Swedish meatballs are a vital part of any Midsummer or Christmas buffet in Sweden, so chances are you’re looking for a replacement for your vegan holidays. There are a lot of different options to add meat(less) balls of course. Many supermarkets offer frozen or cooled vegan meatballs from brands like Anamma or Astrid och Aporna.
I personally prefer to cook from scratch with basic, cost-effective ingredients, so vegan “meat”balls made out of chickpeas are a great option for me. However, they do taste differently and have a different texture than the original. If you’re looking for something very similar to proper Swedish meatballs, I can recommend this recipe in Swedish by Tuvessonskan. It uses almonds and mushrooms to get the colour and texture right, but she also adds eggs to keep the mix together. There are other recipes out there that work with soy minced meat and other meat replacements if you’re looking to come close to the classics.
My recipe is simply a falafel recipe and uses chickpeas. I tried to be frugal there, so I used the chickpeas for the vegan meatballs and the chickpea brine for vegan meringues. Note: This recipe works perfectly fine, if not better, with dried chickpeas. Consider using those, as they’re even cheaper than canned ones and give a great result. Unless you’re lazy and
unprepared spontaneous like me, of course, then you’ll have to make do with canned/boxed chickpeas.
1 can or carton of chickpeas
a handful of parsley or coriander
2 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
salt, pepper to taste
oil for frying
- Drain the chickpeas in a sieve and wash them. When you drain them – Keep the brine! Don’t pour away the chickpea juice, you can make sorts of yummy recipes with it – vegan meringues for instance.
- Dry the chickpeas with a tea towel or kitchen roll.
- Peel the onion and cut into big pieces.
- Peel the garlic cloves.
- In a food processor, add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, tahini parsley and the spices. Blend until you get a coarse mix that holds together.
- Transfer the chickpea mix into a bowl and mix in some flour. This will help the falafel to stick together more and to keep its form. With the help of a spoon or an ice cream scoop, make little falafel balls.
- In a pan, add a layer of oil and fry the balls from all sides until they’re crispy brown.
- Set them on a plate covered with kitchen roll to soak up some of the fat before you serve them.
Green Falafel – Try adding extra coriander, parsley and/or fresh baby spinach to your mix before you blend it. This makes for beautiful green falafels with extra vitamins. For yellow falafel, try adding turmeric.
Extra Crunchy – You can add ground almonds or cashews to your falafel mix to make it extra crunchy to the bite.
Extra Crispy – Before frying the balls, you can roll them in breadcrumbs or sesame seeds to make them extra crispy.
No Chickpeas, No Problem – This recipe works just as well with other types of peas and beans. I have tried variations with black beans, kidney beans, green peas and white beans and they all turned out great.