German Food Travel Guide for Vegetarians
Are you a vegetarian foodie who is looking for traditional German dishes to try on your trip to Germany? I have got you covered! May these 20 German Vegetarian Dishes inspire you to discover German vegetarian cuisine when travelling through Germany!
German cuisine is so much more than sausage, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. In the past, not everybody could afford meat, and therefore, there are still many traditional vegetarian options here in Germany. Don’t worry; you don’t have to eat only hummus and avocados (and you shouldn’t! As both are not local ingredients and let’s be honest, Germany is not a land where you want to enjoy avocado).
German cuisine consists really of many regions and local cuisines. In every area, even as a vegetarian, you will find at least one traditional vegetarian meal that you can try! In addition to that, there are even more traditional vegetarian dishes that you can find almost anywhere. Let me show you how to travel to Germany as a vegetarian.
German Vegetarian Street Food
1. Flammkuchen – Tarte flambe
Flammkuchen is one of those traditional dishes that you cannot skip while travelling through Germany. It comes from Alsace, the French region that used to belong to Germany. In the past, you could find Flammkuchen only in the regions at the French-German border, but Flammkuchen got very popular, and now you can find it all over Germany. Traditionally Flammkuchen consists of the bread dough, crème fraîche, thin-sliced onions, and lardons. It’s a simple dish with a strong taste. This dish used to be prepared to check the heat of the wood-fire ovens before baking the bread. If the Flammkuchen was done in 1-2 minutes, the oven was warm enough to start baking the bread.
Nowadays you can find Flammkuchen also with vegetarian toppings. My favourite one is the one with German mountain cheese and slices of red pepper. What a treat!
2. Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus – Potato pancakes with apple sauce
Potato pancakes are one of the most famous German vegetarian street food dishes. There is no Christmas market without a vendor that wouldn’t sell them. The traditional way to eat German pancakes would be the apple sauce. If you like to try them savoury, eat them with German Quark (white cheese) mixed with garlic and herbs, or herbs only, depending on the vendor.
German Vegeterian Dishes
3. Käsespetzle – Cheese Spätzle
Those popular German soft-egg noodles are famous for a reason. Spätzle are usually served as a side dish with any saucy dishes or as a main meal mixed with cheese. In both cases, they have extraordinary taste. In the region at the Swabian and Bavarian border, they add an alpine cheese mixture what makes them taste delicious. Cheese Spätzle are usually fried with butter and then mixed with cheese mixture and served with fried onions on the top and a side salad.
4. Ofenkartoffeln mit Quark // Pellkartoffeln und Quark mit Leinöl – Baked or jacket potatoes served with Quark (German Curd Cheese)
This is undoubtedly one of my favourite German vegetarian dishes of all time! The dish kills with its simplicity. It contains potatoes baked in foil and served with quark on the top and usually a side salad. Quark is usually seasoned in different ways, the most popular way to season it is with fresh herbs, salt and pepper. It has a lot of protein, and it has the consistency of a thick sauce, that goes very well with oven-baked potatoes!
German Vegetarian Seasonal Food
Many German restaurants offer dishes cooked from regional and seasonal ingredients. The ”specials” section on the menu very often contain seasonal dishes, which is such a great way to celebrate changing seasons of the year. Below you will find the list of seasonal vegetarian dishes that you try on your trip to Germany.
5. Bärlauchsuppe – Wild garlic soup
As soon as spring comes knocking on our doors, the Mother Earth gives us all the green goodies. One of those is a plant native to Europe – wild garlic. In Germany, we prepare wild garlic in many different ways, but the most popular once are wild garlic soup and wild garlic pesto. Wild garlic soup is usually made with potatoes, as they have a milder taste and make wild garlic taste not as strong as it would taste on its own! Trust me; you need something creamy with this strong-tasting plant!
6. Spargelsuppe – Wild asparagus soup
Wild asparagus soup is undoubtedly my favourite spring dish or all! White Asparagus soup is made of the white asparagus broth that is made from cooking white asparagus in water with some spices. The soup has a very delicate but irreplaceable taste. When you are travelling in Germany in spring, you won’t escape it.
7. Spargel, Kartoffel, Sauce Hollandaise – White asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise and Potatoes
White asparagus is one of those dishes that we enjoy eating the most in spring. If you have never tried white asparagus you need to know that it has a unique taste. Although this dish is traditionally served with ham, you can surely order it without it. Let’s be honest, potatoes, sauce hollandaise or butter compliment white asparagus perfectly!
8. Pfifferlingesuppe – Chanterelle Soup
The mushroom season here in Germany starts already in early autumn. One of the most popular mushrooms to collect are the chanterelle. Chanterelle are traditionally served either in a soup or as mentioned below with bread dumplings.
9. Pfifferlinge mit Semmelknödel – Creamy Chanterelle served with Bread Dumplings
This seasonal vegetarian dish appears on the restaurant menus end of summer, along with the previously mentioned soup. Semmelknödel are German dumplings that are made from stale bread rolls, and they go well with saucy dishes. Creamy chanterelle sauce included! During the rest of the year, the dumplings might be also served with creamy white mushrooms instead.
10. Maronensuppe – Chestnuts soup
Wintertime in Germany is one of the most magical times in a year. In every Christmas market or restaurant, you will find many German specialties and among those are the chestnuts. One of the most popular ways to eat them is as a cream soup and trust me; you won’t be disappointed when you try it!
11. Kürbissuppe – Pumpkin Soup
Another soup that we enjoy in the winter season is the creamy pumpkin soup. You can find Hokkaido pumpkins (the most popular sort of pumpkin used for cooking here is Germany) in the German grocery stores already in September. In October you cannot escape it anymore and it’s hard to resist. Among all, the most classic pumpkin dish here in Germany is the soup.
12. Obatzter, Obazda – Bavaria
This interesting cheese spread is a Bavarian speciality and it is commonly served as an appetiser along with Bavarian beer. The spread contains usually camembert and butter as well as paprika powder, salt and pepper. In some recipes, you can also find beer, raw onions, cream cheese, garlic, horseradish, caraway seeds or cloves. In Bavaria the cheese is served with either bread or a pretzel. Since 2015 Obatzter have got protected geographical indication certificate which means that it cannot be served anywhere else but Bavaria.
Here in Frankfurt, we have also a similar spread that is called Sachsenhäuser Schneegestöber and this one is a mixture of Camembert, butter, cream cheese, onions, paprika powder and salt. The speed is served as a starter along with Frankfurt’s apple wine.
13. Dampfnudeln/Germnknödel – German Yeast Dumplings
When travelling to Bavaria you cannot miss one of those!
Dampfnudeln and Germnknödel are yeast dumplings, but the method of preparation differs. Dampfnudeln are usually steamed, and “fried” in a pan with water mixed with sugar (that gives them a caramel crust at the bottom) and Germnknödel are usually filled with plum jam and then cooked or steamed. Yeast dumplings are served hot with vanilla sauce, butter, sugar or poppy seeds.
14. Gebackene Kloßscheiben – Fried Potato Dumplings
If you think that the boiled potato dumplings are the best dumplings in the world you have never had pan-fried potato dumplings. The dish is popular in Thuringia where you can also find it on the restaurant menus. For me, it is the best way to use cooked potato dumplings. In our home, we always make sure that we have some leftovers to fry!
15. Halve Hahn – Cheese Starter from Cologne
Halve Hahn means half chicken, but stop! This is misleading! Halve Hahn has nothing to do with a chicken. The appetizer contains gouda cheese served with a rye bread roll, raw onions, butter, sour cucumber, mustard, and paprika powder on the top. The meal is popular in Rheinland. There are few theories why it is called that way; one tells the story about a waiter who didn’t understand what the guest ordered and brought instead of chicken that the guest ordered simply bread rolls with cheese. The other story says that the name comes from Hand Cheese (that was previously used instead of Gouda among more impoverished people).
16. Grüne Soße mit Eiern – Frankfurt Green Sauce
Green Sauce is the most popular dish in Frankfurt and for a good reason – it is mouthwatering. The sauce is sour cream-based, mixed with seven different herbs and seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper. To change the sauce consistency, it is common to add minced hard-boiled eggs to it. Traditionally green sauce is served with hard-boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs.
17. Kochkäse – Cooked cheese spread from Hessen
Kochkäse means cooked cheese and describes precisely what the dish is. The preparation of “cooked cheese” is rather easy. You need to heat quark to 42 degrees Celcius. Add natron, butter, cream, caraway seeds, salt and sometimes egg yolk and mix well. The spread goes well with the rye bread. In some restaurants, the cheese spread is made with sour milk cheese like Herzer or Hand cheese what makes the dish strong-tasting. In Hessia is cooked cheese often served with “music” – raw onion sauce, made from sunflower oil, vinegar, raw onions, and sometimes caraway seeds.
18. Eier mit Senfsoße – Eggs with Mustard Sauce and Potatoes
Above you can see another traditional and straightforward poverty meal from Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin. The meal contains hard-boiled potatoes, roux mustard sauce and hard-boiled eggs. In some German regions, this dish is also called Mostrich-Eier, where mostrich means mustard in which instead of vinegar most has been used.
19. Gebratene Schupfnudeln mit Kraut – Fried Potato Dumplings with Sauerkraut
Schupfnudeln are small German potato dumplings that come traditionally from Swabia. The dish is usually served with sauerkraut and bacon, although in many cases you can find them as a vegetarian meal without the bacon. Schupfnudeln are typical street food that can be found at street food markets and big festivals, in a large frying pan or wok.
20. Handkäse mit Musik
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