Over the last couple of years, the Thanksgiving torch has been passed to my husband and I. We offered to cook it about three years ago, and we’ve cooked it every year since. Despite my dairy allergy and the fact that I eat nothing like my or Steven’s family, we’ve been able to successfully marry (hah) our traditions and serve a Thanksgiving dinner that’s gone over well each year.
Of those traditions one of the ones I love the most is having green beans with spaetzle, and as my husband is second generation-German American, he loves it as well. When I was young my parents bought the Bird’s Eye green beans and spaetzle that came in the frozen box and was covered in garlic butter. Obviously, that’s no longer an option and after trying unsuccessfully for two years to find vegan spaetzle (as again, I don’t eat eggs other than my chickens and a key ingredient is butter), I decided to learn to make it for Thanksgiving this year. I’m happy to report that we had just a little bit left (what you see in the picture above) and people were eating it cold before dinner, a sure sign of success.
To make this, you can opt to buy the $10 spaetzle grater from Amazon. I did, and it worked really well, but it’s not necessary. The first time I made it, I actually painstakingly hand rolled little pieces of spaetzle so it looked authentic. You don’t have to be as dedicated/crazy as I am. I’ll cover a much easier way, below.
Extra bonus: my spaetzle was gluten-free. Not that any of our guests were celiac, but ya know.
Ingredients (Makes 6 servings (3 if you’re my family — we’re serious about our spaetzle) and takes about 15 minutes):
- 1 cup all-purpose (GF, whole wheat, whatever is in your pantry) flour
- 1/4 cup original rice milk
- 2 eggs (I’m going to try it with either egg replacer or that new vegan yolk thing and will update when I do)
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to taste (I’m pretty liberal with this)
- 4ish cups of water
- 3 tablespoons of earth-balance no-soy butter (or whichever butter you prefer)
- Mixing implemented
- Optional spaetzle grater
- Spoon of some sort
Put water in pot and set to boil.
Note: This is where you’ll see how awful I am at following directions/teaching people to cook proper.
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. I know, there’s probably a proper folding technique, but this IS a 15 minute spaetzle recipe. The mix should be goopey and kind of shiny – or it looked shiny, but that could have been the wine kicking in – when it’s done.
If you have the spaetzle grater, load it in the top and run the grater portion back and forth, kind of like a cheese grater, into the boiling water. You’ll get little pieces of batter that fall in. They’ll clump together somewhat in the pot. Stir a bit to make sure you’re not getting a big ball of spaetzle, but it comes apart on it’s own for the most part. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter or made all the spaetzle you want.
If you don’t have a spaetzle grater, just break it up as it goes in with your hands, or let it ball up and break it apart when it’s done cooking. Easy as that. Or you can be awesome like me and hand roll little spaetzle pieces. Either way.
Let boil until the newly formed pasta is solid but still soft. It should be kind of bouncy. (Wow, describing cooked pasta is way harder than I would have imagined. I should have probably just ripped this part off from another blog, but I’m trying to keep it real). Pour the water and spaetzle into a colander in your sink and run cold water over it.
Fun fact: pasta is still cooking even after you take it out of the hot water, so running cold water over it prevents it from getting too mushy. You might be asking how you serve it warm. Well, good question. In the case of pastas that you’re putting sauce on, put it back in the pan, apply your sauce and let the whole thing warm up together. In the case of spaetzle, see the next paragraph.
You can eat spaetzle cold or you can lightly saute it in olive oil until golden brown, preferably with green beans. Either way it is delicious. Though, as a fair warning some think eating cold spaetzle is as “weird” as eating sauerkraut out of the jar (cough husband cough). There’s just no accounting for taste.