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These IKEA-Style Swedish Meatballs in Gravy Are 100% Vegetarian (and 100% Delicious)

Samantha Schwab
August 29, 2021

This time of year always has me thinking about IKEA. Back in my college days, we’d make an annual day trip trip around the beginning of the school year to stock up on essentials for dorm living. Of course, we had to make a stop at the IKEA cafeteria to fuel up before our journey through the world’s largest indoor maze. And naturally, we’d all order the famous IKEA Swedish meatballs.

I’ll admit that they were (and probably still are!) delicious, but I’ve since discovered a healthier take on these iconic Swedish meatballs and I’m never looking back. This plant-based version from Feed Me Phoebe, made with mushrooms and lentils, is just as satisfying. Finally, a way to enjoy this Swedish delicacy in a way that you can feel good about.

Ikea Faux-Swedish Meatballs

Photo Credit: Feed Me Phoebe

These IKEA-Style Swedish Meatballs Are Vegetarian and So Delicious

These healthier-for-you IKEA-style Swedish meatballs are so good even your meat-eating friends will be asking for the recipe. They’re full of umami, thanks to the lentils and mushrooms. And, then there’s the gravy.

The fact that the gravy is dairy-free gets me every time. Even though the sauce is coconut-based, there is nothing “coconutty” about it.  The saltiness from the tamari and the acidity from the wine balances out any coconut flavor. The result? A sauce that’s so silky and luscious you will want to lick your plate clean. It has my mouth watering just thinking about it.

This recipe is also calls for gluten-free bread and tamari (basically gluten-free soy sauce). So, that’s right. These knock-off meatballs are suitable for vegan AND gluten-free diets.

If you end up making these “meatballs” (which you should!), you’ll also want to make a huge batch of mashed potatoes to soak up all of that delicious gravy. And, if they’re organic, go ahead and keep the skins on; they’re packed with Vitamin-C and fiber!

Recipe Notes for Faux Swedish Meatballs

After making these meatballs just a *few* times, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Add aromatics to the lentils.

For even more flavor, add a crushed garlic clove and bay leaf to the lentils while they simmer. This tip is low effort, high reward.

2. Double the sauce.

The recipe makes a fair amount of sauce as is, but we always find ourselves a little short. If you plan on serving the lentil mushroom balls over mashed potatoes, you’ll definitely want to double up on sauce.

3. Freeze extras.

These better-for-you Swedish meatballs hold up well in the freezer. If you have the time, double or triple the recipe to freeze extras. Just make sure to store the “meatballs” and sauce separately.

4. You can use coconut milk.

If you don’t have a can of coconut cream on hand, you can use full-fat canned coconut milk instead. Place a couple of cans in the refrigerator the night before. When you open the cans the next day, all of the cream will have floated to the top. Voila!

Get the recipe: IKEA-Style Vegan Swedish Meatballs from Feed Me Phoebe

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