Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs
June 5, 2019
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

This vegetarian twist on the classic Swedish meatballs is a wonderful alternative that still hits all the flavor high-notes of the original. Meaty mushrooms and protein-rich lentils form the base of these meatless meatballs, which pair deliciously with creamy mashed potatoes, bright cucumber salad, and rich mushroom gravy.


Traditional Swedish lingonberry jam adds a sweet counterpoint to this savory dish. Lentils provide an excellent source of plant-based protein, as well as fiber, folate, and polyphenols that can boost heart health. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, studies have shown the benefits of eating plant-based meals, both for your health and the environment. This filling and tasty recipe is sure to convert even the most staunch carnivores in your life!


Serves 4

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes





  • 3 cups cooked green lentils
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • olive oil, to cook


Mashed Potatoes:

  • 5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large cubes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¼ – ½ cup milk (use regular milk or your favorite unsweetened plain non-dairy milk)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Cucumber Salad:

  • 1 large seedless cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill


Mushroom Gravy:

  • 1 cup reserved cooked mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth


To Serve: Lingonberry jam & fresh chopped dill



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the meatballs, first, cook the mushrooms. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add the garlic, onion, and parsley, and cook for 2-3 more minutes until softened. Reserve 1 cup of the cooked mushroom mixture for making your gravy.
  3. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the lentils, ½ cup of cooked mushroom mixture, the pepper, and salt. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until almost completely smooth, scraping down the sides if needed.
  4. Transfer the lentil mushroom mixture to a large bowl, and add the panko, eggs, cream cheese, and mustard. Work the mixture together until everything is smooth and combined.
  5. Using wet hands, roll the meatball mixture into 1 tablespoon size balls (using wet hands helps keep the meatballs smooth). Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart, and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, until firm and slightly golden brown.
  7. While the meatballs bake, prepare the mashed potatoes, cucumbers, and gravy.
  8. Put the cut potatoes into a large pot, and cover with water by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring up to a boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until easily mashed. Drain, and return to the pot. Add the butter and milk, along with salt and pepper, and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
  9. To make the cucumber salad, combine the sliced cucumber, salt, pepper, vinegar, and dill. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  10. To make the gravy, combine the reserved cooked mushrooms and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the thyme and flour, and stir for 1 minute to cook the flour. Add the vegetable broth, and stir 1-2 minutes until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
  11. To serve, plate the mashed potatoes with meatballs on top, and spoon over the gravy. Plate the cucumber salad alongside, with a spoon of lingonberry jam and a sprinkling of dill for garnish. Enjoy!

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: