Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It is not often that someone seeks me out to want to try to recreate one of their favorite dishes gluten-free. My friend, who grew up in Germany and also blogs about food, really wanted to see if we could make spaetzle, from scratch. When comfort food is involved, the answer is always "yes!"

She grew up eating them with lentils and hot dogs, and I had a craving for green beans. Spaetzle + lentils + green beans + hot dogs = really really good dinner.

Spaetzle (the recipe is a modified version of this)
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup sweet rice flour
2 tbsp corn starch
3 eggs

1. Combine dry ingredients with 3 eggs and mix well.
2. Add enough water for the mixture to come together and be able to form ribbons.
3. Bring a few quarts of well-salted water to a boil.
4. Stir mixture and place between 1/3 and 1/2 cup on a cutting or spaetzle board.
5. Smooth out dough, and draw a small portion of it down towards the edge of the board.
6. Using a butter knife or spaetzle cutter, cut and fling the spaetzle into the boiling water, dipping the blade of the knife in the water after each cut (to help prevent dough from sticking).
7. All to boil for 2-3 more minutes after last spaetzle is in the pot. (they will float when they are done)
8. Remove from water with slotted spoon.
9. Repeat #4-8 till no dough remains. (If the dough starts to dry out, add a little more water to help loosen the batter, but just a little)
10. Serve warm with lentils.

Dough is forming ribbons, this is looking good.

Place some on the cutting board:

Cutting into water:

It is totally working! (much to our surprise)

First batch is out!

1+ cups of lentils
1 carrot, cleaned and quartered
1 rib of celery, cleaned and quartered
1 small onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
vegetable or chicken stock
Red wine vinegar

1. Wash and sort lentils (remove any stones)
2. Add oil and lentils to pan, toast over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add in carrots, celery, onion, bay leave and enough stock to cover.
4. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender 25-40 minutes.
5. Add a few tsp of red wine vinegar (or more to taste).
6. Serve warm over spaetzle.

Green Beans
1 package of frozen green beans (you can use fresh if they are in season)
1 tbsp water
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

1. In a microwave save bowl add green beans and water. Defrost until beans are almost warm but not hot. (If a few are still cold that is perfect)
2. Stir in lemon zest, juice, oil and a pinch of salt.
3. Serve at room temp or chill.

Hot Dogs
Steam or grill to hot. (We added them to the spaetzle water to steam while prepping the rest of the food.)

"German Style Wieners"

The full spread:

Verdict: The spaetzle were far better than I expected. (I honestly thought they would be a giant blob at the bottom of the pot, not formed, recognizable dumplings.) They did stick together after they started to cool, so if I made them again I would put some oil or butter on them in between batches to make sure they stayed separate.
The lentils cooked a bit unevenly, but I think that is because our eyes were focused on the spaetzle. Next time I would add a little bit more water and cook them longer and slower.
The wieners were a nice surprise. They were very mild and reminded me of summer sausage.

I will absolutely make spaetzle again!


  1. The only time I've made spaetzle I've pushed it through a strainer with the back of a spoon (with the indomitable Lindsay C.). Seems like much less work than the cutting method. Would the same dough work, do you think?

  2. The same German-spzetzle-making-friend said that that technique is pretty common, especially in restaurants, but the she does not like it as much because the shape is different.

    I think it "might" work, as long as the dough was handled in small batches.

    So maybe?

  3. OMG right about now I love you. I have been craving spaetzle for a few weeks now, and had yet to find a promising Gf version. I can't wait to find some spare time to try it. THANk-YOU :)

  4. K.Horn - I hope it turns out well for you! I was tempted to use some sorghum flour in the dough, but I am glad I did not. These turned out really well. Next day leftovers were good, but all the dumplings fused together into a blob, but were easy enough to cut apart and were still tender.

    Good luck!

  5. It's amazing what you'll find on google... Hi! It's Karen from Amber and Matt's wedding! I was looking for a recipe for gluten free spaetzle, and was like "Wait a minute, she looks very familiar..." LOL! Small world. :D

    Can't wait to make this with Chicken Paprikash tonight. Hooray!

    Hope all is well with you.

  6. Small world indeed! I hope everything turned out well.

  7. I just saw Frau Lutz makes Spaetzle on YouTube. She had ice water nearby that I'm assuming she moves the noodles to. Then I believe the tradition is to sauté in better. Thank you for the recipe. I appreciate it. I went to a German restaurant and couldn't have the Jaegerschnitzel because it was breaded (to make Americans happy) and was afraid of the brown sauce. I'll be making it at home and have some Spaetzle, too. Thank you.

  8. Ice water! That sounds wonderful, and I be they hold up better. Let me know how they turn out if you make them. I hope they are comforting.

  9. HELLO!!! I am trying these. TONIGHT! I've made spaetzel for years but with the recent switch to gluten free I was really missing them.

  10. Just found your gf spetzle ... I use my husband's opas press. Long or short round noodles. They use butter toasted bread crumbs made in a skillet. Wondering if I could use a gf bread for that but think the butter is the key. :) one family member did run water over them.
    Going to give these a try and hope the cornstarch since it's only 2 tbs.

  11. Totally give it a try with the butter and breadcrumbs! I would start with a small batch in a pan so you can get enough breadcrumbs to coat so they don't stick together. Let us know how they turn out!

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