Krautfleckerl is a traditional food from Austria which is fortunately unintentionally vegan, if you prepare them without bacon, as Viennese Krautfleckerl should be. They are made out of noodles (Fleckerl pasta) and caramelized cabbage. This typical popular Austrian dish consists of only a few simple ingredients, is easy to make, and very tasty. This dish cannot be compared to regular pasta. Krautfleckerl are very special and at the same time so simple, spicy but also a little sweet.
As a native of Vienna, I grew up with Krautfleckerl and have already tried countless versions. But since a while I don’t eat them in restaurants anymore, because I like my homemade ones best. In this post, I will share my recipe in English with you and show you how you can easily make delicious and best original Viennese Krautfleckerl vegan yourself.
What are Krautfleckerl …?
Krautfleckerl is a dish that mainly consists of cabbage, onion and fleckerl. Fleckerl are small, square, Austrian noodles. Unfortunately, they’re often made with eggs, so take a look at the list of ingredients. I mostly use the vegan whole grain Fleckerl from Recheis *). Alternatively, you could also make your Krautfleckerl with farfalle or with wider tagliatelle.
Krautfleckerl are delicious, hearty, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and even healthy – if you use whole grain pasta and don’t add sugar by the spoonful like in some recipes. The only thing I wouldn’t do is call the recipe quick, as the cabbage takes a good hour to steam.
… and how are Krautfleckerl made?
The preparation is very simple. Basically, for Krautfleckerl, chopped onion is caramelized with a little sugar in the pan, then the cabbage is added, which has to simmer for a while before mixing in the cooked fleckerl.
In addition, Krautfleckerl must contain caraway seeds – whether you like it or not. I don’t count myself among the big caraway lovers. But in my opinion, it can’t be left out, as it’s important for the Krautfleckerl taste and just goes so well with the cabbage.
In addition to sugar and caraway seeds, you also need salt, pepper, some parsley, vinegar and, that’s how I like to make them, a little (homemade) vegetable stock powder to season your Krautfleckerl.
We can possibly discuss whether the vegetable stock powder is part of the original recipe (there isn’t even the one original recipe like from a “Sachertorte”). Or you simply leave it out.
Actually, Krautfleckerl have always been something typically Austrian for me. But, as is so often the case with recipes from Austria, they come from Bohemian or Hungarian cuisine. Krautfleckerl were probably very popular in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, because I even came across Croatian, Italian or Romanian versions during my research. What I was also able to find out is that Hungarian Krautfleckerl are usually seasoned with paprika powder. This must taste good too!
Vegan home cooking
There are some Krautfleckerl recipes that have bacon, sausage, minced meat, ham or any other form of an animal as an ingredient. Please do not! I’ve never seen Krautfleckerl like this, at least not in the Viennese version. Krautfleckerl are one of the few dishes that can be classified as home cooking and are vegan.
Perhaps lard was used as fat in the past, in the old Viennese way, as is so often the case. It’s not really common anymore, but it’s not entirely unusual either, as you can still find piggies fat on supermarket shelves. In Viennese and Austrian cuisine, for example, beef soup is often used, even for potato salad. Therefore, I would ask the restaurant to be sure whether the Krautfleckerl are vegan. Or back to the topic: just cook this Vienna pasta recipe yourself.
Good to know …
Usually, at least in Austria, Krautfleckerl are prepared with white cabbage. From the white cabbage the outer leaves will be removed, the stalk cut out, and the cabbage will be cut into fine strips. But there are also Krautfleckerl versions with, for example, sauerkraut or red cabbage. I’m sure it tastes great too, it’s just something else than Viennese or Austrian Krautfleckerl.
Krautfleckerl are an independent dish and not a side dish or need a side dish. But: They are often served with a salad, which goes quite well. Preferably something simple, like a leaf salad. What I also sometimes do, is eating Krautfleckerl with white yogurt or vegan sour cream, a delicious combo! Then there is paprika vegan butter: some paprika powder roasted in vegan butter, inspired by the Turkish pasta dish “Kayseri Manti”.
If you like it heartier and want to spice things up a bit, you could mix in fried smoked tofu. This is how protein gets into the food.
According to the German Wikipedia page, Krautfleckerl are often eaten with bread. I’ve never seen that before.
Krautfleckerl should be nice and lightly browned, which is achieved in two ways, namely with the caramelized onion and by sautéing the cabbage in the pan for a long time (up to an hour).
- 1 large onion
- 1 small white cabbage, approx. 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
- 250 g (8.8 oz) (whole grain) "Fleckerl" *)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. rapeseed or sunflower oil)
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vinegar, e.g. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp (homemade) vegetable stock powder
- some fresh parsley
- Cut the cabbage into two halves, remove the outer leaves, cut out the stalk, and then cut the cabbage into strips (or into smaller pieces in whatever shape). Wash in a sieve and then drain.
- Cut the onion into small pieces
- Heat oil in a big pan and sauté the onion until translucent.
- Next, add the sugar and let it caramelize a bit.
- Now come the caraway seeds and cabbage. Stir.
- Cover and let steam, until the cabbage turns slightly brown. This can take up to an hour. Stir occasionally. Don't worry if there will be any liquid. It comes from the cabbage, in the end everything will be perfect.
- Sometime after about 30 minutes stir in the salt, vinegar, and vegetable stock powder. And keep on stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, minus one minute: remove the pasta from the boiling water a minute earlier, as it might absorb some liquid from the cabbage. Strain and mix with the cabbage.
- Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
- Make sure that the fleckerl are vegan, unfortunately, many are made with eggs.
- Instead of fleckerl you could use farfalle or tagliatelle.
- For example, a simple green leaf salad goes well with Krautfleckerl. Also, check out my other tips in the post itself.
- Vegetable Stock Powder may be skipped.
Did you try this recipe?
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