Russian Friday – dumplings

Yesterday was our book club gathering.  Naturally, a bowl of fresh Aspirin seemed like a perfect breakfast choice this morning.  Ohmmmm… Instead I went for one of my favorite Russian dishes – farmers cheese dumplings, called “vareniki”.

More often than not vareniki are made with a bit of sugar, but I prefer a savory version.  To prove my husband (who says Russian food is bland) wrong, I added a little zing with garlic and red pepper, and used lots of dill to maintain that unique Russian flavor.   The result is a whole a lot of yum!

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  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 450 g farmers cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper, ground
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion
  • 1 bunch of dill, hard stems discarded


Prepare the filling: combine all the ingredients and blend in a food processor to reach a smooth consistency.

Prepare the dough: in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.  Once incorporated, dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands.

Roll the dough into a 1mm-thick sheet and cut out circles (about 3 inches in diameter) with a cookie cutter. Since we don’t have one, I used a wine glass, which worked just fine. Place about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle, and fold the dough in half, pinching the ends.

Make ahead: at this point you can freeze the dumplings.  Arrange them on a floured cutting board and leave in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  After that, transfer frozen vareniki to a zip-lock bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

To cook: boil some water, add salt to taste.  Dump the vareniki in, and cook for about 8 minute till they float up to the surface.  Remove with a perforated spoon.

Traditionally served with butter and sour cream.  I sprinkled mine with aspirin! Crazy delicious!

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  1. Lili & Mum's says:

    All your farmer’s cheese recipes look good! Even though it sounds delicious, I don’t know if I will ever get around to making farmer’s cheese. Is there an alternative cheese that is similar, like maybe goat cheese (just a guess)? Thanks!

    • Anastasia says:

      Most European grocery stores have farmers cheese. I think goat cheese is even a more delicious alternative to this recipe, though it’s much more expensive.

      • Lili & Mum's says:

        Ok, thanks! In the southern US, we just don’t have much variety, or things like that are really expensive. I may try making farmer’s cheese someday. Who knows!

  2. jzrart says:

    These look very much like the perogis I make. The dough for mine has no milk but does have some olive oil. I’ll try your filling. I generally love a sauerkraut filling or one of sauteed mushrooms, both slavered with caramelized onions and a hit of sour cream. Oh my!!

    Love your blog. I’ll be back!

  3. crindahl says:

    These look fantastic!! I am ukrainian an we make different versions of Varenyky all the time. My favorite is the dessert ones filled with blueberry and cream cheese :)

  4. ghostwiring says:

    There are no words for how badly the Slav in me wants to eat these right now.

    • Anastasia says:

      Well, at least you have a slav in you, it kind of makes sense. What’s weird is that the Dutch in my husband wanted to eat those pretty badly too… in large quantities… very large quantities…

      • ghostwiring says:

        Who wouldn’t? They’re delicious. Russians know what’s good. So do Poles. I got lucky on both genetic fronts. I’m not afraid to put away some dumplings. So glad to have your recipes so I can do them right myself! Thank you!

  5. skeever73 says:

    A Russian friend of mine makes these for me, but with some variations. If she doesn’t have time to make the dough, she uses gyoza/wonton wrappers. Also, the cheese filling is completely plain, with just a slight saltiness. She serves them as an afternoon tea treat with warmed jam and whipped cream. She is in her 60s and has it down to a fine art!

    • Anastasia says:

      Yes, that’s the more traditional approach. Unfortunately the husband gets bored with plain Russian food, so I shoot for additional flavor.

  6. ashkitty says:

    they look yummy…definately giving them a try. btw, love the name of your blog…and those 2 kids on your home page are yours, the title seems even more apt! they look so filled with life mischeif…adorable just as kids should be!

  7. Christina says:

    Aspirin as in pain relief?? Why would you sprinkle that over them? They sound amazing – never had Russian food but I like the look of it!

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