Kid-friendly Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi + Crazy Color-Changing Cream + Crimson Cranberry Soda Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi + Crazy Color-Changing Cream + Crimson Cranberry Soda

Family Meal Plan: Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi + Crazy Color-Changing Cream + Crimson Cranberry Soda

Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi + Crazy Color-Changing Cream + Crimson Cranberry Soda

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by joanna wnuk/
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi

Have you ever noticed that nearly every culture and country has its own version of a dumpling? Whether baked, fried, steamed, or boiled, the sheer variety of dumplings is impressive. There's Japanese "gyoza" and Argentine "empanadas" and Italian "ravioli"—the list goes on and on. A person could go on a world tour of dumplings and never tire of them!  

If you haven't tried the Eastern European version of a dumpling, "pierogi" (pih-ROH-ghee), you're in for a treat. Pierogi are little pillows of dough stuffed with something delicious, then boiled or fried. Traditional Eastern European pierogi fillings include potato, meat, cheese, or vegetables and are typically served alongside a sauce or dip.  

Our Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi recipe features a mainstay of Polish cuisine: cabbage! Now, before you say, "my kid doesn't like cabbage!"—I get it! But in my experience, this recipe can be a game-changer for children who think they don't like cabbage. In part, it's because the flavor of the cabbage—which can be quite bitter—mellows with cooking, so it's more appealing to young palates. Plus, the dumplings themselves are awfully cute and the perfect size for dipping! Give them a try!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • 1 lemon, or 2 lemons if using for drink garnish
  • 2 T butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub olive or vegetable oil)**
  • 3/4 C sour cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free sour cream or yogurt)**
  • 12 wonton wrappers **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub rice paper wrappers)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 1 C cranberry juice (your choice of flavor and sweetness)
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 C ice (optional)

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • dip :

    to briefly put a solid food, such as chips, fries, battered fried fish, hot sandwich (French dip), or veggie slices, into a liquid, like beef broth or a thicker sauce, like ketchup, dressing, or a dip to impart moisture and extra flavor to the solid food.

  • garnish :

    to decorate a dish or plate of food to enhance its flavor or appearance, using things like parsley, fruit slices, or edible flowers.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Pitcher
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Large skillet
  • Wooden spoon
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Heat-resistant spatula


Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi

  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • 2 T butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub olive or vegetable oil)**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 12 wonton wrappers **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub rice paper wrappers)**

Crazy Color-Changing Cream

  • 3/4 C sour cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free sour cream or yogurt)**
  • 1/4 C cooked red cabbage (from Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi recipe)
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 T lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Crimson Cranberry Soda

  • 3 C sparkling water
  • 1 C cranberry juice (your choice of flavor and sweetness)
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional garnish)
  • 2 C ice (optional)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi

  • Dairy: Substitute olive or vegetable oil for butter in Pierogi. 
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute rice paper wrappers for wonton wrappers in Pierogi.


Crazy Color-Changing Cream

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free sour cream or yogurt for sour cream in Cream.


Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi


Pierogi (pih-ROH-ghee) are a type of dumpling that originated in Poland. They are often filled with potatoes, cabbage or various kinds of meats. Red cabbage will give this recipe a unique, purple color. Caution: Red cabbage can stain clothes! Try counting to 5 in Polish while you stir during this recipe: 1 jeden (YEH-den), 2 dwa (d’va), 3 trzy (tsay), 4 cztery (STEH-ray), 5 pięć (PEE-ench).

chop + sauté

Chop the 1/2 head of purple cabbage into small pieces. Combine the cabbage with 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté this mixture for 5 minutes.

squeeze + reserve

Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooked cabbage for the Crazy Color-Changing Cream (see recipe). Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon over the remaining cabbage mixture and transfer to a mixing bowl. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes or more to develop a strong flavor.

recipe note

This sauce takes advantage of the chemical anthocyanin. This chemical is naturally occurring in red cabbage, and it is an acid-base indicator. This means the sauce should change color depending on which one you mix with the red cabbage, a base or an acid: pink or red for acids and green or blue for bases. Have kids try and guess what color the sauce will be at the end of the recipe.

arrange + fill + shape

Lay the **12 wonton wrappers out on a cutting board. Brush them with a small amount of water. This will make the wrapper stick when sealing it. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of the cabbage mixture in the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally, bringing two of the corners together with a pinch. The pierogi will have a triangular shape. Be sure to pinch the pierogi firmly to seal.

allergy note

If you are using rice papers to make the dish gluten free, follow this step for preparing the rice paper wrappers. These types of wrappers are crunchy and hard, so you have to soften the wrappers with water. Dunk the rice paper in water for about 10 seconds. Now they should be ready for the rest of the steps of the recipe.

sauté + serve

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Spread the butter throughout the pan. Lay all the pierogi in an even layer in the skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes (roughly 2 minutes on each side) or until golden brown. Dip and dunk the Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi in the Crazy Color-Changing Cream (see recipe)!

Crazy Color-Changing Cream


Red cabbage can stain clothes!

measure + whisk

Measure and combine the following ingredients in a medium mixing bowl: 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup cooked red cabbage (from Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi recipe), 1 pinch of sugar, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1/2 lemon. Whisk all the ingredients thoroughly.

recipe tidbit

The lemon will react with the red cabbage and create a color-changing effect. Be sure to add the lemon juice as the last ingredient to achieve the most drastic color change possible.

serve + dip

Serve alongside the Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi (see recipe) for a perfect dip pairing.

Crimson Cranberry Soda

combine + whisk + taste

Measure and combine 3 cups sparkling water, 1 cup cranberry juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add a little extra sugar if necessary (especially if using unsweetened cranberry juice).

pour + garnish

Pour the drink into cups, add ice if using, and garnish each with a slice of lemon.

Surprise Ingredient: Cabbage!

back to recipe
Photo by Epov Dmitry/

Hi! I'm Cabbage!

"I come in a few different colors and shapes, but I'm usually green or red (which is really purple-red) with tightly packed leaves forming a round head. You may be most familiar with me shredded in coleslaw and cooked for a St. Patrick's Day dinner with corned beef."

  • Cabbage was likely domesticated before 1000 BCE in Europe, and the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used it in their cuisines. Cabbage was introduced to Asia and the Americas sometime between the 1500s and the 1700s and was considered a staple food in Europe by the 18th century. 
  • China produces the most cabbage worldwide, but Russia consumes the most per person.
  • The word "cabbage" is late Middle English from the Old French (Picard dialect) "caboche" ("head"), a variant of Old French "caboce." 
  • Cabbage has many relatives (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens). All of these vegetables are part of a family called "Brassica." 
  • The cabbage head grows in the center of a cabbage plant. Initially, the plant produces large, broad leaves, but eventually, the inner leaves begin to curl around a short, thick stem at the center. These inner leaves form the head of cabbage we see in markets. 
  • Green cabbage is the most common type. It has thick green leaves that are packed close together in the head. One head can weigh from one pound to nine pounds! You can cook it as a standalone veggie, add raw cabbage to coleslaw, use it to make cabbage rolls, or add it to soups and stews. 
  • There are a few varieties of green cabbage, including the pointed cabbage, which is shaped like a cone! Savoy cabbage is a smaller, milder variety with tender, wrinkly leaves that you can use to make cabbage rolls or add to salads and stir-fries.
  • Red cabbage is popular in coleslaw and salads because of its color and crunchy texture. You can also pickle red cabbage to serve as a condiment to top burgers or tacos, or serve it as a side, especially with German dishes. 
  • White cabbage comes from the Netherlands and is also called Dutch cabbage. It is a type of green cabbage with very pale green to white leaves, although there is also a red variety. The Dutch variety is good for making sauerkraut, although you can also use it in the same way as green and red cabbage.
  • Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage, is oblong with light green and yellow leaves and has a long, thick, and crunchy stem. It has a mild flavor and is popular in Asian cuisine in soups, spring rolls, stir-fries, and as wraps for pork and seafood.  
  • Cabbage is high in fiber and vitamins C and K. Vitamin K is good for the blood. A cup of raw cabbage has more vitamin C than an orange!
  • Different varieties of cabbages have varying nutritional strengths. For example, red cabbage has more vitamins C and B6 and antioxidants called anthocyanins that help keep your heart healthy, while the green savoy has more vitamins A and B9 (folate). 
  • Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of phytochemicals, naturally-occurring plant chemicals that may protect people against some forms of cancer.

What are Pierogi?

Photo by Brent Hofacker/
  • "Pierogi" (pih-ROH-ghee) are delicate dumplings that use unleavened dough (a dough made without yeast, such as flatbread). They were initially thought to be food for peasants, but the dumplings became popular and spread throughout all the social classes, including nobles. 
  • Pierogi are stuffed with endless fillings such as mashed potatoes, farmer's cheese, sauerkraut, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, ground beef, and even healthy grains or legumes such as millet, buckwheat, or lentil. Since you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to pierogi fillings, you can find varieties from sweet to salty to spicy.
  • Pierogi is Poland's national dish and is enjoyed year-round by all ages. Pierogi have been made in Poland since the 13th century, with some suggesting that the original form came from China through Italy during the Marco Polo expeditions. 
  • It would be naive to think pierogi are not distant cousins of the world's other dumpling varieties, from Chinese dumplings to Italian "agnolotti" and "ravioli."
  • In earlier times, pierogi were prepared for holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and weddings. Each holiday had its own designated pierogi ingredients. Most Polish families still enjoy the traditional cabbage, sauerkraut, and mushroom pierogi on Christmas Eve as part of their "Wigilia Dinner." You might enjoy our SFC recipe, Purple Polish Savory Cabbage Pierogi.

Let's Learn About Poland!

Photo by Dobra Kobra/
  • Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It shares a border with Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine. It also borders the Baltic Sea.
  • The capital and largest city is Warsaw, and the official language is Polish. The government is a unitary parliamentary republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament. It has 16 administrative provinces called "voivodeships." The Polish flag is designed with two horizontal stripes of white and red, which are officially Poland's national colors.
  • Poland is part of the European Union but uses the "złoty" as its currency, not the euro.
  • The country's land area is 120,733 square miles, slightly smaller than the US State of New Mexico, and its population is over 38 million. 
  • Poland's central and northern region is part of the Central European Plain, which is flat, but the southern area has hills and mountains. Mountain ranges in the south include the Sudetes and the Carpathians. In addition, it has 440 miles of shoreline along the Baltic Sea.
  • Its climate is generally temperate, with wet, cold winters and mild summers. 
  • Poland has 23 national parks. Two of these are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Poland produces agricultural products such as potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat, poultry, eggs, pork, and dairy. It is also involved in the manufacturing sector, producing iron, steel, coal, chemicals, and machinery.
  • Poland's national symbol is the white-tailed eagle. Every year on November 11, the Polish people celebrate their 1918 independence from the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires.
  • One of Poland's most famous scientists was Nicolaus Copernicus. He was a 16th-century astronomer and mathematician who was the first to say that the Sun was at the center of our solar system (what they thought was the universe at that time) rather than the Earth. 
  • In the early 20th century, the Polish scientist Maria Skłodowska-Curie, who lived and worked in France, was the first person and only woman to win two Nobel Prizes, the first in physics and the second in chemistry.
  • Mariusz Pudzianowski, from Poland, won the World's Strongest Man championships five times, more than any other competitor in the event's history.
  • The wisent (European bison) and the white stork are considered national animals of Poland.
  • "Pierogi" (filled dumpling), "kielbasa" (meat sausage), "bigos" (meat stew with sauerkraut), and "babka" (sweet braided bread) are well-known Polish dishes. The "bagel" came from Jewish communities in Poland and was mentioned in written material from 1610 in Kraków. These foods and many others came with Jewish immigrants to the United States.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Poland?

  • Polish children attend school from October through June, with a summer break from July through September. The English language is a compulsory subject in school. 
  • Kids may play "dwa ognie" (d'vah ohg-nee-ay), a game of dodgeball, "berek" (BEHR-eck), a game of tag, or "chowanego" (hoh-VAN-ay-go), or hide and seek. They also may participate in various sports, like football (soccer), volleyball, track and field, swimming, or karate.
  • In Poland, a child's Name Day may be celebrated in addition to their birthday. 
  • Kids may enjoy going with their families to the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw with its hundreds of exhibits, theaters, and planetarium. They may also go hiking or skiing together in the mountains or visit a water park, amusement park, or dinosaur park!

  • For a quick meal or snack, Polish kids may eat chicken or tomato soup, Polish pancakes or potato pancakes, or "pierogi" (filled dumplings). For a sweet snack or dessert, kids may enjoy "paczki," a filled yeast doughnut, "sernik," a cheesecake, and "makowiec," a sweet poppy seed roll cake.

That's Berry Funny

How does a farmer mend his pants? 

With Cabbage patches!

That's Berry Funny

How much does a Chinese dumpling weigh?

Wonton! (One ton!)

That's Berry Funny

Why did the cranberries turn red? 

Because they saw the turkey dressing!

That's Berry Funny

Any leftover cabbage can and will be shredded and mixed with mayonnaise.

That's Cole's Law!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a German cabbage that's getting clean? 


THYME for a Laugh

"Why are you taking that sour cream into the pool?"

"Because I want to take a dip in the water."

Lettuce Joke Around

What’s the difference between a pirate and a cranberry farmer? 

A pirate buries his treasure, but a cranberry farmer treasures his berries.

That's Berry Funny

What do you call grumpy soft serve?

Sour cream!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a cabbage with a body? 

Head and shoulders above the rest.

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