Ok, here’s the thing: The German cuisine is not really known for its healthy twist, and that, my friends, is not a prejudice, it’s a fact. If you ever visit Germany, and you happen to leave any of the larger cities, chances are slim that you will find a vegetarian, let alone a vegan meal. Of course, times are changing in Germany as well, but Bratwurst, Currywurst, and other meaty dishes are still the most common traditional dishes you’ll find in my country.
There are exceptions, however. One of them is the traditional so-called “Frankfurter Grüne Soße”, which translates to “Frankfurt Green Sauce”. This local dish originated in the Frankfurt area and has become quite popular in the entire country. Green Sauce is an herbed sauce that uses seven different herbs, which are pureed with yogurt, cream, eggs, and some other ingredients. While you could argue that the ingredient list of the original version is not exactly healthy, given the amount of heavy cream in it, the amount of herbs found in this sauce is, however, noteworthy.
It is noteworthy because the German cuisine is unfortunately not known for its excessive use of fresh or dried herbs. This is also true and not prejudice. The greatest amount of herbs are often found on the plate as a decoration, and frankly, most Germans leave them to be decoration. So the Frankfurt Green Sauce really stands out.
Obviously, I am slightly exaggerating right now. While our traditional dishes are not really high in nutrients, or fresh vegetables and herbs, many of my fellow Germans love good food and know how to cook delicious, and nutritious meals. Since traditional German foods aren’t really popular amongst younger folks, and health-loving peeps (like me) anymore, many Germans eat quite international these days. I don’t have any statistics to complement my statements, but from a feeling, I would say that the Mediterranean cuisine is the most popular one here, but the French, Thai, Vietnamese and American cuisine are also quite popular.
Back to this sauce. My version is plant-based, of course, and therefore I would say that it is definitely lighter than the original version. I used coconut yogurt, instead of cream, and I’ve omitted the boiled eggs completely. So really, the taste does not resemble the original recipe at all, but that’s definitely not a bad thing in this case.
Let’s have a look at the seven herbs, that make this sauce so special. You do not need to have access to all of these herbs in order to make this sauce. More about alterations in the recipe below:
- Cress: The little leaves are so much more than just decoration. It contains a multitude of minerals and trace elements and even small amounts can really pay off.
- Pimpinella: This pretty herb is also called “small meadow button” (at least in German) and it is very healthy for the body, especially because of its bitter substances. According to herbology, Pimpinelle has digestive, draining, and antispasmodic effects.
- Sorrel: I was always proud of the fact that I knew early on where sorrel grows and how to identify and distinguish it from other herbs. What I didn’t know then was that it is a medicinal plant rich in vitamin C and iron.
- Chives: No, chives are not just a loveless decoration to garnish your meals. In herbal lore, it is said to reduce spring fatigue. Like most herbs, chives contain vitamin C and iron, but in quite small amounts.
- Borage: In Germany, we call borage “cucumber herb”, my guess is because it tastes delicious in cucumber salad. Borage has very fleshy, hairy leaves, and it grows from May to October. Particularly noteworthy is the high content of gamma-linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, which among other things can strengthen the immune system, regulate blood pressure, and accelerate wound healing.
- Chervil: This herb is also called “soup herb” here in Germany. Chervil is harvested from May to September and is recommended in herbology for colds, stress, and headaches.
- Parsley: In the past (we are talking about ancient greek) parsley was much more than just decoration. It was valued as a medicinal herb and was used, among other things, to aid digestion. In the German cuisine, however, it is seldom more than a marginal garnish, something that we should change. Other cultures use parsley as a staple in their dishes (think Fattoush salad), which is so amazing! Parsley is surprisingly high in vitamin K (10 g cover the daily requirement by over 100%). Vitamin K is good for our keeping our bones healthy and it aids blood clotting.
German Green Sauce is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, but I prefer them with roasted “salt and vinegar” & rosemary potatoes. You could of course also serve it with roasted vegetables or simply as a dip.