Updated: Sep 6, 2022
This one-ingredient wonder lets you have your pork and spaetzle, too--even on a Whole30!
To skip to the printable recipe, click here.
We love German food. My husband’s heritage is largely German, and while neither of us have ever been to Germany, it is definitely a place we’d love to visit. Back when we lived in South Florida, we’d escape almost weekly to Old Heidelberg, a vintage-y, Epcot-esque German theme restaurant tucked off Highway 84.
While probably not destined for a series of Michelin stars, everything we tried there was hearty, delicious, and exactly what we wanted it to be. One of the highlights of the Heidelberg experience was happy hour at the bar. With the purchase of a beer, bar patrons would receive a plate granting access to chafing dishes full of goodness. Probably whatever the restaurant needed to get rid of, but nonetheless appealing, there was always some kind of saucy meat paired with some kind of starch. If we were lucky, we’d lift a chafing dish lid to find spaetzle (a sort of rustic, German, dumpling-esque pasta). These starchy squiggles are typically boiled and then gently sauteed with butter and parsley, creating the perfect accompaniment to anything from suckling pig to schnitzel.
In the past, when we’d put on a German feast at home, we’d whip up a wheat-based spaetzle batter and painstakingly poor and push it through the slits of a colander into a pot of boiling water to create the signature squiggles.
Recently I decided we could and should paleo-fy this concept. I considered throwing a paleo batter together and sticking with our traditional method, but then I thought, let’s see if we can simplify.
So here’s the approach: potatoes.
Yep, that’s pretty much it! Peel some russets. Spiralize them. Stash the poodles (potato noodles) in a bowl of acidulated water (water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar) as you go to make sure they don’t brown.
Drop your poodles (and any bits and pieces) into a big pot of salted, gently-boiling water, and cook just till tender.
Use a spider or large, slotted spoon to gently transfer the cooked poodles to a storage vessel and refrigerate for later; or transfer to a hot saute pan with some sizzling ghee (or vegan fat of choice), season with a little salt and pepper, and finish with a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Tips for success:
If your potatoes don’t spiralize perfectly, no worries. Use long, short, bits, pieces--whatever you end up with. The long ones will break into various sizes as they cook anyway, which is what you want. Spaetzle is rustic, and the squiggles (and blobs) are generally no longer than an inch or so. However, starting with long, lovely poodles is a good goal for getting best results.
Don’t dump the cooked poodles into a colander to drain. This can break the potato up too much and make the spaetzle too mushy. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to the saute pan, and handle them gently.
Here's what you'll need:
3-4 russet potatoes, peeled
Splash of lemon juice or vinegar
1-2 T ghee
1 T finely chopped parsley
Salt (and pepper, if desired)
Here's what you'll do:
Fill a large bowl with water and a splash of lemon juice or vinegar.
Spiralize the potatoes according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As the potato noodles come out, transfer them to your acidulated water for holding to keep them from turning brown.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, use a spider to transfer the poodles to the pot, and boil till just tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a saute pan over medium heat.
Use the spider to gently transfer the cooked poodles to the saute pan with the ghee, and saute gently for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt (and pepper, if desired), gently stir in parsley, and serve!
Special tools needed:
For the printable recipe, click here.