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Vegan Svensk-Danska Kottbullar!

So, I’m sick. Super-duper sick. Pretty sure it’s the flu, which serves me right since this is the first time in years I’ve gone without a flu shot. Sleeping and recuperating has taken over my life in recent days, so please forgive my quietness! Here’s a holiday repeat until I’m back on my feet.

vegan kottbullar

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 a couple of years ago I created a fully vegan version. I’ve made them for holiday potlucks at work and for my whole family to enjoy. They’re delicious reheated (or cold!) the next day, too.

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.

Also, since it came up the last time I posted this recipe, I should mention that I use processed fake meats in cooking very sparingly—but for special occasions a few times a year, I think it’s okay to use some of the pre-made products that are out there, particularly if they help to recapture some of the traditional flavors we might miss. Everything in moderation, including moderation!

vegan kottbullar

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  • Reply Jen Appel December 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Those look super delicious – but what is Earth Balance? I don’t think I have that north of the border.

    Get well soon!

    • Christine December 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Jen! I buy Earth Balance regularly. It’s a vegan butter substitute that’s healthier than margarine as it’s made without trans fats. It comes in a tub like margarine.

  • Reply Serenity December 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Anna!

    I made these last year for Christmas with lingonberry sauce and vegan mushroom soup and dilled potatoes. It was really good and simple. What other dishes would you typically serve with these?

    Thanks for making the effort to post this with your flu! I hope it doesn’t last too long.

  • Reply Jenn December 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    These looks delicious! I was thinking about doing this gravy on something for dinner – maybe it could work with these? (not so scandinavian, but maybe)

    Earth Balance – Wholefoods/Choices/Superstore in Canada (not sure about east coast). Yves veggie ground could maybe work as the sausage (it is tvp – maybe could work?).

  • Reply Christine December 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I just made your chili and came back to comment, and now I want to try the meatballs, too! For those of us who are not strictly vegan and don’t mind vegetarian ingredients, do you find that cream, egg, and butter improve or change the taste and texture, or is this about the same when done vegan?

    Hope you feel better soon!

  • Reply jc December 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Delicious vegan food is one reason why the number of vegans has doubled in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos that will help people understand just some of the implications of this lifestyle: and

    • Shelly December 19, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Wonderful video, but also so sad….I have such a hard time seeing some of those images. The world seems so dark this last week. I’ll just have to hug my doggies more! 🙂

  • Reply kay* December 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    i am now very very curious as to the difference between a swedish and danish meatball! i’m guessing it has something to do with the spices used? off to go check google!

    (hope you feel better soon! have missed your tweets 🙂

  • Reply Sofia December 19, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Sorry to hear you caught the flu, hope you get better soon.

    The meatballs look tasty. My meat-loving grandmother makes the most delicious vegan meatballs ever, in fact I think they made her more interested in vegan cuisine 😉

  • Reply the chronic utilitarian December 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

    hope you feel better!
    happy holidays to you and yours.

  • Reply Emily R December 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I love meatballs, and I’m not vegan. Does this translate well into a non vegan recipe? For example, could I use 1/2 cup cream instead of mimicreme?


    • Anna @ D16 December 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Emily, if you’re looking for a non-vegan meatball recipe, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere than trying to make this one go back in the opposite direction.

    • Aurora December 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Trina Hahnemann has a good Danish meatball (frikadeller) recipe in her Scandinavian Cook Book.

  • Reply rox December 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    tis the season for the flu…get well soon!

  • Reply oh Holland December 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Your Scandinavian meatless balls look so good! In my family we had something like that with caraway seeds sprinkled into them. Sometimes Mom would make a casserole of meatballs squished down to sausage patty size and alternate them with thick apple and yam slices. The trick to getting everything baked evenly without sogginess was to set each row of slices standing on edge in a shallow baking dish — and just one layer. That was a fave dish in my pre-vegan days. I will try it with your recipe.

    Be well soon.

  • Reply Batya January 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I’m so happy to have (re) discovered your blog. And I hope you are feeling better. I’ve been making the Meatball Shop’s Vegetarian Lentil Balls for ages, and was looking to change things up a bit. These look delicious and they will certainly do the trick.
    I’m also loving the renovations you are doing in Newburgh. We left Brooklyn last year. It was an emotional process that meant I was leaving my entire family, one with a long history in New York (5 generations and family members spread across all the boroughs except Staten Island) and moving someplace where I had no family and only a few friends. But moving to Colorado meant that we would have a much better quality of life for us, our toddler, our infant, our geriatric Rottweiler…and a home. We are in the process of buying in one of Denver’s historic neighborhoods (which have tons of late 1800s/early 1900s Victorians, classic turn of the century Denver Squares and 1920s American Craftsman). No doubt we will turn to see how your renovations are going when we need inspiration. Happy 2013!

  • Reply David February 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    How much is 1 unit egg replacer*?

    • Anna @ D16 February 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      It will say on the package. Depends on the brand!

  • Reply Elizabeth April 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    SHUT UP. You are vegan, TOO?

    I am a new reader and I have been devouring your blog backlog for days. Basically I hate everything about you because it is JUST TOO GOOD. I’m SO JEALOUS. Impeccable sense of style? Remodeling your own victorian era house? Apartment in Brooklyn? Dogs? AND YOU’RE VEGAN!? I want to be you. My husband might object – he’s not a fan of nyc, like I am – but jeez. You are too cool, lady. Thanks for so much incredible inspiration. I feel my own can-do attitude increase like 10,000 fold when I read this blog.

    AND thanks for confirming my suspicion that the cross motif is way cool. I have been quilting them constantly lately, and I keep worrying, are people gonna think I’m a jesus freak? (Not there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just not me!) But the square cross / plus sign is just where it’s at!

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnd veganism is awesome, thanks for being loud and proud 😉

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