Food + Drink

Vegan Svensk-Danska Köttbullar.

I came up with a vegetarian version of my mother’s meatballs (which are themselves somewhere between between Swedish and Danish, as a result of her mixed origins) years ago, but this year I’ve created a fully vegan version. I tried out the recipe last night in preparation for today’s Christmas potluck at work, and they came out beautifully…and deliciously. I’ll be making them for my family again this weekend!

Vegan Svensk-Danska Köttbullar // Vegan Swedish-Danish Meatballs
Makes about 40 meatballs

1/2 cup unsweetened MimicCreme*
1 unit egg replacer*
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb Lightlife Gimme Lean (sausage style)*
3 tbsp Earth Balance

In a large, heavy pan (preferably cast iron), sautée onions in 1 tbsp Earth Balance until translucent.

Beat together cream and egg replacer in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, pepper, allspice, and onions; combine and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Add Gimme Lean to mixture, and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly.

Roll mixture into small balls no more than 1″ in diameter (I try to aim for about 3/4″), arranging on a tray or plate until finished.

Heat 2 tbsp Earth Balance in the cast iron pan until it’s lightly browned and the pan is very hot.

Add meatballs to the pan in a single layer. Turn until hot and dark brown on all sides—I like to pick up the pan and just jostle it slightly rather than use a spatula. Don’t be afraid to overcook the meatballs! You want them to be nice and dark.

Serve hot with boiled potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and, if you wish, vegan gravy—my mother thinks putting gravy on meatballs is barbaric, but I like it!

If you wind up with leftovers (as if!) or want to prepare your meatballs in advance, they can easily be reheated in a pan or covered in a 400° oven.

* A few notes about the ingredients:
I’m unsure of the availability of the pre-packaged products outside of the U.S., so perhaps readers can chime in with suggestions for vegan substitutes (for heavy cream, egg, and ground sausage) that could work in other parts of the world. For egg replacer, I used Bob’s Red Mill, but there are other brands that will work just fine.

vegan kottbullar 2

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  • Reply Anna/quilted giraffe December 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Those look so good! I’ll have to try them.

    Btw, were you in the Columbus Circle Whole Foods last night? I though I saw you, or someone who looked exactly like you…I wanted to say hello but felt rather stalker-ish , since I only read your blog and rarely comment!

    • Anna @ D16 December 21, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Haha, yes, that was me…and I was with Mamma Biscuit’s daddy, actually! We were frantically looking for Secret Santa gifts for our office party today. I was kind of frazzled and work-worn, but you could’ve said hello. I wouldn’t have minded. 🙂

  • Reply Kate December 21, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Wow, vegan köttbullar! Jätte bra! I’m impressed. =)

  • Reply thisismycat December 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I haven’t even tried to make vegetarian meatballs, I just buy these:
    However, you can’t really spice them like they’re supposed to – with “kryddpeppar” (allspice, right?). I don’t if there’s a good alternative in Sweden to make vegan köttbullar, since I never tried…

  • Reply Tatyana December 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    This is great! My mother-in-law is vegetarian and Swedish – she’ll love this.
    I wonder if I could substitute the meat in my favorite stuffed-bell-pepper recipe with this. I thought about using ground-up eggplant instead of meat but I wasn’t sure how that would taste. Any suggestions?

    • Anna @ D16 December 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      For stuffed peppers, I’d try using quinoa or bulgar wheat in place of meat!

  • Reply mommy December 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    They look really good! Can’t wait to taste them.

  • Reply Monica December 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    They look delish! Wouldn’t it be great if they had these at IKEA as an alternative to their regular ones?

    • Anna @ D16 December 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Goodness, yes! But probably much more expensive. Meat is cheap.

  • Reply Lori E. December 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Yumm-o! Those look tasty!! Good job! 🙂

  • Reply Laura December 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    looks really nice, but mostly as swedish i would say, but they look delicious!

    (and woohoo from a dane :))

  • Reply Lori E. December 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Ok, so how do you eat them? Plain? With a gravy? Inquiring minds want to know. And if you have already covered this, this forgetful mind has obviously forgotten… 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 December 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      Check the post again — it’s the last step in the recipe! 😉

  • Reply Ella December 22, 2010 at 2:55 am

    This recipe sounds good!

    I’m a intrigued by the mentioning of “Earth Balance” in the recipe. At first I thought it might be a metaphorical ingredient, something we’d achieve if we all went vegan… But now I guess it must be some kind of butter.

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Hah! I promise to never include “metaphorical ingredients” in any recipes!!! 😀 That’s horrible, hahaha!!!

      Yes, Earth Balance is a vegan butter substitute that’s widely available in the U.S. 🙂

  • Reply elisabet December 22, 2010 at 3:47 am

    yes, I´m swedish and vegetarian, and you eat them with potatoes and lingonberrysauce, but if you have kids, just as often with pasta and ketchup. For christmas however, you have them at the christmas buffet, with ham and sausages, and jansson and all the other stuff, mostly meat I´m afraid. Also some cabbage/kale? and lots of herring.

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 7:31 am

      I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life, and I’ve always managed to get by on Christmas. My mother is very good about making sure there are things for my brother and I to eat. 🙂

  • Reply Becky December 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Whoa yum. Those look SO AMAZING. I’d have to scour my Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to see if I can nab some of these ingredients, but I bet they’d have them. I really want to try these!

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

      Whole Foods will have everything on the ingredients list! Trader Joe’s carries Gimme Lean, but I’m not sure about MimicCreme or egg replacer.

  • Reply mel December 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Wow. Impressive. I wish one could make this sort of stuff without using packaged products (the sausage). Are there any non packaged, non processed foods that are similar to meat? We are recently veggie (to stay away from all the nasty chemicals–so no soy either) and am not sure what things work as substitutes. I’m guessing not many 😉

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      Mel, I feel the same way you do about processed fake meats (I use them very sparingly!), but for special occasions a few times a year, I think it’s okay to use some of the products that are out there — particularly if they help to recapture some of the traditional flavors we might miss. Everything in moderation…including moderation! I’ve never tried it, but here’s a recipe for homemade vegan sausages. They do contain soy sauce, though — it’s very hard to completely eliminate processed foods from any diet!

      By the way, speaking of soy, there are numerous organic, non-GMO soy products widely available! 🙂

    • mel December 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      Super cool blog. Thanks for the link!

      I’ll have to convince my meat eating man to make them for me (he’s the chef in these parts :))

  • Reply Brittany December 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I’m endlessly looking for vegan replacements to my vegetarian diet, (the transition is hard), so I’m excited I found this recipe. However, (this may be silly, I’m not much of a cook), how important is the ‘heavy/cast iron,’ pan? Not only do I not know what this is, but I’m 90% sure I don’t own one. Will another type of pan produce edible results?

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      A cast iron pan is, well, a pan made entirely of cast iron. 🙂 If you don’t have one, GET ONE! You can get an inexpensive, good quality pan (Lodge is a great brand, and they still manufacture their pans in the U.S.) and it will last you for the rest of your life. They are indispensable if you do a lot of cooking…or even if you’re just trying to. With proper seasoning, cast iron is nearly non-stick, and they conduct heat beautifully (with the side benefit of adding a bit of extra iron to your diet!).

      If you don’t have one and you really want to make the meatballs RIGHT AWAY (I understand!), any heavy pan should be fine. It just needs to be able to stand up to high temperatures without the meatballs burning or getting stuck. 🙂

      (FYI, you can get a great Lodge pan at Target for less than $20!)

    • mel December 23, 2010 at 11:12 am

      And by ‘seasoning’ she means, you do NOT wash it after you use it. You can rinse it out and run a brush over it, but DO NOT use soap. The more the oils build up the better the pan becomes.

  • Reply sara December 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Do you still have the vegetarian meatball recipe? I’m intrigued and not a full-on vegan 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 December 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      It’s exactly the same, but with heavy cream, butter, and eggs.

  • Reply elisabet December 23, 2010 at 2:54 am

    of course you manage christmas as a vegetarian, especially when you consider all the cakes and pepparkakor and such 🙂 But it in Sweden at least, people tends to be very focused on the meat at christmas, maybe something to do with the Swedish christmas, “jul” originally being a pagan sort of sacrifice thing.

    • Anna @ D16 December 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

      Ahh, but the cakes and pepparkokar are made with eggs and butter, so none for me! Alas. 😉

  • Reply Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker December 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. And I love Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer. It’s the best. Anyway, I’ve not experimented much with making “meat-y” vegan dishes. But this one looks like it’s definitely worth a try . . . and maybe it’s something my non-veggie friends would enjoy!

  • Reply Mary December 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Oh my word; these look incredibly tasty! Thanks for sharing. Now, probably should go get some lunch…heh.

  • Reply Lori E. December 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Oops. Now I see the gravy part. 🙂

  • Reply laura @ the shorehouse January 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Oh my…having a bloggy catch up after a long (long) winter’s nap and you veg recipes are rocking my socks. Definitely going to give this a try (your veg chili is still on heavy rotation).

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