Christmas Eve is coming soon, as they say. I say it’s the most important Ukrainian food holiday of the year.
Sviata vecheria is an overwhelming meal to make. But, a lot of the cooking time can be sped up using the Instant Pot with the recipes here on Instant Ukrainian.
If you’re not Ukrainian (or Eastern European), Christmas Eve or Sviata Vecheria is an epic meal of twelve meatless dishes. It has pre-Christian roots although the traditions have adopted Christian meanings.
What’s the real definition of “meatless” here?
- No dairy products are used – no butter, no cheese, no cream
- No meat is used
- Fish is not a meat
Given the central role of butter in many Ukrainian dishes, recipes substitute vegetable oil for butter. This is typically Mazola (corn) oil or canola oil. So, this is a big vegan feast if vegans skip the fish.
Half of these twelve dishes involve cooked onions. If you make one big batch of Instant Onions cooked in vegetable oil instead of butter, you’re way ahead of getting this done.
I’ll be adding new recipes all the time to complete a full Sviata vecheria meal. Subscribe to the Instant Ukrainian newsletter for updates.
An Instant Pot Menu for Sviata vecheria
These are some of the recipes that bring everything together with the Instant Pot. It’s still a lot of work to make twelve dishes – you’ll just be making those dishes faster.
Kutia or Kutya is the first dish of the meal. It’s deeply symbolic of the harvest and paganism and Christianity all at the same time. I’ve got you covered with two different takes on boiled wheat.
Beet soup is really the definitive Ukrainian soup. It’s even more special on Christmas Eve if you include a mushroom or fish dumpling in each bowl.
Cabbage rolls and other cabbage dishes
Rice or buckwheat filled cabbage rolls are an essential part of the Christmas Eve meal. You can make them a few days ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to load up your oven.
Beans are another staple that appear on Christmas Eve. I’ll be adding more options for different bean recipes like “Beeb” and green beans.
- Mashed beans / Kolocheni Fasoli
- Beeb (broad beans)
Pyrohy – Perogies – Varenyky
Dumplings are a highlight of the Christmas Eve meal. When sticking to the meatless nature, pyrohy (pay-ro-hae) as my family calls them, are without any cheese.
Superstitious Ukrainians will tell you that young unmarried men and women count the number of dumplings on their plate. If the number was even, they would get married in the coming year.
- Baba’s best pyrohy – varenyky – perogy dough
- Potato and dill filling
- Sauerkraut filling
- Mushroom filling
- Raisin filling
- Poppy seed filling
- Pidpenky (dried mushrooms) with gravy
- Beets with mushrooms
My Sviata vecheria
- Instant Pot Modern Kutia
- Instant Pot Borscht with mushroom vushka (small mushroom dumplings)
- Rollmops (bought from my local fishmonger)
- Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls / Holubtsi
- Salmon fillet with dill
- Instant Pot Pidpenky / Mushrooms with gravy
- Boiled potato-filled varenyky / perohe served with onions cooked in oil
- Instant Pot Mashed beans / Kolocheni fasoli
- Steamed green beans
- Instant Pot Braised Red Cabbage
- Instant Pot Kolach / Braided Bread
- Instant Pot Compote / Stewed fruit dessert