Friday, November 25, 2011

Whole wheat vegan spaetzel

...dare I say it...of genius?  Maybe I should just come out and say that urad flour has been very, very lucky for me.

So I'm at the gym after work, pounding out my cardio and feeling rather faint with hunger, so that I'm automatically translating into veganese anything I'm seeing on Food TV and wanting it all right now, and Michael Smith comes on and he's making a sort of pot roast and spaetzel to go with it.

Well, I veganized the pot roast in my mind instantaneously and have an idea for creating one of my own with okara seitan rolled around a Middle Eastern-style stuffing made with dried fruit, but as I don't get home from work until after 6:00 there wouldn't be time today.  The spaetzel, the time the bus ride was over I was practically running to get into the kitchen and put my plan into action.  Here's the recipe I used:

Whole wheat vegan spaetzel
serves 1

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp All-season blend (see sidebar; you could substitute plain nutritional yeast or black salt or a mixture of both)
1 tbsp urad flour
pinch nutmeg
enough soy milk to make a sticky, soft, but not runny batter

Have a big pot of salted water rapidly boiling.  Mix the ingredients together.  The batter should be soft enough not to hold its shape, but thick enough not to be actually dripping off the spoon.  There is probably an easier way to do this, but I did what Michael did, and forced batter with a wide spatula through the large holes in a grater from the inside.  The grater here is used just for its holes, not for grating anything.  You put a glob of batter into the grater and squish it out with the spatula into the boiling water.  In my kitchen, this got a little messy.  Little blobs of dough fall out of the grater and into the water, and after a few seconds they rise to the top.  They're done!  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon into a colander to drain.

They're done, but not quite cooked.  They need a little more in a non-stick skillet with a tiny bit of vegan margarine (I used Becel Vegan):

Ooh, I was stoked!  Aren't these cute?  And they tasted as good as they look.  The All-season blend has nutritional yeast in it and a little bit of turmeric, which gave them their yellowish colour and a lovely brothy flavour.

This was served with meatballs made from leftover port wine uncheese (from Joanne Stepaniak's The Uncheese Cookbook) which is excellent but a little too salty for me--her recipe called for "sweet miso" but I'm not sure what that is, and so used regular white miso.  Anyway, I cut it with some tomato sauce, TVP, and a bit of oatmeal, formed it into balls, baked it for a while, and rolled it in mushroom gravy.  Also featured are some wonderful braised kabocha squash, green beans, and for a tart flavour balance, sliced tomato.  Great supper!

On edit:  I did a little more research after the fact, and here are some links to other vegan spaetzel recipes:

  • You can get at the Urban Vegan's recipe on Google Books if you don't already own her book (no pictures though)--it's like a runny basic dumpling recipe
  • The queen of links on technique, of course, is to Bryanna Clark Grogan's blog: though it does not include a recipe, there are lots of pictures and sub-links of various machines and contrivances you can use to make spaetzel
  • Tofu666 makes his with tofu
  • The Village Vegan uses a bit of soy flour and has a picture of spaetzel made in a ricer (long and skinny as you'd expect); she suggests serving them with lentils, onions, salt and pepper--yum!
  • Veggies Have a Heart uses EnerG and pressed her dough through a colander
  • The Vegan Epicurean adds herbs to her tofu-based spaetzel

...and they all look just as good as mine.  I think it's wonderful that there are so many inventive vegans out there, experimenting away...


  1. I was just talking about Spaetzel the other day! I've never had it but there's a great German beer hall around here that serves some that my friend always gets. The Urban Vegan cookbook has a recipe that involves squeezing the dough through a ricer or a colander but it looks like you figured it out! They do look cute.
    I also love your final plate. I recently ate kabocha squash for the first time and it is great!

  2. Okay, I gotta try this, although I may go for a version that doesn't include dal simply because the idea of adding *yet another flour* to my freezer makes me cringe. As usual, amazing eats!!!

  3. thay look awesome!

    I use a grater to make them as well, there are spätzle presses, but I don't think one needs them.

    Anyway: I stopped by to tell you that those are called "Knöpfle", too (shorter, rounder spaetzle variations).

  4. I've always loved the word spaetzel. Lately I've been avoiding wheat, so I'll have to look at some of the alternative ways to make it. It looks great — especially surrounded by all the amazing veggies.

  5. Foodfeud, as you know, I believe kabocha squash to be the original ambrosia of the gods, hands down the best squash on the planet, and I'm always pleased to have someone agree with me ;-)

    Thanks, Stacy. I would have thought that spaetzle without the magic ingredient (urad flour) would turn to flour soup in the boiling water and utterly fail, but from these other blogs apparently not, but I'll be interested in reading about your efforts, if you post them. Anyone who can make a killer tortilla should be able to master these no problem.

    Thanks, Cara. Knopfle! I'll remember. But then what are spaetzel? The longer ones?

    Andrea, I bet you could make killer spaetzel out of a mixture of, say, rice flour and urad or some other bean flour, or even potatoes...

  6. Knöpfle are spaetzle, too, but the shorter, rounder variation. Austrians would call them "Nockerl".
    So yours are spaetzle, Knöpfle and Nockerl. :)

    The longer thin ones are only called "Spätzle" (well there might be regional names I don't know).

  7. Wow! Urad dal in the spaetzel! This looks great!

    Btw, my spaetzel have always been small like yours since they get pushed through the colander. My family also makes the Austrian nockerl (phonetically, it was always nokola to me) but they were much bigger: chunks of an inch or so,

  8. I for some reason have never made spaetzel, though I remember thinking I should back when Bryanna made that post. I love the whole wheat idea. This might be the post that gets me to actually make it!