I FINALLY MADE SPAETZLE!!!
Like, really good spaetzle! (I mean, judging from the three times I had it in Germany…)
I swore up and down while we were in Germany that I was going to learn to make spaetzle when we got back. And then I swore that I would learn to make a rich and cheesy version with fried onions like the kind I had over there. PLUS I would make some versions loaded with veggies because it would be so easy to make this a healthier meal with just a couple additions.
So today I’m sharing my cheese + vegetable spaetzle. It’s not so much a lighter version of cheese spaetzle, it’s just that I’ve added vegetables so it feels like slightly less of an indulgence.
You may have to see another spaetzle recipe or two from me, because I had so much fun with this and loved how it turned out that I ordered a legit spaetzle maker the next day (which, thanks to Amazon Prime, I’ll have before this post even goes up.) It would really be quite easy to use these little eggy noodly dumplings in a much healthier recipe.
But today I was going for cheesy because that was my favorite in Germany.
The rich cheesy version is exactly the same as this, but you leave out the vegetables and it makes fewer servings (which means each serving has more dumplings, more cheese, and more fried onions. And no redeeming nutritional value.)
Maybe I should back up and tell you exactly what spaetzle is if you don’t know: it’s little dumplings very much like egg noodles. I’ve seen it called dumplings and I’ve seen it called noodles. It’s often served plain or buttered as a side or base with meat and sauce or gravy. But a super common variety is served with cheese and topped with fried onions. That’s the way I had it and what I wanted to remake here. (It’s served in way more dishes, but those are by far the two most predominant ones I noticed on menus.)
So it’s pretty much like German mac and cheese. What’s not to like?
As for the equipment you’ll need to make it, the dumplings form by squishing the dough through some kind of small hole. If you have a colander or steamer with large holes, that would be perfect and you won’t need special equipment. That’s what I was planning to use, but mine didn’t wind up being large enough. I actually used a spaghetti ladle that had drainage slots in the bottom of it! The dumplings turned out slightly larger than what I was going for and what I had in Germany, but they looked and tasted just right!
Okay, okay, enough talking! Here’s the recipe for my yummy cheese + vegetable spaetlze!!!
Oh, and just for the record before we get to it… I’m not going for authenticity here. I’m going for “take me back to vacation.”
- 2 T butter, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 C flour
- 1 t salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 C almond milk
- 1 large tomato
- 1 roasted pepper
- 1 broccoli floret
- 1/4 pound provolone cheese*, grated
- 1/4 pound gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/8 pound parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 T heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- crispy onions for topping**
- *If you can find Emmenthaler cheese, that's a lot more authentic. You can replace the provolone or BOTH the provolone and gruyere with it.
- ** Instead of frying my own, I just used salad topper onions
- First, we're going to caramelize some onions! Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat and add the chopped onion. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, until caramelized.
- To make the dough, whisk flour and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and almond milk together. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. If you have a stand mixer, this would be an ideal time to use it with its dough hook. I sadly do not have one and mixed this bad boy by hand which is SO TIRING. (Worth it.) Mix it for about 10 minutes, until everything is combined and the dough is smooth and stretchy, and still sticks to the sides of the bowl as you mix.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While that boils, prep your veggies. Chop the broccoli into florets and quickly steam (I just microwave it in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of water for 2 minutes), the tomato, and roasted red pepper. Make sure your caramelized onions are done. Add all veggies to a large mixing bowl.
- Spray a small 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
- When the water is boiling, take your spaetzle maker/colander/steamer/slotted spoon 😂 and place a small amount of dough on it. Use a stiff rubber spatula to squish the dough through the slots and drop the little pieces of dough into the boiling water. They only take a few minutes to cook. They'll sink to the bottom at first, then rise to the top of the water. Take them out with a slotted spoon after they've been at the top of the water for about 2-3 minutes. Place them in the mixing bowl with the veggies. When you're done with all your dumplings, toss the dumplings, veggies, cream, and all but 1 cup of cheese together. Give it a quick taste and add salt or pepper if needed. Pour everything into the baking dish, then sprinkle the last cup of cheese on top.
- Bake for just about 10 minutes - everything is cooked and already hot, so you just need the cheese to melt.
- Top with crispy onions!
It sounds like such an in-depth recipe, and it is definitely more work than most of my recipes. But I think after one or two tries, this actually wouldn’t take very long to make. And it was so satisfying and sooo worth it.