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Swedish Vegetarian Meatballs

These Swedish Vegetarian Meatballs are a healthy combination of quinoa and cauliflower, smothered in simple cream sauce and served atop fluffy mashed cauliflower!

Close up photo of vegetarian Swedish meatballs in cream sauce

It was only a matter of time, right? Before I started taking inspiration from the innumerable trips to IKEA we’ve made in the process of renovating our new house. Because a trip to IKEA is not complete until you’ve eaten something of vaguely Swedish origin.

But after our most recent trip, the tulip-man proclaimed that he would not be coming back ever (which I take to mean, we won’t be back this month). So to fill the void that was my weekly Swedish meal, I’ve created my take on Swedish meatballs with a vegetarian version that is *the real deal*.

Photo of vegetarian Swedish meatballs in cream sauce in a cast iron skillet

Ingredients in this Vegetarian Meatballs Recipe

These vegetarian meatballs have a simple ingredients list that doesn’t involve any mystery meat alternatives. They’re just: quinoa. cauliflower, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings. They would honestly be delicious with any sauce you throw on them. Today, that sauce is an easy, fool-proof sauce that’s rich and creamy (without any cream!)

Close up photo of vegetarian Swedish meatballs in cream sauce

I go true IKEA-style, serving these over a heap of fluffy mashed potatoes cauliflower (recipe for the fluffiest mashed cauliflower here!) Add a dollop of sour berry jam and you’re good to go.

Close up photo of vegetarian Swedish meatballs in cream sauce with cranberry sauce
These Swedish Quinoa Meatballs are a healthy combination or quinoa and cauliflower, smothered in simple cream sauce and served atop fluffy mashed cauliflower! No need to go furniture shopping to have a taste of Sweden.

Swedish Vegetarian Meatballs

These Swedish Vegetarian Meatballs are a combo of quinoa and cauliflower, coated in easy cream sauce.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Swedish meatballs, vegetarian meatballs, vegetarian Swedish meatballs
Diet: Vegetarian
Occasion: Easter, Game Day, Thanksgiving
Time: 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 477kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
5 from 1 vote


Vegetarian Meatballs
  • 2/3 cups dry quinoa 150 g, + 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower about 1/2 head
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 50 g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp each salt and smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 60 mL
Cream Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter 56 g
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour 40 g
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 473 mL
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream 60 g
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Make Meatballs: Combine quinoa and water in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, add cauliflower to a large pot of water and simmer until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Strain both and add to a food processor. Blitz a few times until mostly broken down. Add breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, and seasonings, stirring to combine. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls.
  • Cook Meatballs: Heat a dash of oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Fill the skillet with a batch of meatballs and cook, flipping them often to evenly brown all sides (about 5 minutes per batch). Continue heating new oil and cooking batches until meatballs are all cooked. Place on a paper towel when finished.
  • Make Sauce: Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until tan, 3-5 minutes. Whisk in 1.5 cups broth (it should thicken quickly!) Add more broth until you reach a thickness to your liking. Allow sauce to cool slightly, then add yogurt or sour cream and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve: Serve meatballs warm with cream sauce on top of mashed cauliflower!


This recipe was inspired by Pinch of Yum’s wild rice Swedish meatballs!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.4g | Protein: 15.6g | Fat: 29.9g | Saturated Fat: 10.4g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 1204mg | Potassium: 521mg | Fiber: 4.1g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3.2mg
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Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Recipe Rating

  1. Beverly Andrea says:

    I can’t wait to try these, perfect for mom!!!!
    Thanks so much for all of your great work, love you💕💕💕Beverly

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh so happy they will work for her! You can use any of her favorite sauces on them, doesn’t have to be the cream sauce 😀 xoxox

  2. Kaelie says:

    I tried to make these tonight and I had horrible luck with the meatballs staying together. I followed all the directions except I don’t have a food processor so I used a potato masher to combine the cauliflower and quinoa. When I fried them, they just fell apart and we’re impossible to turn. How do you make them stay together? The end product was tasty even though it wasn’t the right shape 😂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Ahh, I’m so sorry to hear that Kaelie! the only thing I can think might be the egg, which can differ in size a bit. If you try it again, add more egg as needed until the mixture is sturdy enough to hold together. Glad you liked the taste, despite their stubbornness!