Culinary Travel Around the World: German Grünkernküchle (Vegetarian)

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We are coming to the end of our around the world trip on the blog and, of course, I feel this has to end with a German recipe! I know you believe there is only meat to be eaten, but fear not, I have a super yummy alternative for you. How about some vegetarian burgers?! Made from Grünkern.

What the hell is Grünkern I hear you asking… Well, frekkeh (or farro) makes the rounds in the healthy eating world at the moment. Essentially, frekkeh is wheat, just harvested whilst the wheat is still green and broken down into groats. It contains more proteins at that point and has a lower glycemic index. Grünkern is something very similar, just from a different grain, namely spelt. Spelt is used in Germany a lot and is becoming more popular for people who are wheat intolerant (note: not necessarily to do with the gluten content!).

My mom used to cook in the kitchen with spelt from when we were really young and I always, always loved Grünkernküchle. They are filling, absolutely yummy, and super healthy. Plus they have a lovely texture and taste – you won’t miss meat at all if you regularly do eat meat!

The Grünkern I used for this recipe was quite ground (which is relatively unusual), so if you feel the mixture does not stick very well, add an egg (which makes the recipe vegetarian) or 1 tbsp of extra spelt flour (which keeps the recipe vegan). If you cannot find ‘green spelt groats’ I am sure you can also replace the green spelt groats with frekkeh or faro. I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do (very regularly) and loved the travel around the world month! Don’t worry, though, just because this stops, I won’t stop posting recipes. They may not come as regular, but I am already working on a Christmas treat! J


German Grünkernküchle

Vegan/vegetarian, dairy free, soy-free

7-8 small burgers (3-4 people)

 2015_11_30 blog


120g Grünkern (green spelt groats)
1 garlic clove, minced
25 g sunflower seeds
1 tbsp vegetable bullion powder
1 onion, finely chopped
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
½ small beetroot, grated
1 tsp curry spices
1 tsp salt
1 tsbp spelt flour or 1 egg (optional)
100-200mL hot water
2 EL coconut oil


To serve: green salad, sliced avocado or guacamole, sauerkraut



  1. Mix the spelt groats with the garlic clove, sunflower seeds, the vegetable bullion powder, the finely chopped onion, parsley, beetroot, curry spices and salt in a sauce pan. Add hot water up until that all ingredients are just about covered with a few still peaking out. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and stir for about 3-4 minutes until you have a quite dry mass that is starting to come together in a big clump.
  2. Take off heat and leave to stand for another 30 minutes for the spelt groats to soak up more water. Add egg or spelt flour if you feel the mass does not clump together very well yet.
  3. Divide the dough into small burgers and fry for 5-10 minutes on each side over medium heat in coconut oil in a frying pan.
  4. Serve with salad on the side, some guacamole and/or sauerkraut.

2015_11_30 blog 2

The burger mass slowly starting to stick together after boiling.

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