Gluten Free Travel on the Austrian Autobahn: Landzeit Restaurant Review with GF Rosti Recipe, Cucumber salad recipe and Beet recipe


salad5.jpg I’d read that salads might be a good option in Austria, and found that to be good advice. From reading the literature sent by the Austrian Celiac society, I had thought that some chains like Wienerwald-Restaurant would be especially easy to navigate. The Austrian Celiac society provided a gluten-free menu for Wienerwald, and I was excited to try it. But, when I got there and ordered some potato dishes, when it arrived I found the potato dishes on the “safe” list were all deep fried. Given the preponderance of gluten breaded fried meat products in the place, I didn’t have the courage to actually eat them, so I ended up making do with a mediocre salad. On the positive side, salad bars in Austria tend to have oil (~öl) and vinegar (Essig) available so you can mix your own safe dressing. So, on our trip to Weinerwald, I had a simple salad, self dressed with oil and vinegar.


landzeit6.jpgHowever, it was at an impromptu stop at an autobahn chain called Landzeit that I realized how perfect salads could be for the gluten-free traveler with a preference for a vegetarian diet. We walked into this cozy building off the highway and found ourselves in a buffet/deli restaurant that rivaled Whole Foods for variety and options. There were hot food stations where chefs would whip up your choice off extensive varied options, a fresh pasta bar (where the pasta is literally shaped right there), a huge salad bar with bean salads, greek salads, dill cucumber and caraway beet salad, and a higher priced salad bar with things like calamari salad. I filled a plate from the regular salad bar and was in heaven. Not only that, but I found a hot food station where a chef was making fresh rosti, a pan fried potato “hash brown” type dish. I asked the chef if it contained any flour or gluten, and thrillingly enough, she not only spoke perfect English but was able to tell me the rosti was just what it looked like- plain, shredded potatoes. I ordered one along with a cappucino at the hot coffee bar and sat down to a real feast! Now while I love rosti, most recipes call for too much butter and oil for my taste- and this one was so rich it was a bit much. But the salads were perfection. Mayonnaise cabbage salad with peas, the aforementioned cucumber and beet salads- they were all wonderful, and every bite was an adventure. It was one of my favorite meals on the trip, to be honest- all those crunchy, fresh tasting, simply seasoned vegetables were heavenly!

landzeit3.jpglandzeit.jpgIf you happen to find yourself hungry and on the autobahn, and see a Landzeit sign- by all means, stop and have a great lunch! Their salad bar should offer plenty of options that go beyond simple lettuce and a vinaigrette, with things like beets, beans, and corn to add valuable calories and nutrients while on the road. Do be careful as with any salad bar- there may be a macaroni salad with the other salads and you will want to be on the lookout for borrowed utensils or dribbled pasta in any nearby stations. Also, you may want to ask about any sauces that seem thickened or cloudy. I had very good luck and felt great and energized after my salad feast- once I recovered from the greasy rosti. If Austria isn’t on your calendar, you can enjoy some similar recipes at home. Actually, I think rosti made at home is better, because you can make it as healthy or decadent as you like by portioning out your butter or oil. So, let’s hear it for gourmet roadside salad bars in Austria- other chains may have similar offerings, but I enjoyed Landzeit so much I wanted to recommend it in particular. They do vary in size and offerings, though… The first Landzeit we stopped at was the biggest and nicest, with the most elaborate salad bars. Later Landzeit had a little less, but were still better than average, and worlds away from yucky old Weinerwald. (For the latter, imagine Denny’s, with everything covered in gravy and deep fried. )

Carol Fenster reports that some autobahn restaurants have gluten-free packaged food. I didn’t see any at Landzeit specifically, but it’s worth a look!

I’m still looking for the perfect beet caraway salad recipe, but you can try this recipes as a starting off point. DH wasn’t sure about caraway in the beet salad, but I loved it. You might want to start out with a little caraway and add more if you like it. Enjoy! Oh, and if you love potatoes as much as I do, you will like James McNair’s Potato cookbook, which can now be purchased used for a bargain price at Amazon. It’s a good cookbook, even if he is crazy for butter and oil. you might remember his name from the James McNair’s Corn Cookbookthat I recommended in my post on skillet corn cake.

Swiss-style Gluten Free Rosti Recipe
3 or so grated baking potatoes, med-lg (you can experiment with other root vegetables- I tried parsnip mixed half and half with potatoes and was unhappy with the resulting texture and flavor, but if you like parsnips you might like it)
black pepper
1/2 to 1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 or 1 tbsp. butter
fresh parsley or grated hard, flavorful cheese
Grate your potatoes and pat dry in a towel. Season to taste.

Heat your equal amounts of butter and olive oil in a cast iron or nonstick pan on medium heat and combine thoroughly, making sure butter is evenly melted.

Add your grated, seasoned potatoes to the pan and let cook, either shaking or gently lifting the potatoes to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Try to leave the rosti as whole as possible so that it can be one whole pancake-type thing. Lower the heat after about five minutes and cook for another five minutes. Then take a large plate, cover the top of the rosti and flip the pan over. Uncooked side should be down, touching the surface of the plate. If you want, and if you used a lesser amount of oil and butter, you can add a little more olive oil and butter to the pan and combine it, raising the temperature again. Then gently slice the rosti off the plate so the uncooked side is directly on the surface of the pan. Cook for another ten minutes, lowering temperature after five minutes again. When the rosti seems done, plate, sprinkle your parsley and/or cheese, and enjoy!

Scandanavian Cucumber and Dill Salad Recipe
1 cucumber (english is preferred)
1 tbsp. fresh chives or chopped green onions
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (or dried dill to taste)
1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
freshly ground black pepper
Use food processor or mandolin to slice cucumbers evenly and thinly. Layer slices in a colander and salt as you go (moderately) and let cucumber drain for no longer than two hours. Then spin in salad spinner or pat dry in a towel. Combine all other ingredients and mix with cucumber. Serve right away. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day, but it’s really best fresh or the cucumbers will decompose.
Takes longer than you might think- plan ahead!

Yummy with a veggie burger, as a refreshing side dish, or added to a plain lettuce salad.

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2 Responses to “Gluten Free Travel on the Austrian Autobahn: Landzeit Restaurant Review with GF Rosti Recipe, Cucumber salad recipe and Beet recipe”

  1. We had rosti as a side dish at our wedding, so it brings back happy memories for me. (The chef was originally from Switzerland.) Mmmm. Thanks for sharing a recipe for it!

  2. [...] Sunday: Scandinavian(Tasty, post coming soon) Rosti Potato Recipe  Scandinavian Cucumber and Dill Fresh Beet Salad [...]

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