Sunday, December 27, 2009

Swedish meatballs

Vegans, for some reason I woke up this morning with "Swedish meatballs" repeating in my head like an old song. I became vegetarian at 13 and I don't think I'd ever eaten Swedish meatballs before that, and frankly had but a vague conception of what they actually were. A short trip over to the Food Network brought this recipe up, and, inspired, I decided to adapt it.

If you go to the original recipe, you'll see that a number of the comments are complaining about the sauce or gravy having little flavour. The flavour depends entirely on the quality of the broth you use, so just take care to use a rich, excellent-tasting broth. Otherwise, the recipe wasn't difficult, and was actually pretty quick. I baked the balls rather than fried them because of the additional gluten flour, and the texture was great. In my opinion, my version looks just as good as (okay, better than ;-) the picture in the original recipe, and I can't imagine it wasn't even more tasty. What "chuck" is I don't know (and please don't tell me if you know). This is what I did:

Swedish "meatballs"
serves 3

2 tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp unsweetened soymilk
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 lb ground seitan (plain or at most mildly flavoured)
1/4 cup gluten flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
large pinch ground allspice
large pinch ground or freshly grated nutmeg
2 more tbsp unsweetened soy milk (approx.)

2 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tbsp cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups good tasting vegetable broth
2 tbsp Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
salt to taste (you may not need any)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the Earth Balance over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the onions and all of the ingredients up to nutmeg, and pulse briefly to blend. Add more unsweetened soy milk until the mixture is moist enough that it can easily be formed into balls.

Shape balls approximately 1 inch in diameter, and place in baking tray. Drizzle with canola oil and roll the balls around in it to coat. Bake the balls for approximately 1/2 hour or until firm and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp Earth Balance in the frying pan you used for the onions, and add the flour. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the vegetable stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the Better Than Cream Cheese and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency (not long; this sauce should not need to reduce), and taste for salt. Remove the meatballs from the oven, add to the gravy, stir around a bit to coat, and serve hot…

…with creamed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and Brussels sprouts. Oh, heavenly day!


  1. I've never had Swedish meatballs either, but these sound and look quite yummy.

  2. Swedish meatballs, oh my. You've brought back a flood of memories. I used to serve these with wide noodles but I'd completely forgotten about them, it was so long ago.