Kaisergemüse (Emperor vegetables)
Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Emperor vegetables (‘Kaisergemüse’)

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From its name, you could think that emperor vegetables (“Kaisergemüse”) is a fancy German dish dating back hundreds of years. But don’t be fooled, it isn’t. This vegetable dish is not what was served to the German kaiser (ok, maybe he ate something similar at times).

German Kaisergemüse is a mixture of vegetables that are boiled and sweated in butter. Typically, the three emperor vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. But why is this combination called emperor vegetables?

It is because the food industry decided to use this term to promote frozen vegetables. Nothing more, nothing less. I mean, if food has “kaiser” in its name it sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Don’t we all want to eat like the emperor at his court who has a few dozen cooks to prepare multicourse meals each day?

Frozen emperor vegetable mix
Frozen emperor vegetable mix. Picture Source: OpenFoodFacts.org

Why I don’t use the frozen mix to prepare emperor vegetables

Even though the name comes from frozen vegetable mixes, I urge you to prepare this dish with fresh vegetables. They have a better texture and you don’t need to stick with just carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. I love to add kohlrabi, parsley roots, and peas to my emperor vegetables. You can add whatever vegetable you like or have lying around in the fridge.

To make these vegetables taste good, it is important that you cook the vegetables in only a little water and let the water reduce until it resembles a thick glaze. It is like cooking broth. The more water gets evaporated, the more intense this vegetable broth gets. In the end, you have tender vegetables glazed with butter and vegetable broth. Delicious!

This is my favorite way to eat and prepare vegetables! They have an unmatched, natural sweetness. The flavor is pure but intense.


  1. Your Emperor Vegetables recipe says “Fill the pan with water so that the vegetables are covered by about 3/4th.” I am not sure what you mean by “3/4th”. Should water be up to 3/4 the height of the vegtables, or should the water be 3/4″ above the level of the vegtables?

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