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Healthy Spaetzle Recipe with Purple Cabbage and Kale

For your newest favorite fall treat, look no further than this Healthy Spaetzle Recipe with Purple Cabbage and Kale.

Healthy Spaetzle

Spaetzle? Yes, it’s your favorite German pasta-style roughly shaped noodle. Some people make their own, but increasingly supermarkets sell a pre-made version. During the fall, when everyone’s got some Oktoberfest theme, you’re more likely than ever to find spaetzle in the aisle.

Healthy spaetzle? Many spaetzle recipes call for some sort of creamy sauce. We decided to lighten things up a bit with a spicy-sweet olive oil, vinegar, and mustard dressing. And of course we made it much more colorful with finely chopped kale and purple cabbage.

So what is it – a side dish? A main course? That’s going to be up to you. Spaetzle is quite filling, so you could easily make a meal out of it. (You could add some nuts or even grilled tofu for vegetarian protein.) But if you want a full-fledged German meal, serve it alongside your favorite German sausage or crispy breaded chicken or pork schnitzel.

Healthy Spaetzle Recipe

Healthy Spaetzle Recipe with Purple Cabbage and Kale

A tasty side dish or main course of spaetzle tossed in a spicy-sweet dressing with colorful kale and cabbage.

Course Main Dish/Side Dish
Cuisine German
Keyword cabbage, kale, spaetzle
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6


For the Spaetzle

  • 1 pound packaged spaetzle
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup grated purple cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh kale

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a full boil. Add the spaetzle and cook until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, saute the chopped onion with the olive oil in a small frying pan until the onion is soft and translucent. Set the onion aside.

  3. Drain the cooked spaetzle and pour the spaetzle into a large bowl. Add the sauteed onions, cabbage, and kale, and stir.

  4. For the dressing: Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Add about 1/2 cup of the dressing to the spaetzle and cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as desired. (Different varieties of spaetzle can be more absorbent than others, so you may not need the full amount of dressing.) Serve immediately.


Spaetzle Tips

So – a few thoughts on spaetzle. First, of course you can use homemade if you enjoy making it. As soon as you cook the noodles, go ahead and add the cabbage and kale and the dressing. We used Bechtle brand spaetzle, which comes dried like pasta. (A quick internet search tells us it is available at Amazon and Walmart.)

Second, The dressing portion makes maybe a little more than you will need. We determined that different brands of spaetzle have different absorbency. So if you pour on about 3/4 of the dressing, you should be able to determine by taste if you need a little more or if that’s enough. (And you might want a tangier taste as well, so in that case, pour on more dressing.)

Third, you can also serve this at room temperature – in which case it feels more like a tangy pasta salad. Enjoy!

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