Wondering what to serve with pelmeni for lunch or dinner? You’ve come to the right place.
I love many different dumplings from around the world, but it’s honestly tough to beat a comforting bowl of Russian pelmeni, slathered with a mountain of sour cream and dill.
But what side dishes go well with pelmeni? Or how should you serve pelmeni to make a filling meal?
In this post, I’ll be sharing ideas on how to enjoy your pelmeni, whether it’s storebought or homemade. There’s a reason these tasty meat dumplings are considered ‘the heart of Russian cuisine’, and there are tons of possible ways to enjoy them.
Please excuse the drool that is soon to hit your screen.
How to Have Pelmeni as a Meal on Their Own
I started off my research for this post by inquiring with some friends who grew up eating pelmeni regularly at home. Their answer? You don’t usually serve pelmeni with side dishes, since they’re most commonly eaten by themselves.
However, the way they’re eaten on their own varies a lot, from region to region and family to family. You see, the history of pelmeni is murky at best, with many potential origin stories, although most date back to around the 14th century.
This has given pelmeni plenty of time to adapt to regional (as well as personal) preferences, and today it is enjoyed in various ways not just in Europe, but around the world.
Wondering what to serve with pelmeni to complete it as a meal? Here are some common choices:
Pelmeni with Sour Cream and Dill
This is my go-to way to eat pelmeni, and the way I’ve had it served to me when ordering Pelmeni at street food markets across Europe.
To enjoy your pelmeni in this way, simply boil it, then mix it with a heap of sour cream and sprinkle some dill on top.
Pelmeni in Broth
Another common way to enjoy pelmeni is in some clear broth.
This would be a great way to serve pelmeni if you’re looking for a comforting and warming meal.
While you can use any broth of your choice, something relatively neutral in flavour like chicken or veggie broth would likely work best… and if you want an extra nutritional boost, why not add in some vegetables like carrots or celery?
Pelmeni with Melted Butter
One of the simplest ways to enjoy pelmeni is to serve it with some melted butter. Just boil the dumplings, add some butter on top, let it melt, and you’re done!
Of course, you can jazz it up a little bit by adding some herbs like dill, but so long as your pelmeni filling has been properly seasoned, just a dollop of butter should be enough to turn your pelmeni into a delicious meal of its own.
Pelmeni with Vinegar
Since pelmeni is made up of nothing but dough and meat, it can feel like quite a heavy meal… especially if you’re heaping on toppings like sour cream.
If you want a lighter and ‘tangier’ way to serve pelmeni, then consider having it with some vinegar. This is a very popular light way to serve pelmeni, whether as a snack, lunch, or dinner.
Pelmeni with Onions and Bacon
Lastly, while not really traditional, this is similar to how we like enjoying our pierogi, so it’s worth mentioning.
If you want a really delicious and indulgent way to serve pelmeni, then consider adding some bacon and onions on top. It’s amazing, especially with some sour cream or butter.
NOTE: For a really gluttonous but delicious take on this version of pelmeni, pan fry your pelmeni a bit in your bacon grease instead of just boiling it. So so so good.
Typical Russian Dishes to Have with Pelmeni
As mentioned above, it’s not that common to eat pelmeni with a bunch of other dishes since they’re already so filling on their own.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking to balance your meal out a bit more, then some ideas might be to add some greens or a light soup to balance out the decadence of the dumplings themselves.
Or, if you really want to have a full Russian-inspired feast, then you might consider having Pelmeni as just one course of many… although be sure to eat them warm, because that’s when they taste best!
Anyway, here are some common Russian dishes that might work well with your pelmeni feast:
Since pelmeni can feel quite heavy once you eat too many, a really great side dish to serve alongside it is Ukrainian Borscht, the iconic sour soup made out of beets, potatoes, and a mix of veggies.
This versatile soup has various iterations, whether you like it hot, cold, with dairy, or without, making it a very adaptable side dish for pelmeni that can suit hot summer days, or cold winter nights.
Here is a great Borscht Recipe to try.
Russian Olivier Salad
Another delicious ways to add some veggies to your pelmeni feast is whipping up a Russian Olivier salad. Sure, it may not be the healthiest salad in the world, but it’s incredibly delicious.
Consisting of a mix of cubed potatoes, carrots, eggs, sausage and peas, all tossed in a creamy mayo sauce, this addictive salad goes great with the flavors of pelmeni, and is super easy to whip together as a bonus.
Here is a great Olivier Salad Recipe to try.
Vinegret (Russian Beet Salad)
Another refreshing side dish to pair with pelmeni is Vinegret, a tangy Russian salad made up of beets, potatoes, carrots, and pickles.
As a bonus, it’s even more delicious if you prep it a day in advance, so all the flavors get a chance to meld together.
Here is a great Vinegret recipe to try.
Koreiskaya Morkovka (Russian Carrot Salad, or ‘Korean Carrots’)
Not a fan of beets? Don’t worry, there are still a lot of great pelmeni side dishes to choose from, like this Russian carrot salad, known in Russian literally as “Korean Carrots”.
These thin slices of carrot are mixed with onions, garlic, and spices to create a refreshing and nutritious side dish.
Here is a great Russian Carrot Salad Recipe to try.
Shchi (Russian Cabbage Soup)
Another tangy soup that would go great with pelmeni is shchi, a refreshing cabbage-based soup that also incorporates potatoes and sauerkraut for an additional kick.
Here is a great Shchi Recipe to try.
If you’re looking for side dishes to serve with pelmeni during the summer, then this Okroshka might be a great choice.
Usually served chilled, Okroshka consists of sour cream, eggs, cucumbers, and ham. It’s the ultimate cold soup and a perfectly creamy pairing to have with pelmeni.
Here is a great Okroshka Recipe to try.
Draniki (Potato Pancakes)
Alright, we’re officially done with the light and refreshing pelmeni side dishes, let’s move onto what you couldmake if you wanted to turn the occasion into a full-on feast.
Draniki refers to crispy potato pancakes made up of shredded potatoes and egg. They’re a simple concept, but oh so delicious… and perfect for pairing with pelmeni if you are looking for something indulgent.
Here is a great Draniki Recipe to try.
Another tasty addition to your feast would be Blini, thin crepe-like pancakes that are popular asa dessert, oer even as a savory snack when topped with caviar.
While we think a sweet Blini would work great as a dessert, having some savory Blini with caviar might just be the extra special addition you need for your pelmeni-centric feast.
Here is a great Blini Recipe to try.
Golubtsi (Stuffed Cabbage)
If you were thinking of having your pelmeni as a starter, then Golubtsi might be a great dish to cook up as a main course.
These tasty stuffed cabbage rolls are a staple of Slavic cuisine, and offer the perfect mix of succulent filling, slightly sour wrapper, and a tasty sauce to pull it all together.
Here is a great Golubtsi Recipe to try.
Another great main course idea if you’re hoping to serve your pelmeni as a starter is the almighty Beef Stroganoff, arguably one of the most famous Russian dishes that has made its way across the world.
Steak, mushrooms, and onions, all combined in a savory and sour cream sauce? Oof, we’re drooling just thinking about it.
And if you think that pelmeni as a starter to beef stroganoff is simply too decadent, then to that say: we don’t need that kind of negativity around here.
Here is a great Beef Stroganoff Recipe to try.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for a sweet treat to end off your pelmeni feast, then these fluffy pancakes known as Oladushki are a must-try.
Light, fluffy, and airy – these pancakes are simply perfection when pan-fried for crispy edges and dusted with a bit of sugar.
Here is a great Oladushki Recipe to try.
Did We Miss Any of Your Favorite Pelmeni Side Dishes?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more recommendations to our list!