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)
- Preheat oven to 210 degrees C.
- Wash the eggplants and cut them in half lengthways. Place on a foil lined baking tray, skin side down.
- 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.
- Bake in oven for around 30 minutes.
- Remove eggplant from over and scoop out the flesh with a spoon before chopping up.
- Slice (or pulse in a food processor) sourdough bread slices into small pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggplant, bread, crushed garlic, grated carrot, spices and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add vegan cream of choice and mix.
- Add flour and combine well, then let the mix stand for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, tip the chickpea flour onto a large plate.
- 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.
- 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.
*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