It’s been a little quiet on Strawberry Pepper lately, as we’ve been busy with graduate school and things (I know, right?), but I promise you the wait was well worth it for these delicious meat-free balls. This recipe is adapted from a non-vegan version, courtesy of one of a good friends: my Swedish friend Emil. When I told him that I had started a vegan cooking blog with my sister he said, “make swedish meatballs! …oh wait, those aren’t vegan.” I told him to send me a recipe and I’d make a vegan version. But folks, it wasn’t so easy to just change the ground beef to ground seitan. I had to decode the Swedish recipe, including figuring out what a msk is, that zanzibar red head is clove, what a ‘gul’ onion meant, and so on… My detective skills (*cough cough* the internet) prevailed, and a scrumptious americanized and veganized adjusted recipe resulted.
I made the dish for a dinner date with my friend Jess, I served the swedish meatballs with their traditional pairings: over garlic mashed potatoes, with a cream sauce and a sour cherry sauce, balsamic roasted asparagus on the side. Okay, traditionally a ‘råröda lingon’ or sour lingonberry sauce is served. Raw lingonberries are hard to find in the US, so one could substitute a tart cranberry sauce, or find a nice jar of sour cherry spread at whole foods like I did. Though I broke the cardinal rule of hosting by making something brand new, adapted from an unknown source, it made for the perfect dinner that resulted in a most perfect evening. The company was pretty good too.
Swedish meatballs are spiced with a delightful array of spices: nutmeg, allspice, and clove. As they sat baking in my oven, my apartment filled with the most delightful savory smells (making Jess and I really hungry). The strong, sweet, nutty, earthy spices meld together in just the right amounts to make for a delicately flavored veggie meatball.
about 3 dozen
1 lb seitan
3/4 cups bread crumbs
3/4 cups soy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 tbsp earth balance margarine
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten, extra if needed
1 egg replacer egg
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 tsp ground pepper, or to taste
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 ºF
1. Grind the seitan in a food processor, set aside in a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine the bread crumbs, soy milk and vinegar. Set aside for about 10 minutes until the bread crumbs are soft.
3. Meanwhile, melt the earth balance over the skillet on medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, not browned.
4. Add the bread crumb and milk mixture to the ground seitan, along with the cooked onion, 2 tbsp wheat gluten, the egg replacer egg, nutmeg, allspice, clove, pepper and salt. Mix until evenly combined.
5. If the mixture is holding together well shape into golfball sized balls. If the mixture is too wet add some extra breadcrumbs at this time, or some extra wheat gluten so that the “meatballs” hold their shape.
6. Place on a greased parchment lined baking pan. Bake at 325 ºF for 25 minutes, flipping half way through.
7. If desired, you can fry the baked meatballs in some olive oil or butter to get a nice browned surface. This is an completely optional step.
2 tbsp earth balance margarine
2 tbsp flour
1 cup soy milk + 1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable broth
pinch of salt
Melt the butter over a low-medium heat and add the flour. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. When toasty brown add the curdled soy milk and vegetable broth. Whisk until smooth. Add the dill and salt to taste. Whisk occasionally and let sit on stove until thickened slightly.
Enjoy this non-traditional version of a traditional scandinavian dish!