Sorry for the pasted pierogi dough – completely forgot about it when shooting the pic.
  • Pierogi dough. You’ll need one portion of my best pierogi dough to cook these lentil pierogi. Or use another recipe if you already have a favorite one. Just make sure you use about two cups of flour so that you have enough dough to wrap all the filling.
  • Lentils. Red or green dried lentils work equally well, so use what you have on hand. Make sure you wash them the way I describe in the recipe before cooking them.
  • Onions. A single yellow onion helps take the flavor to the next level. If you want, feel free to use a red onion or a couple of shallots as a substitute.
  • Salt. I use fine-grained salt, but any other should do too.
  • Pepper. Regular ol’ black pepper is all you need.
  • Oil. Use a neutral oil to cook the onions. If you don’t care whether the recipe is vegan, feel free to use butter or ghee if that’s how you prefer for sauteeing onions.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough. Use my best pierogi dough recipe, or go with your favorite one. Since I recommend letting the dough rest for 30 minutes before using, it’s best to start by preparing it.
Pierogi dough wrapped and resting
  1. Wash the lentils. Place your lentils in a bowl, cover them with cold tap water, and give them a nice swirl with your hand. The water should change color. Drain the water and repeat this process 4 to 5 times, or until the water starts looking clearer. Some recipes suggest washing until the water is crystal clear, but that can take up to 7 to 10 washes and use a ton of water, which might not be the most eco-friendly approach.
Rinsing lentils
  1. Cook the lentils. Pop them in a pot with water and cook for about 10 minutes (for red lentils) or until they’re soft and cooked through. Ideally, they shouldn’t turn to mush, but don’t worry if they do – it happens to the best of us (including yours truly)! For the water-to-lentil ratio, I typically go for 2.5 to 3 parts water to 1 part lentils. Feel free to use your preferred ratio, as we’ll be draining any leftover water anyway.
  1. Sautee the onion. While your lentils are cooking away, chop up that onion and sauté it in oil for 7 to 10 minutes until it’s soft and translucent.
Sauteed onion
  1. Drain and season the lentils. When your lentils are cooked to perfection (or overcooked, as is often the case in my kitchen), it’s time to drain them using a fine mesh strainer. Grab a spoon and remove as much water as possible, then stir in the salt and pepper.
Removing excess water from cooked lentils
  1. Combine with the sauteed onion. Now that your lentils are seasoned to your liking, it’s time to stir in those delicious onions. Adjust the taste once more if needed. The filling is ready to rock and roll, and if you’re not using it right away, seal it tightly and pop it in the fridge.
Lentil pierogi filling
  1. Divide the pierogi dough into two or three parts. Take one part and spread it on a floured work surface, then roll it out until it’s nice and thin. Be careful not to roll it too thin, as it may tear when you form the pockets and seal the dough around the filling. Wrap the rest of the dough tightly to prevent it from drying out.
Rolled pierogi dough thickness closeup
Don’t roll out pierogi thinner than that, or they might tear when forming the pockets
  1. Cut palm-sized circles in the rolled pierogi dough. Anything round with a somewhat sharp edge is great, but a simple glass or mason jar works as well. Or use your pierogi maker if you have one. Form a ball with the dough left over after cutting and use it when rolling out the rest of the pierogi.
Cutting out circles in rolled pierogi dough
  1. Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle of the dough circle, then fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together starting in the middle. Try to leave as little air as possible in the pocket you’re forming. To make a good seal, moisten the outer edge of the dough using a wet finger before pressing the edges together.
  1. Place each formed pierogi on a floured cookie sheet and cover them with a damp kitchen towel. The edges will dry out quickly otherwise. If you want to save space and let the pierogi touch each other, lightly brush the areas where they’ll touch with flour. This will prevent them from sticking together and causing the pierogi dough to tear when removed for boiling.
Formed pierogi before cooking
Formed pierogi – make sure to cover those before cooking
  1. Continue forming pierogi until you run out of dough or filling.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I typically use one teaspoon of salt per quart of water but feel free to adjust the amount to your preferences.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add a few pierogi to the pot and stir them to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Once the pierogi start floating to the surface, simmer them gently for another 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot so that the pierogi don’t stick together or cook unevenly.
Placing pierogi in boiling water
  1. Remove the pierogi from the water using a slotted spoon and serve.
Removing cooked pierogi using a slotted spoon

Recipe Tips

  • After cooking the lentils and combining them with sautéed onion, taste the prepared filling and adjust the seasoning (particularly salt) as needed to ensure it has a delicious flavor.
  • Consider making a larger batch of pierogi by doubling the dough and filling or using another filling for the second half of the dough to save time. This meat pierogi recipe could be an excellent choice for a meat-centric main, while these spinach pierogi may be ideal for vegans. These asparagus pierogi are yet another option, if you’re looking for a vegetable-heavy filling.
  • For additional flavor and texture, try pan-frying the pierogi until they are lightly browned on both sides after boiling.
  • As with most pierogi, these taste even better the day after cooking.
  • If the filling appears too soft to handle, refrigerate it for at least an hour before using it. This will help it firm up, making the shaping and filling of the pierogi easier. I typically prepare the filling the day before cooking the pierogi and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Keep a small bowl of water nearby when forming the pierogi. This water will enable you to quickly moisten the outer edge of the dough, helping you form the pockets.
  • There will be leftover dough or filling when making pierogi. This is expected, as the amount of dough and filling required depends on various factors, making it impossible to provide exact measurements. If there’s a lot of leftover dough, you can freeze it for later use. However, if there’s only enough for a few pierogi, feel free to discard it. For any leftover filling, I recommend freezing it and using it in your next batch of pierogi.
  • Begin boiling the water after using about half of the filling, and start cooking the pierogi as soon as it reaches a boil. Gently place a few pierogi into the pot, give them a stir, and continue rolling the dough and forming the pockets. Check on the cooking pierogi every minute or so as you proceed.
Cut lentil pierogi

What to Serve With Lentil Pierogi

Lentil pierogi can be served with a variety of accompaniments that enhance their flavor and texture. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Simple sauces and dips. If lentil pierogi take center stage, a sauce or dip that complements the dumplings is all you need. Sour cream, yogurt, or a vegan alternative can add a creamy contrast to the pierogi. Need more ideas? Here’s our guide to pierogi sauces.
  2. Sautéed onions. Sautéed onions rank among the most popular pierogi toppings and work just as well for lentil pierogi. Cook chopped onions in a lightly greased skillet for 6 to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent, then spoon them over the pierogi. Or check out this recipe for pierogi with onions.
  3. A vegetable side or salad. If lentil pierogi serve as the main course, consider adding sautéed or roasted vegetables as a side. Alternatively, you could opt for classic Polish cuisine options: a cucumber salad or a sauerkraut salad. Both choices provide tanginess and crunch that the pierogi might be missing.
  4. Protein. To incorporate additional protein into the meal, try serving lentil pierogi with grilled or pan-fried tofu, tempeh, or seitan. For non-vegetarian options, consider grilled or roasted chicken, sausage, or bacon. Sautéed onions and sliced kielbasa make for another tasty choice.
Lentil pierogi served with sauteed onion
Sauteed onions always work great as a savory pierogi topping

Storage

To store lentil pierogi, let them cool and dry individually on large plates.

After 15 to 20 minutes, flip them over to ensure that both sides dry evenly. Once completely dry, transfer them to an airtight container, arranging them in a single layer and ensuring they are not touching each other too much (a bit is okay) to avoid sticking together.

If you need to stack the pierogi, separate each layer with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Alternatively, you can freeze leftover pierogi for later use.

Storing lentil pierogi
Lentil pierogi almost ready for storage – just need to put on the lids

Reheating

To reheat spinach pierogi, start by heating a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and add a few tablespoons of oil (or butter) to thinly coat the surface of the skillet.

Once the skillet is preheated, add the pierogi to the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Next, cover the pierogi with a lid and cook them for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through to ensure they heat evenly.

Be sure to shake the skillet every couple of minutes to prevent the pierogi from sticking to the bottom.

For a crispier texture, increase the heat slightly or leave the pierogi on the skillet for a bit longer, flipping them only after one side is nicely browned.

Bon appetite!

Reheating pierogi
Lentil pierogi served

Lentil Pierogi

These wholesome and flavorful lentil pierogi are simple to make and perfect for a satisfying, healthy meal. Get ready to find your new favorite vegan pierogi!
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Polish
Keyword: pierogi
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 batch pierogi dough
  • 1 heaping cup dried red lentils ~200g
  • 1 onion medium or large
  • 3 tablespoons oil or butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare the pierogi dough using your favorite recipe or use the best pierogi dough recipe.
  • Wash lentils in a bowl with cold water. Drain and repeat 4 to 5 times until water is noticeably clearer thna in the beginning.
  • Cook lentils in a pot using a 2.5-3:1 water-to-lentil ratio for 10 minutes or until soft. Try not to overcook the lentils but don't stress if it happens. Drain excess water.
  • Sautee the onion. While your lentils are cooking away, chop up an onion and sauté it in oil for 7 to 10 minutes until it's soft and translucent.
  • Drain cooked lentils using a fine mesh strainer, remove excess water using a spoon, and stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Combine the cooked lentils and sauteed onion, taste the prepared filling, and add more salt or pepper if needed.
  • Let the filling cool for 20 minutes so any extra water can evaporated before using.
  • Divide the pierogi dough into two or three parts. Then, spread one on a floured work surface and roll it out until it’s thin. It shouldn’t be super thin so that you can still stretch it when forming the pockets.
  • Cut palm-sized circles in the rolled pierogi dough using a cookie cutter or a glass mug.
  • Place a spoonful of lentil filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together, starting in the middle. Leave as little air as possible in the pocket you're forming. To help form a good seal, moisten the outer edge of the dough using a wet finger.
  • Place each formed pierogi on a floured cookie sheet and cover them with a damp kitchen towel.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I typically use one teaspoon of salt per quart of water but feel free to adjust the amount to your preferences.
  • Once the water is boiling, add a few pierogi to the pot and stir them to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Once the pierogi start floating to the surface, simmer them gently for another 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot so that the pierogi don’t stick together or cook unevenly.
  • Remove the pierogi from the water using a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your favorite toppings.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Hungry for More?

Check out these recipes:

  • Blueberry pierogi. Another vegan pierogi recipe. This one is great if you’re looking for a dessert option.
  • Strawberry pierogi. Yup, strawberries make great sweet pierogi, too.

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