SWEDISH (NO)MEATBALLS (a vegan version of the Swedish favourite)

Famously, Sweden has a long tradition of meat, seafood and dairy-rich cuisine. Its inhabitants, however, seem to be increasingly more interested in plant-based eating. My newly-vegan husband- who was raised on köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), sill (pickled herring) & kilos of cheese- is a testament to this trend.

On our first study “date” during our university days in Australia, my future husband attempted to woo me by offering me a midnight feast in the kitchen of his student share house. The only problem was the fact that all he had on hand was slices of plastic-y processed cheese, a packet of Black & Gold generic supermarket brand frozen hamburgers (the cheapest money could buy) and, I recall, a handful of Jatz crackers. Not even bread. Basically, it was my absolute nightmare “meal”! I forgave him this major flaw and, 12 years and 2 kids later, we remain happily together… and eating a far better diet!

This Christmas I was determined to make a vegan, IQS-inspired version of the classic Swedish combo of meatballs, mashed potato and lingonberry jam.


I will post my Sugar-Free Lingonberry Jam and Creamed Kale Mashed Potato recipes soon, but in the meantime, here is the recipe for…


Makes: approximately 20


2 organic eggplants
3-4 slices of sourdough bread*
60- 75 ml of non-dairy cream (I used Oatly‘s iMat**)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small organic carrot, grated
2 tbsp organic plain flour (a touch more, if needed)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds***, ground using a mortar and pestle
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper for seasoning to taste
Chickpea flour for coating (approximately 150 ml)
Olive oil for frying (at least 3 tbsp)


  1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees C.
  2. Wash the eggplants and cut them in half lengthways. Place on a foil lined baking tray, skin side down.
  3. Make a few cuts into the flesh of each eggplant half (lengthways), then drizzle over a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in oven for around 30 minutes.
  5. Remove eggplant from over and scoop out the flesh with a spoon before chopping up.
  6. Slice (or pulse in a food processor) sourdough bread slices into small pieces.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggplant, bread, crushed garlic, grated carrot, spices and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Add vegan cream of choice and mix.
  9. Add flour and combine well, then let the mix stand for a few minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, tip the chickpea flour onto a large plate.
  11. Using a tablespoon, take heaped tablespoons full of mixture and form them into balls****, popping each onto the chickpea flour-covered plate and rolling them around until each ball is coated evenly.
  12. In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the no meatballs in olive oil for around 5 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure they colour and cook evenly.


Leftover (no)meatball toasted sandwich with avocado, sautéed field mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil, seasoning and fresh herbs

Leftover (no)meatball toasted sandwich with avocado, sautéed field mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil, seasoning and fresh herbs


*For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free bread and gluten-free flour.

**For an IQS touch, try using coconut cream.

***For a more traditional Swedish flavour profile, try replacing the cumin, parsley and fennel with 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of organic powdered vegetable stock, and add half a grated white onion to the mix.

****This mix can also be used to make flatter, patty-style forms, which would be a great veggie burger option.

Recipe inspired by one from Djurens Rätts bästa recept

26 thoughts on “SWEDISH (NO)MEATBALLS (a vegan version of the Swedish favourite)

    • Hello gorgeous! You are really so sweet! I also had a serve of these with spicy salsa and sweet potato fries (with cumin dukkah). By adding just a touch of spice, they are fairly neutral and can go with lots of different things, but you can add extra cumin (or any spice, really), if you like 🙂
      We are going to try to make your lentil loaf today!! ❤

  1. So glad you have moved on from plastic cheese!!!! I made meatballs the other day using eggplant as a filler. The eggplant worked so well, so I can imagine how delicious these no meat balls must be.

    • Thank you so much! I still feel this recipe could do with further experimentation and tweaking, if I am honest. But as I was really happy with the first attempt, I thought I’d post Mark 1 immediately 😉 And yay for no plastic cheese! Haha! Welcome home, lovely xx

  2. Goodness, these look incredible! While I never liked beef to begin with and absolutely refused to eat meatballs as a child, I must admit that now as a vegan, meatless balls are a certain guilty pleasure of mine… It’s guilty only because it seems strange that I would want such a thing at this stage in my life! Nothing to feel guilty about with these round beauties though… I hope that if I substitute zucchini for the eggplant, they’ll still hold up. Darned eggplant sensitivities.

  3. Honestly, how can I be a vegetarian and not like mushrooms? What a weirdo right? But I do enjoy a variety of no-meatballs that I get at the market here. Even Mr B. (who still gobbles down meat of all sorts) loves them. I toss them into all sorts of meals like stroganoffs or just enjoy them with a nice tzatziki. I haven’t cooked much with eggplant but always enjoy a lasagna they make at Planet Organic here locally. I need to stretch my recipe repertoire to include it.

    • Hi Boomdee! I am sorry for missing your comment! Mushrooms, eggplant and avocado were definitely not favourites of mine when I first ventured into vegetarianism. In fact I never ate them! Now they are staples, and partly because I happened to come across good-looking recipes that featured them. The health benefits of certain veggies are also an incentive to use them but taste comes first for me 🙂 That eggplant lasagne sounds awesome!!! 😀 Hope life is great with you! xxx

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