Swedish non-meatballz, carrot mash, gravy and nan’s quick pickle

4 Jan, 2024 | Recipes

Recipe by Bettina Campolucci Bordi; @bettinas_kitchen

Serves 4

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Sticky honey salmon recipe served with greens and chili

My passport is Danish, my father Norwegian and I grew up in Sweden. I have been influenced by Scandinavian culture and flavours my whole life. This is an old Swedish classic with a plant-based twist, topped off with my grandmother’s quick pickle.

I have found the solution to missing meatballs! Inspired by my love of Swedish meatballs, this was the closest to those that I could get. They have depth of flavour, crunch and texture and are simple to make. These meat-free non-meatballz rock – I hope you love them as much as I do!

Truly, this is comfort in a bowl.

Ingredients: for the quick pickle

  • 1 cucumber
  • 125 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Ingredients: for the carrot mash

  • 6 large carrots, peeled
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) coconut milk
  • Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

Ingredients: for the non-meatballz (makes 8 big balls or 14 small ones)

  • 75 g brown rice
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • A sprig of thyme
  • 6 tablespoons tamari soy sauce – more if you like your meatballs saltier
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 240 g black beans from a tin or jar (good-quality shop-bought), drained
  • 60 g oat bran
  • 3–4 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil

Ingredients: for the gravy

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Maizena cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 375 ml coconut milk

To serve

  • Mixed greens
  • Lingonberries (optional)


1. First make the pickle. Slice the cucumber thinly on a mandolin or use a cheese slicer. Add the slices to a bowl, then the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good mix and set aside.

2. Next, make the carrot mash. In a large pan, boil the carrots until soft, then drain. Add to the blender with the coconut milk and blitz until you get the most beautiful orange mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. To make the meatballz, start by cooking the rice following the packet instructions.

4. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion, thyme, 3 tablespoons of tamari soy and the mustard. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is nice and tender. Once cooked, take off the heat and set aside.

5. In a food processor, add the onion mix along with black beans and pulse. Don’t overmix but blend until you have a sticky consistency.

6. Empty into a bowl and add the oat bran, cooked rice and remaining 3 tablespoons of tamari soy and give it a good mix.

7. Line a baking tray (baking sheet) with greaseproof paper (wax paper) and with a small or big ice-cream scoop, scoop out balls of mixture and gently roll until you have a round shape. Place them on to the paper until you are ready to cook them.

8. Heat the oil in a medium pan and cook the balls until they have a lovely crispy outside but are still nice and soft on the inside (5–10 minutes on each side should be enough). These can be pre-rolled and stored in fridge until you want to cook them and they can also be baked in the oven.

9. Preheat oven to 200ºC and bake for 20–30 minutes until you have a lovely crisp outside. If you are coeliac, make sure the oats are gluten free.

10. For the gravy, heat the olive oil and fry the shallots until nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tamari, cornflour and sugar. Take off the heat and slowly add the coconut milk, a little at a time, to create a roux, whisking to avoid lumps.

11. Put the pan back on the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes until you have a lovely shiny gravy, then set aside.

12. Now let’s put everything together. Put the mash on a plate, followed by the gravy, then the meatballs and serve with quick pickles, mixed greens and, if you have them, some lingonberries. If you don’t know where to get lingonberries, that big Swedish furniture shop sells them…

Note; everything but the pickles are freezable.


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