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Goetta for Vegans

By Lora Arduser · September 7th, 2011 · The Dish

“There’s no such thing,” the women at Glier’s Goetta in Covington emphatically told me when I called to ask if they knew anyone in town that sold vegetarian goetta. By definition, she explained, goetta has pork in it. Ipso facto, there is no such thing as vegetarian goetta.

It seemed like if anyone should know, it’s Glier’s. After all, in the mid-1960s the USDA developed standards of identity for goetta from Glier’s goetta recipe. Still, I couldn’t let go of the idea, so I kept searching for a vegetarian version of that German version of scrapple. 

Like other forms of scrapple, a popular working-class dish of meat, grain and seasonings, goetta is typically cooked in a loaf pan until set, then sliced and fried. Goetta’s distinction from its scrapple country cousins is the use of pinhead (steel-cut) oats.  

If you haven’t tried it (and you aren’t a vegetarian), there are plenty of opportunities: Glier’s Goetta puts on Glier’s Goettafest every August, and the dish is likely to make an appearance or two at this week’s Oktoberfest. Year round you can find it at Eckerlin Meats at Findlay Market.

So if I can find traditional goetta year round as well as goetta coneys, goetta fried rice, goetta mac and cheese and even goetta brownies at the Glier’s Goettafest, why is it so hard to find vegetarian goetta? 

I began to worry that the woman on the other end of the phone at Glier’s was right.

But fear not, my vegetarian readers, your intrepid foodie sleuth was on the case and the mystery has been solved. 

Vegan goetta makes its home in Northside where you can get it at Honey for Sunday brunch as a side dish or a GLT sandwich with field greens, tomato and a chili-laced aioli. Melt often features homemade vegan goetta on its Sunday brunch menu. It comes with scrambled eggs or a tofu scramble. Finally, a couple of doors down, you can buy frozen portions of Melt’s goetta when it’s in stock at Picnic and Pantry, a micro market and specialty food shop. 

Of course, finding vegan goetta was really only part of my mission. Once I found it, I wanted to know how it was made. If you’re going to make a product that’s a meat substitute, it seems logical that you would first figure out what makes the original product good. Eckerlin’s Meats at Findlay Market has been making their own goetta for more than 40 years. Owner Bob Lillis uses pork shoulder, ground chuck, pinhead oats, onion and a seasoning mix he declined to divulge. They slow cook it for six hours at a low temperature. According to Lillis the secret to good goetta is lean, quality meat. 

So what’s the secret when you go meatless? 

“The most important thing is to start with a strong flavor base,” said Lisa Kagen, owner of Melt and Picnic and Pantry. Kagen starts with lots of onions, spices and pressure cooked oats. She also noted that any vegan or vegetarian version of goetta is unlikely to behave like goetta made with pork, so part of the trick is to get the moisture content correct so it will hold together when sliced. 

Feeling adventurous enough to try making your own traditional goetta or vegan goetta? Lillis recommends frying it until it’s golden brown on both sides and serving it with eggs or pancakes. He likes it with grape jelly but says his customers also tell him that they like it served with syrup and even horseradish. Kagen recommends serving her vegan goetta in a mix with potatoes and vegetables or grilled with tomatoes, goat cheese and a poached egg. 

Glücklich essen!

CONTACT LORA ARDUSER: letters@citybeat.com



08.05.2012 at 10:34 Reply

Jump'N Joe Grotta, is a meatless goetta. Absolutely NO animal ingredients, pure vegetarian.  Water, steel cut oats, canola oil, corn meal, salt, onion, sugar, seasonings.  I love it. I'm not sure if its available all over but in the Cincinnati area most Kroger stores carry it. =)


04.24.2013 at 05:59

I can no longer find Jump'n Joe Grotta at Kroger's or Rempke's.   I've even tried Whole Foods with no luck.  I live in The Greater Cincinnati area.  Does anyone know where I can buy it?  I love that stuff!!   Thanks!


01.16.2013 at 02:38 Reply

Jump n joe Grotta is amazing. They do carry it in krogers in cincinnati, jungle jims, Rumpke markets and lots of other area's. We will be trying to sell it in different states as well it's a delicious way to keep eating healthy with a great taste.  


04.25.2013 at 09:31

Hello Marre,

you should be able to find jump n joe at most Krogers in the greater cincinnati area. I will for sure check in this and see why they do not. we can ship some to you if your interested, all we would need is some informatin from you and we can take care of it for you. Again, i will check on your area. Can you tell me the area you live in please? Thanks so much.

Robin Boston



11.23.2013 at 05:06

Robin in Boston...Do you own or work for Jump'n Joe?  I can't find anything about the company on the web. I am interested in having it shipped, as you mentioned. 

Thanks, Mary


12.10.2013 at 08:26

I am trying to find a way to order Jump n Joe Grotta.  We have tried everything, including taking the UPC to Kroger, to try and order it.  Our extended family now lives in MetroAtlanta.  Any help would certainly be appreciated.  Thank you. 


02.26.2013 at 03:38 Reply

Guess what you can't call it Geotta unless it has meat in it, thats why they call it Grotta! Jump n Joe took the meat out of his geotta and renamed it grotta...same great taste! Taste good and healthy for you too.


01.07.2014 at 12:55

I live in md and I am trying to get jumpin joes Grotta shipped to  Me any idea how I can do that?


01.15.2014 at 04:49

Sarah, you can go to www.jumpnjoegrotta.com and order ir there.


01.18.2014 at 06:51 Reply

We are finally up and running. If your looking for our Meat free Grotta please go to www.jumpnjoegrotta.com.