Friday, May 13, 2011

Gnocchi with sauerkraut and caramelized onions aka Hairy Dumplings

When I lived in Czech Republic I used to visit my great-grandma and grandma's house every summer. They have a very old, but beautiful house with a cute garden and tons of rescued animals. Their house is just a few miles away from the German and Polish border. I enjoyed hanging out with the animals, eating fresh raspberries straight from the garden and swimming in a nearby lake. One of my favorite dishes that I would eat there were "hairy dumplings". They are basically small dumplings tossed with sauerkraut and served as a side dish to a baked pork. The pork part was always an issue for me so I would just eat a double portion of the side dish and didn't miss out on anything. The funny thing is that the name hairy dumplings was originally given to that dish because of the sauerkraut part, but at that house, sometimes the dish was truly hairy since there were so many animals all over the place- dogs and cats in the kitchen and dining room so you can imagine that some of their hair would get into the meal......
I missed that dish so much that I decided to recreate it and veganize it here in the US. Real dumplings take a lot of work and time to prepare so I have been using potato gnocchi instead. Gnocchi are perfect for this, but feel free and make little dumplings instead if you prefer that. Try not to skip the caraway seeds since they give it a nice Czech flavor.

Gnocchi with sauerkraut and caramelized onions
aka Hairy Dumplings

1 16-oz package vegan gnocchi (or homemade-about 3 cups cooked)
2 cups sauerkraut
3 Tbs oil
2 tsp ground caraway seeds
2 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water (or more if necessary)
1 small onion, cut into thin circles
extra salt to taste


Heat 1 Tbs oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add sauerkraut, water, ground caraway seeds, 1/3 tsp salt, sugar, stir and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 8-10 minutes, or until nicely browned, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle onion with little bit of salt and carefully remove from the skillet. Place onion on a layer of paper towels to drain excess oil.
Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.
Toss warm gnocchi with sauerkraut and top with fried onion rings.


  1. I love carmelized onions, I could definitely eat the side dish alone and be happy too.
    What a funny name, though! I had a dream last night I was eating something called "wolf balls" but I think they were just potato chips!

  2. Though hairy dumplings don't sound good, it sure looks good!

  3. We tried your great vegan recipe and it was AMAZING! We tried it with Gardein Beefless Tips and my girlfriend raved about it (who says she doesn't normally like sauerkraut). I added some black pepper to your recipe and drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil over the finished product. Delicious. We are going to make this again, for sure. Thanks for turning us onto something from your homeland and your grandma and great-grandma. Love it! Anyone reading does sounds kind of weird but, you gotta try it. :)

  4. Thank you so much for making my recipe! I am happy you and your girlfriend liked it so much :-) I like your idea of adding Gardein Beefless Tips. I love the Beefless Tips and I will try adding them next time for a more balanced meal.

  5. I love sauerkraut! And that´s so interesting you are making "hairy" dumplings:) I have somehow never thought of dumplings as a vegan food :)

  6. Lenna, dumplings and gnocchi can be made or bought vegan but it is harder to make or find. I make homemade bread dumplings and gnocchi, but sometimes it is nice to buy gnocchi pre-made :-) I love potato or bread dumplings :-)

  7. I love the stories you share from your childhood. Such a special and unique perspective. Really enjoying your blog!

  8. @Adrienne Thank you for reading :-)

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