Lazy Pierogi Casserole with Sauerkraut and Apple (aka Lazy Perogies) has all the flavor of a delicious perogy, but with a quick, easy, and healthier spin!
Once the crisp chill of autumn settles in, my mom eases back into her routine of making big traditional comfort meals for our Sunday suppers, instead of casual dinners cooked on the grill.
A few years back she started making a dish that she calls Lazy Perogies that she learned from an old friend of the family. (Growing up in Buffalo, New York, this is actually a fairly popular recipe!)
I was recently craving this dish, and as my mom was reading me the recipe over the phone I saw my next project materialize. Her Lazy Perogies needed a little bit of a healthy makeover.
Mom’s Lazy Pierogi Casserole Recipe (aka Lazy Perogies Casserole or Lazy Perogy Casserole)
For the same number of servings, my mom’s Lazy Pierogi Casserole recipe has more noodles than my version. And if you can believe it, her version has a lot more butter too (up to 1 1/2 sticks or 12 tablespoons!). I’m all about the butter, but that’s excessive to the point of being ridiculous.
And this dish typically has 1/2 to 3/4 cup of brown sugar. She said she wasn’t exactly sure because she always eyeballs it and then adds a touch more. Wow…there is no need for dessert when dinner has that much sugar, lol!
Plus my mom usually serves her perogy casserole along with a generous portion of chicken kielbasa. It’s delicious, but of course it increases the amount of both fat and salt in the dish.
Health-wise, my mom’s delicious and indulgent Lazy Perogies needed a little tweaking in more ways than one.
Healthy Casserole Makeover – How to Make a Casserole Healthier
I wanted to keep the flavor profile of the dish while lightening it up a bit. So I did the following:
- I used less noodles, and then to bulk the dish up with minimal calories, I added fresh cabbage.
- Also because I used fresh cabbage, I used less sauerkraut (the original recipe calls for 2 pounds of sauerkraut and I reduced it to 1 pound, which is still a generous amount). I have to say, sauerkraut is a very healthy ingredient! The only reason I wanted to decrease it a bit was to lower the overall sodium content of the dish. To reduce the salt, I not only rinsed the kraut before adding it to the dish, but I also cut the amount of kraut in half; since I added lemon juice, vinegar, and fresh cabbage, none of the flavor was sacrificed.
- I used much less butter in my Lazy Pierogi recipe. It is still enough butter to add to the flavor of the dish, but not so much that it’s just silly how much excess is in there.
- I took out the brown sugar (the amount that the original recipe calls for is outrageous). To provide a much more balanced subtle amount of sweetness, I used a lot less sweetener (I chose maple syrup instead of brown sugar), along with an apple.
- To make this a vegetarian meal, I took out the chicken kielbasa that my mom usually serves with Lazy Pierogis. (Because this dish is pretty filling without any meat!) However, if you want to include meat while keeping the added fat and salt to a minimum, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breast. Thinly slice it and cook it up right before you cook the mushrooms, removing it from the pot before cooking the ‘shrooms. And then stir it into the cabbage mixture along with the mushrooms and cooked noodles.
It might be hard to believe, but this dish was every bit as delicious as the original version. And my mom actually asked me for the recipe!
Cabbage Pierogi Casserole with Apple
The addition of cabbage and apple in this recipe are my own twist. Using fresh cabbage means we can use less sauerkraut, which is delicious, but high in sodium. And apple not only adds nutrients, but also lends a slight sweetness so we can use less sweetener!
What is a Pierogi?
Also sometimes spelled perogy, perogi, and pierogy, this Eastern European dish is dumplings!
Pierogi are dumplings filled with things like sauerkraut, potato, or cheese. What makes this casserole recipe a quick version (or “lazy”, as the name says) is that it has all the flavors going on without having to make and fill each dumpling individually.
According to Wikipedia, “Pierogi are small enough to be served several or many at a time, so the plural form of the word is usually used when referring to this dish. In Polish pierogi is actually the plural, pieróg being singular.”
More Casserole Recipes to Try:
- Old Bay-Spiced Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Buttered Toast Topping
- Taco Casserole
- Moussaka (Greek Beef Eggplant Casserole)
- Homemade Three Cheese Manicotti
- Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Casserole
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith
Lazy Pierogi Casserole with Sauerkraut and Apple (aka Lazy Perogies)
- 12 ounces egg noodles
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided, plus more to grease the dish
- 1 pound button mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/4 pounds green cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pound fresh sauerkraut rinsed well and drained
- 1 large semi-firm sweet-tart apple peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 8 tablespoons sour cream for serving
- Minced fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions; drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 5-quart lidded pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
- To the same pot over medium to medium-high heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Once melted, stir in the cabbage, onion, lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup, water, bay leaf, thyme, salt, marjoram, black pepper, and cloves.
- Cover the pot and cook until the veggies are softened about halfway, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes of cooking, add the sauerkraut and apple, and continue cooking until everything is tender, about 10 minutes more.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked, drained noodles and the browned mushrooms.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish or 8 individual-sized gratin dishes. Pour the casserole into the dish (or dishes) and bake until it starts to turn a little golden on top, about 20 minutes in a large dish or 10 minutes in individual dishes.
- Top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and minced fresh parsley. Serve.
- My mom always serves this casserole along with chicken kielbasa!
- If you want to include meat while keeping the added fat and salt to a minimum, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breast. Thinly slice it and cook it up right before you cook the mushrooms, removing it from the pot before cooking the ‘shrooms. And then stir it into the cabbage mixture along with the mushrooms and cooked noodles.
- Freezer-Friendly: This dish freezes well! Thaw to room temperature before reheating. You can reheat this in the microwave or in a 350F oven covered with foil until warm throughout.
- Instead of egg noodles, kluski noodles are also delicious here.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on September 24, 2012. I updated it with more information on March 23, 2020.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!
My great grandmother, who was Polish-Austrian, used to make a version of this when I was a child. I found your recipe to be the closest to her own. Adding apple cider vinegar is genius!! Thank you! I leave out the apple because I’m one of those people who isn’t fond of cooked fruits, but wow, this was delicious!
Buffaloian here.. let me tell you my Nana used 2 sticks of salted butter to saute the onion and kraut, full fat sausage, sometimes bacon.
This recipe is the bomb my whole family loves it.
Bond Perry says
I don’t see where the noodles get added to the casserole. The first directions are to boil and drain the noodles and set aside….I dont see them added back into all the other ingredients. It could be me….but I have read and re read the recipe and I just don’t see it.
Bond, Thanks so much for leaving a comment! You’re right, that was an oversight – sorry about that! I fixed the recipe below.
Where do the noodles and mushrooms come in? You say to pour the cabbage mix part of the casserole into dishes, but there’s no mention of what to do with the noodles and mushrooms. Are the noodles just added loosely into the cabbage mixture before putting it into the dishes, or are they used to layer the casserole? Are the mushrooms for garnish, or do you add them into the mix at some time? Also- have you tried using caraway seeds with this casserole? They’re great with sauerkraut and cabbage. Thank you!
Burma, Thanks so much for leaving a comment! You’re right, that was an oversight – sorry about that! I fixed the recipe below.
Yes, you’re right, caraway seeds are lovely with cabbage and kraut! If you want to add them to this recipe, I would add about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon because I find that a little goes a long way.
Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen says
What a wonderful meatless meal idea. I love everything about this dish!
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
Loved this! A great lighter version of some comforting favorites.
I tried this recipe over the weekend and we loved it !! My daughter put kielbasa in hers and her husband loved it !!
Am I reading this right. You use the noodles instead of the pierogis?
Joan, Yes, in this recipe, egg noodles are used instead of pierogis. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!
I love your tweaks here!! Man, I love butter too but you’re not kidding, that sounds like a bit too much in the original! (Don’t tell your mom I said that.) And it’s anything but lazy!!
I have vowed to clean up my act this fall and eat a little lighter. Things like dumplings and pierogis are problematic because of the filling/dough proportions. You have to eat a whole lot of dough before eating a tiny bit of filling. I try to make pasta with lots of vegetables, a little meat and not too much pasta. This dish fits my plan beautifully ( and I love maple syrup!!!). Lovely work, Faith!
Wow! This looks amazing. Love the food styling too!
Lori Lynn says
Awesome make-over Faith!
Adore the “lazy” idea.
janet @ the taste space says
I love how you made this healthier! I wonder what this would be like without any noodles and even more fresh cabbage.. sounds right up my alley!! :)
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) says
I love this makeover Faith! I grew up eating those Mrs.T’s Pierogi’s boiled with sour cream and it’s such a comfort food memory. This is a much better option!
We love Sauerkraut so this would go down well in our house :-) Take care Diane
I love that you have the word “Lazy” in the title of your recipe ;) Also, your summary of the things that needed “tweaking” in the recipe is hilarious! I think you did a fantastic job making this recipe lighter and less salty, and your 5-star contribution is perfect!
[email protected] says
What a revamp you did in this recipe. All great choices in lowering the extras yet keeping the flavor. This is perfect for the apple 5 star month!
What an interesting recipe, I’m sure that it is absolutely delicious. The cabbage was an excellent decision for reducing the overall sodium content of the meal. Love maple syrup, must have been fun making this.
Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies says
Love how you healthified this! Looks delicious!
[email protected]'s Recipes says
This looks right up my alley!
Mary @ mary mary quite contrary says
Had to share this wonderful recipe !! What an amazing combination of ingredients !! Mary <3
This dish screams autumn Faith! I always try to reduce calories in old family recipes. Time has changed and we do nto live the way our grandparents did. I love your more healthified tweakening!
It looks amazing,Faith! I love these theme….I saw Natasha’s and Joan’s and they look delicious! Great job!
[email protected] says
We are thinking alike. I’ve been making deconstructed stuffed cabbage (lazy) and using ground beef, apples, rice. I even thought of perogies. I know I would love this dish, especially slimmed down.
5 Star Foodie says
What a terrific casserole, this will be a hit at my house for sure!
This looks great! I love sauerkraut…and I love the lazy part too!
Fantastic makeover. This is truly a dish to kick back and savor. All the while, enjoying the reduced calories. My dish certainly is not lacking in calories.
Great photography as well.
Averie @ Averie Cooks says
I grew up on saukerkraut, pierogies, casseroles…this looks like something straight outta my polish & russian grandmother’s kitchen – except much more photogenic :) It looks fabulous, Faith!
Looks delicious! I’m constantly doing the same thing — making over favorites of mine from when my mom made them and trying to get them healthy enough to enjoy on a regular basis. Hats off to your makeover… looks like you got it down pat!
ooooh, this sounds fantastic! bookmarking, I will make this when we get the really cold weather this winter…
ooh, this definitely is getting tried soon!! LOVE this healthier and easier version :) i only make them once a year (around thanksgiving, make a ton for the holidays) and can’t stray too much from the recipe. this would definitely be a great excuse to enjoy them year-round! fabulous :)
I love this lazier and healthier version of Pierogi!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a delicious casserole, I love the way you lightened this up without compromising the flavors!
[email protected] says
This looks a.ma.zing. I have a tin of proper German sauerkraut just begging to be opened and used in this fabulous deconstructed dish. Healthy comfort food. Roll on autumn! PS Tell your mother thank you from me!
Sanjeeta kk says
Perfect for the fast approaching winters season! Lovely clicks Faith.
Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says
I like your spin on this dish and I too want some…
Joan Nova says
Very smart makeover. I totally agree with the steps you took and the end result looks mighty tasty.
I love pierogis and I love noodles with cabbage so this lazy pierogi dish is right up my ally. You are absolutely right, there is no need to add all those unhealthy ingredients to this dish, and I definitely think I’d prefer your makeover version to the original. Now I suddenly have an overpowering craving for pierogis. Thanks, a lot, Faith :-D lol
so I’ve never had kraut! Its always made me nervous- I need to just give it a go. The casserole is such a fun take on a traditional recipe
Wonderful! It is exactly the kind of dish I love eating during the cold season.