These IKEA-style vegan Swedish meatballs are both nutritious and delicious, slathered in a creamy mustard sauce. Serve with oven chips or rice.
Those clever people at my favourite Swedish flat-packed furniture chain are so good at knowing just what you will fancy after a few stressful hours measuring up wardrobes and working out how much you can actually fit in (or balance on) your car.
Last year they got huge kudos for launching vegan meatballs onto their menu, and jolly nice they are too.
Since first trying them I've been trying to make my own at home, and this chickpea-based version is definitely my favourite: moist, packed with vegetables and slathered in a mustardy sauce. Perfect served with some oven chips or rice.
What you need to make your Vegan Swedish Meatballs
Chickpeas Tinned chickpeas are absolutely fine here - you are blitzing them to a paste anyway so there's no need to soak and cook your own. Don't forget to save the 'aquafaba' (liquid from the can) to make some incredible vegan meringues (or my Vegan Chocolate Yule Log!!)
Gram flour is another name for chickpea flour. It has a high protein content compared to other types of flour, so is quite an amazing ingredient - it is great at binding which is the job it is doing here. You can also use it to make vegan 'omelettes', quiche and my favourite - beautiful onion bhajis!
Nutritional yeast flakes These are optional but add a wonderful 'cheesy' flavour to your meatballs. If you haven't used them before you're just going to have to trust me that it is worth buying a tub - you will be hooked in no time! They look a bit like fish food, but give a great umami flavour to whatever you put them in, and are an excellent source of vitamin B12 so really good for you too.
Dairy-free margarine I try to use a good block margarine (rather than a tub of spread) for cooking - it has a much lower water content so behaves more like butter in making a thick and glossy sauce.
Dairy-free milk Use whichever milk you prefer, but make sure it is unsweetened. I tend to go for oat or soya, which are both rich and creamy but without a strong background flavour. Some of the nut milks (coconut, hazelnut) have just a bit too much of their own flavour to use here.
Dairy-free cream There are so many to choose from in supermarkets these days, we are spoiled for choice. I usually go for the Elmlea Plant Double Cream, or I also like Oatly's oat single - both are found in the dairy aisle.
Vegetable stock powder can sometimes have some sneaky milk powder in, so do check the label. My go-to is Marigold, but some of their varieties contain milk so make sure you have the right one.
Can I freeze my Vegan Swedish Meatballs?
Yes! These freeze really well before cooking, so you could make up a double, (or triple!), batch, and then spray with oil, then oven-bake from frozen for half an hour until cooked through.
How else can I make vegan meatballs?
These are chickpea and vegetable based meatballs, based on the IKEA recipe, but you can of course make vegan 'meatballs' from many other ingredients. Here are a few suggestions from blogging friends:
- Kate's Courgetti & Beet Balls from Veggie Desserts
- Sus' Kabocha Squash & Nut Balls from Rough Measures
- Jac's Spaghetti & Beanballs from Tinned Tomatoes
- Laura's Vegan Supergreen Meatballs from How to Cook Good Food
For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Made this for dinner tonight and was a hit with everyone. will defiantly make again x" Tammy
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "You did it! You got it right with the gram [chickpea] flour!! Most all the other recipes for veggie burger and veggie balls muddle/diminish the veggie flavors with the binders they choose (bread, or oats, or oat flour, or rice, or rice flour, etc). But the gram/garbanzo flour as the binder sustains the veggie flavor. I was lazy with some of the steps but the balls turned out beautifully. The extras kept well in the fridge. Thanks again. Well done!" Dax
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "They tasted so good that I would definitely try them again and make a big batch with the big food processor and freeze them." Vivian
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Grönsaksbullar (Vegan Swedish Meatballs)
For the 'meat'balls:
- 100 g frozen peas
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil (plus extra for frying)
- 1 tsp ready-chopped garlic / garlic purée
- 2 carrots
- 1 red pepper
- large handful curly kale
- 400 g tin chickpeas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
- 2 tbsp gram flour
- a little plain flour for dusting
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp dairy-free margarine
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 200 ml dairy-free milk (unsweetened soya, nut or oat)
- 125 ml boiling water
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
- 125 ml dairy-free cream (soya or oat)
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- soy sauce
- Cook the peas in the microwave or small saucepan for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Peel the onion and cut into quarters, then use a mini-chopper or food processor to chop it finely, (or chop as finely as you can by hand).
- Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan or casserole, and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat.
- Peel the carrots and cut roughly into 4-5 chunks, then chop finely in the mini-chopper/food processor and add to the pan with the onions. Next, de-seed and chop the peppers in the same way, followed by the cooked peas and curly kale. Let all the vegetables cook over a medium heat.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then blitz to a smooth purée along with the olive oil in the mini chopper or food processor. Add to the pan, then sprinkle over the nutritional yeast flakes, stock powder, gram flour and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together, then remove from the heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Sprinkle a chopping board and your hands with a little flour, then scoop up a heaped teaspoon of mixture, roll it firmly into a ball in your hands and place on the chopping board. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up - you should have around 20 'meat'balls.
- Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with rapeseed or sunflower oil, and fry the meatballs, turning regularly until they are golden brown all over. Remove from the frying pan to a plate covered in kitchen paper, to drain excess oil.
- To make the sauce, heat the margarine in a small saucepan, stir through the flour and cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes. Add the dairy-free milk , water, stock powder and dairy-free cream, and cook stirring continually until a thick, glossy sauce consistency has been reached. Add the mustard and stir, then add a few drops of soy sauce at a time, tasting as you go, until a good level of seasoning has been reached.
- Serve the meatballs with the sauce poured over the top, with mashed potato or oven chips.