A couple weeks ago, I had all the ingredients to make these Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs again, so I did. I’ve always been a little flighty. Kev is the analytical one of the two of us, the one who thinks through everything in great detail. I’m windy, work with whatever’s right in front of me, and make lots of flubs that only hindsight can teach me.
Meanwhile, I brought them to a party of people who were mostly of Swedish descent. As I walked in to Sarah’s house and saw her blonde hair and blue eyes, it hit me. Swedish Meatballs are in her DNA, and I just brought my adulterated, vegetarian version. Oh, Melissa.
Thankfully, the Swedish meatballs disappeared, just like they did at the Nordic Winter Party I hosted in December. In fact, I would say the vegetarian meatballs stole the show at the Nordic party. These poppable cauliflower-laden bites dipped in a lingonberry sauce are wicked good and naturally gluten-free. (And they also look scary close to their meat counterpart.)
A couple notes about making these Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs
In true non-traditional form, I recommend serving these vegetarian Swedish meatballs as an appetizer or as a side on a candle-lit table. (Just trust me.) Skip the traditional gravy and make a tart lingonberry dipping sauce.
About the prep time: In an effort to minimize prep time before serving, make these vegetarian Swedish meatballs in advance and par-bake. The recipe will guide you. They can then sit in the fridge or freezer until ready for serving. Fry until golden and serve immediately.
If you’re in to football, these Swedish vegetarian meatballs are a perfect fit for snacking during the big game this weekend, hosted just down the street from us. They’re also fit for a winter gathering. Stay tuned for that post next week.
Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs
These poppable cauliflower-laden bites dipped in a lingonberry sauce are wicked good and naturally gluten-free. Note: this recipe is broken up into two sections—make ahead and just before serving. You can make this recipe in one breadth, but I find it more manageable in two. Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum.
- 1 1/2 c. chopped cauliflower
- 1 packet (1 1/2 c.) Seeds of Change Garlic Brown Rice and Quinoa*
- 1/2 c. oat flour**
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
- 1 tsp. worcestershire
- neutral high-heat oil
- 3 tbsp. ligonberry jam
- 2 tbsp. water
Make ahead. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside. Place the prepared cauliflower in a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Fill the saucepan with at least 1-inch of water, but not touching the cauliflower. Turn to medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Add cauliflower to a high powered blender or food processor. Add rice mixture and pulse until roughly chopped.
Add the blended contents to a large bowl with all the remaining ingredients. Stir until evenly combined. (Tip: use the teaspoon to measure the dry ingredients first before measuring the wet ingredient to save on cleaning mid recipe.) Using a 2 teaspoon-sized spring-release scoop (.3-ounce scoop/#60 scoop), scoop the balls, being sure to tightly pack. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Once cooled, store for later. If using within 2 days, store covered in the fridge. Otherwise, place balls in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Before using, thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 1 hour.
Just before serving. Add about 1-inch of oil to a dutch oven. Heat over medium to medium-low heat until hot. You'll know it's ready when you flick a bit of water onto the surface and it bubbles. (Tip: don't rush the frying process over a higher heat and risk burning the oil, the food, and the pan.) Carefully add balls to pan, being sure not to crowd. Once golden (about 3 minutes), flip and cook the other side until golden. Remove onto a plate lined with paper towels. Note, cooking times will vary based on the heat of your burner and pan. Cook for color, not time.
Make the sauce. Add sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until evenly combined, about 4 minutes. Jams vary in thickness. Add more water if needed to thin or more jam if needed to thicken.
Serve hot ( and with toothpicks if you don't like oily hands).
*These packets are just so convenient for this recipe. You can also make it with leftover rice and quinoa, I've done that too. Just add a little fresh garlic to the recipe.
**I make my own oat flour in the high powered blender. You can buy it too. I prefer the flavor of it over regular flour in this recipe. If making your own, blend at the start of the recipe so you don't have to clean your container mid-recipe.