Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs served with noodles and Partridge Berry Jam.Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs are lightly spiced, tender little meatballs in a delicious cream sauce. Perfect served with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.  And don't forget the Partridge Berry Jam (Lingonberry) on the side.  

Last night my niece Katherine (who is an avid vegetarian) and I were chatting on Facebook and she asked if I had a recipe for Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs. She really likes them and hasn't had any since she was attending university in the United States.  I didn't have a recipe but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to vegetarianize a regular recipe for the beloved meatballs. Today I got busy with a recipe from the Food Network Magazine website.  The recipe was well reviewed with many 5-star ratings.   For the most part the only complaint anyone had was that they were too salty and that is easily remedied. They are supposed to taste like the IKEA Swedish meatballs that are so popular with the store's customers. But I wouldn't know, as the closest store is in Halifax and that doesn't make for casual shopping for me living in Central Newfoundland, ha, ha.  

There are some differences in substituting veggie burger for ground meat.  Ground meat or hamburger meat will stick together and become a rather cohesive mass when cooked.  Veggie burger will always remain crumbly when cooked unless some kind of binder is used.  As the original recipe uses both bread crumbs and eggs I knew I was well on my way to remaking this recipe into a vegetarian delight.  

With a few adjustments in the ingredient amounts a very satisfactory mixture for the meatballs was achieved.  They baked well and tasted really good. YUM.  Katherine will have to make these and tell me if they're up to the mark in her books.   We enjoyed them for dinner today with buttered noodles and a little homemade Partridgeberry (Lingonberry) jam.  Tomorrow we'll have them with mashed potatoes. I'm looking forward to tomorrow already!

These are Partridge Berries or also known as Lingonberries. They grow wild all over Newfoundland and Labrador.  Don picked these last October and I froze them to use during the cold, cold winter.   I cooked about 1 cup with a little sugar to taste and made a lovely, tangy, dark red jam to go along with the Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs.

Just a few notes:  
  • Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients.  The recipe comes together quite quickly.  
  • To keep these meatballs vegetarian, use a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. Read the ingredients and if it has anchovies, it's not vegetarian. Cheaper brands sometimes found at dollar and discount stores often do not contain anchovies. 
  • If you do not have access to the traditional Partridge Berry/Lingonberry Jam, whole Cranberry Sauce makes a satisfactory substitute.  

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1½ cups dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ⅓ cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper (can use black pepper if white is not available)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (if you cannot find vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, use vinegar)
  • 1 package Yves veggie burger or 1½ cups crumbles or canned burger (If the crumbles are frozen, thaw before measuring)
  • 2 eggs
For the gravy:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2¼ cups vegetarian beef-like broth (Made from bouillon cubes.) 
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Partridge Berry (Lingonberry) jam, for serving (optional but traditional)
To make the meatballs: Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. I used a mixture of stale whole wheat and white bread to make the crumbs. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, nutmeg, salt and white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste.  Let cool a little. Add the veggie burger and eggs and mix until combined.  Place the bowl of mixture in refrigerator for 1 hour or until chilled. You can make this mixture the day or night before and leave in the refrigerator in a covered container overnight until ready to bake.  

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or brush with oil.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. If you would like bigger meatballs to serve with dinner, do so but, you may have to adjust the cooking time.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

To make the gravy: While meatballs are baking, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the broth and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. (Make sure you taste the broth/bouillon mixture.  If the broth is too salty, dilute with a little more water and remeasure.  You can always add salt when the sauce is finished.) Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place your Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs in a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley, if desired. 

Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes or egg noodles for a great dinner dish. Pass the Partridge Berry (Lingonberry) Jam as a relish, if desired.

Makes 35-40 one-inch meatballs.

Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a day or two. Reheat over a gentle heat, adding a little water to the sauce to thin it as it will have become thicker while stored.

Saute the onions, garlic, spices, salt and pepper together until the onions are soft. Stir in the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot milk mixture over the breadcrumbs.  (I don't know what happened to my breadcrumb picture. It disappeared!) Let the milk soak into the crumbs and stir together until it is like a thick paste.  To the breadcrumb mixture add the veggie burger and eggs and mix until combined.  Chill the mixture for at least an hour.  

Form the chilled mixture into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking pan. Chilling the mixture makes it much easier to form the soft "meat" into a round shape. They will also keep their shape better when baking.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch. 

While the meatballs are baking prepare the sauce.  In a large frying pan melt the butter.  When hot, stir in the flour and whisk until bubbly.  Whisk in the broth and stir until thickened.  Add the cream and stir through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used whipping cream but sour cream can also be used.  

Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and simmer an additional 10 minutes before serving.

 Simmering Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs.

Today we had our meatballs over buttered noodles and tomorrow I'll serve the leftovers with mashed potatoes. 

Don't forget to serve the Partridge Berry Jam. This is a traditional side to Swedish Meatballs.  If you do not have the jam whole berry Cranberry Sauce makes a satisfactory substitute.

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs with creamy gravy.Tender, lightly spiced Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs in a decadent creamy sauce.

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