Gluten-Free Eastern European Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes

Vegetable-filled Pierogis to Matzo Ball Soup

Hands all reaching in to pizza

Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

Eastern Europeans are very health conscious and many are strict vegetarians or vegans. Others are gluten-free devotees, but not because of Celiac disease; they simply believe gluten just isn't good for you. As a result, there are plenty of traditional Eastern European recipes made without gluten, both vegetarian and vegan.

  • 01 of 08

    Gluten-Free Pierogi Dough

    A plate of pierogis

    Polana Foods

    This gluten-free pierogi dough recipe allows anyone to enjoy the traditional half-moon-shaped dumplings. By simply using gluten-free flour, along with eggs, oil, salt, and water, you can achieve a similar dough to be rolled out and shaped into this Eastern European delight. Fill with your favorite vegetarian or vegan ingredients, such as a sauerkraut and mushroom mixture.

  • 02 of 08

    Serbian/Croatian Gluten-Free Nut Roll

    Gluten-Free Croatian Nut Roll Recipe Image Teri Gruss

    The Spruce / Teri Gruss

    A classic Eastern European dessert, a nut roll is a log-shaped sour cream dough filled with a sweet walnut mixture. Once the flour is replaced with typical gluten-free ingredients, this rich and well-loved dessert is fair game for anyone. Although the recipe calls for several specialized ingredients—such as sorghum flour, potato starch, and guar gum—once you are familiar with gluten-free baking, these will be staples in your pantry.

  • 03 of 08

    Gluten-Free Polish Poppy Seed Roll

    Poppy seed roll

    Zvonimir Atletic / Getty Images

    Another popular Eastern European dessert, a makowiec is a jelly roll-style cake filled with a sweet poppy seed mixture. In this version, the flour has been swapped out for gluten-free flour and xanthan gum and the amount of yeast has been decreased. Feel free to use pre-made poppy seed filling for even quicker preparation.

  • 04 of 08

    Vegan Moussaka


    Kate Whitaker / Getty Images

    It may surprise you to learn that Greek isn't the only cuisine with a moussaka on the menu; Croatians, Hungarians, and other Eastern Europeans make this layered eggplant dish regularly. This vegan recipe substitutes soy milk in the bechamel sauce and uses tempeh in place of the ground meat. In order to make the recipe gluten-free, you will need to use gluten-free breadcrumbs in place of regular in the moussaka and a gluten-free flour instead of spelt flour for the bechamel sauce.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Vegan Baked Potato Latkes

    Celery Root Latkes with Roasted Garlic Herb Sour Cream
    Lora Wiley-Lennartz

    Latkes—fried potato pancakes—are traditionally made with eggs, but this vegan recipe uses ground flax seeds to hold everything together. To make them gluten-free, replace the spelt flour with brown rice flour. This recipe stands out from the original latke version as these pancakes are baked instead of fried, making for quicker and cleaner preparation. Feel free to top with a variety of flavors, including apple sauce, vegan sour cream, and crispy shallots.

  • 06 of 08

    Vegetable Soup With Vegan and Gluten-Free Matzo Balls

    Matzo ball soup in bowls.

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This recipe is soy-free and nut-free, and if the matzo balls are made solely with quinoa (or are eliminated completely), the soup becomes gluten-free. But don't expect bubbe's big fluffy matzo balls; the quinoa makes them much denser but still palatable. Full of vegetables such as onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes, this soup can be a meal in itself—with or without the matzo balls.

  • 07 of 08

    Vegan Jewish Honey Cake

    Honey cake next to apples

    yula / Getty Images

    A honey cake is a fixture in the Ashkenazic Rosh Hashanah tradition as honey is a symbol of a sweet New Year. But when filled with eggs and flour, this traditional dessert is not safe for vegan and gluten-free diets. This recipe is not only vegan but also soy-free and can be made nut-free by eliminating the almonds. To make the recipe gluten-free, replace the whole-wheat pastry flour with gluten-free and make sure the baking powder is gluten-free. And, contrary to the recipe's name, this cake is made with agave nectar or pure maple syrup instead of honey.

  • 08 of 08

    Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons

    Almond macaroons on plate

    emmaduckworth / Getty Images

    Macaroons are a popular Passover dessert as they do not contain any flour. This recipe for coconut macaroons is made with only three ingredients—sweetened flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. And it couldn't be easier—simply mix the ingredients together, drop into mounds on a cookie sheet, and bake until golden and crispy. Drizzle with or dip into melted chocolate for a special added touch.