I am pretty sure that my grandmother’s Schnippelbohnensuppe was one of my favourite foods when I was a kid. (Schnippeln is a verb, it means to chop or cut up vegetables, but it sometimes also refers to cutting something with scissors.) Although I always loved green beans, I probably didn’t like this soup because it had beans. I liked it because it had sausages. My grandmother put smoked sausage (called mettwurst) in there and they contributed most of the flavour.
She often made this soup, I assume, because it was cheap. The sausages were kind of a splurge. But the rest was cheap. In German soups you will often find a couple of staple vegetables. These are carrots, potatoes, leeks, and celeriac. Celeriac really is a key ingredient with its earthy flavour. If you do not access to it, I personally would not replace it with celery stalks. I personally would recommend parsnips instead although they are a bit sweeter.
Eating meat is something I do not miss at all. It’s the combination of smoky and salty that I miss! Thankfully there are things like liquid smoke and smoked salt to stand in for the sausages I used to eat. I freely admit that I put a vegan sausage into my soups here and there, too. And I don’t get the hate that is directed at these products sometimes. Meat eaters telling me I shouldn’t eat them, vegetarians telling me I shouldn’t eat them. Even vegans who tell me this and refuse to eat “fake” meats with a passion.
Sure, they are processed. Sure, they have a lot of salt. So what? You can eat them once in a while. Also, please don’t tell me I shouldn’t eat sausages and other plant based meat products because I swore off meat. Exactly. I swore off meat. I never swore of sausage shaped seitan or tofu. It’s plant based. It’s not different from plant based cheeses or plant based milks which never get that amount of hate.
For this soup, I used smoked tofu. It’s very easy to get here in Germany. I have often found it it grocery stores in small villages without any problems. Also, tofu is usually much cheaper than packaged sausages and that’s always a good thing, right? If you want, you can buy your favourite vegan sausage that has a smoky flavour. Or you can make these gluten based sausages. (Leave out the maple if you like. I always leave out the maple syrup.)
German Green Bean Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g smoked tofu (3.5 oz)
- 50 g leeks (1/2 cup), finely sliced
- 70 g celeriac (1/2 cup)
- 280 g potatoes (3 small), peeled
- 1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds
- 350 – 400 g flat beans cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1-2 tsp rosemary, fresh
- 1 tsp smoked salt, or to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Add tofu and fry for five minutes.
- Add vegetables and fry for another five minutes.
- Pour water into the pot and add rosemary.
- Cook for 10 minutes and add smoked salt.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.