North Dakota has many iconic dishes. The first that probably come to mind are all Russian-German or Scandinavian recipes passed down through generations from the original immigrants who came to settle in this state. Others might be some classic home cooked meals everyone knows and loves. Whatever they may be, these 10 dishes are must haves when it comes to being a true and proper North Dakotan. If you haven’t eaten all of these yet, you’re missing out!
1. Hot Beef/Turkey Sandwich
This is definitely one of the top favorite dishes of North Dakota. Finding someone who doesn't like this would be pretty hard! It's simple enough - hot beef or turkey on bread, cut in half, mashed potatoes in the middle, and a VERY generous amount of gravy over everything. Now that's good eats!
It comes in a hundred flavors and is perfect for a hundred occasions, most often just for comfort food. You can't go wrong with some kuchen, ever. I don't know a single person in North Dakota who would refuse some if offered.
Grilled on a bed of rice, breaded with a side of tartar, on a bun with lettuce...any way you make it, walleye is delicious. North Dakota has some of the best walleye fishing and as a result, it is definitely our favorite fish. Yum!
4. Special K Bars
Also known simply as dessert bars or scotcharoos, these are a bake sale favorite and one of the top things to bring to any gathering. They never get old, even if you've been eating them your whole life. And they're addicting, too. Why have just one when you can have two or three? The whole pan can't hurt...
What's a list about iconic North Dakota foods without knoephla? This Russian-German dish is to die for. This creamy, rich soup will have your mouth watering the second you smell it cooking.
Not quite a waffle, not quite an ice cream cone, but all kinds of tasty. If you haven't heard of these, you make them on a griddle similar to a waffle iron, only it has an eye catching pattern and they are pressed out quite thin. Before they cool, they're rolled up around a wooden cone and then served as shown. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top (or go one sweet step forward and stuff it with whipped cream) and enjoy!
This concoction of meat-stuffed dough deep fried is pretty much as delicious as it looks and sounds, which is a lot. And as pictured, I highly recommend it dipped or drizzled in gravy. Either way, this definitely needs to be on your must try list if you still haven't tried it.
Simple as it may look, lefse is one of the most scrumptious things you can ever have. Make it sweet with some butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or use it the same way you would as a tortilla by wrapping up meat and toppings in it. Traditionally, you'd wrap lutefisk in it. I can't say I'd recommend that personally but I know there are some of you out there who like lutefisk. Either way, lefse is still amazing!
9. Cactus Bread
As someone who moved to North Dakota and wasn't born here, this was one of those things that made me seriously feel like I had been missing out on before living in a state with Pizza Ranch. That chain is the most popular pizza chain in North Dakota but mostly nonexistent outside of the midwest, and as far as I experienced, no one else made a dessert pizza anywhere near the same league as this one. A pizza with a combination of toppings that is a match made in heaven when atop pizza dough: cinnamon streusel and icing. What's not to love?
10. Kase Knephla
Kase knephla, more commonly known as cheese buttons, are a delicious food of dough stuffed with a tasty mixture primarily consisting of cottage cheese. They're totally tasty and a little bit addicting. You can never have just one!
I’ll give a honorary shoutout to lutefisk here since it is definitely a well-known food associated to ND as often as it is to actual Scandinavia, I just feel as though most people would agree it isn’t on their “must have” list.