I have such fond memories of this dish and as a kid it was always something to look forward to during a shopping trip. I loved going round Ikea and looking at all the different pink things I could add to my already pink enough bedroom, but somehow the trip always lasted way longer than it should have and as a kid you've had enough, but there's still just so much more of the store to go round - that's when this dish was to the rescue! The best part about Ikea was definitely the meatballs, gravy and lingonberry sauce; we'd typically eat about half way through the Ikea trip, when we'd looked round the upstairs, just before starting again with the second half of the store. My order was always meatballs, chips, lingonberry sauce and extra gravy and when I became veggie at the age of 10 I was thrilled to find out that the gravy was vegetarian, meaning I could still order chips, sauce and extra gravy...it was really all about the gravy anyway!
Since I've been vegan I've researched a few times how to make this gravy at home, and when you look at all the online recipes they contain beef stock, which greatly confused me as the original powder you add milk to doesn't have any beef in it. I tried to find some vegan beef stock cubes, which I couldn't seem to locate and for a while I gave up. This was until I was eating a homemade cashew cream sauce last year and it had a slight resemblance to the beautiful flavours I remember from those Ikea trips. I'd run out of plain salt that day so used a seasoning salt called herbamare in it's place, it contains vegetables, herbs and sea salt and is available in Holland and Barrett.
Anyway, the seasoning salt flavour slipped my mind for a while and came back to me when I was on pinterest the other day and saw yet another Swedish meatballs and gravy recipe. So I went back to the ingredients of the original gravy packets and saw that starch, cream, yeast extract, herbs, cream and apple extract were some of the main ones. The sweetness of the cashews and tanginess of the worcester sauce replace the apples, as well as the cream, I used a small amount of yeast extract for the savouryness, flour for the starch and finally the herbamare seasoning plus a little onion powder and bay leaves for the herbs. The result, you'll be so pleased to hear, is a gravy that's incredibly similar to that iconic flavour of ikea gravy and will more than satisfy any lingering cravings you may have for this delicious meal.
Until recently vegan meatballs weren't a thing in the UK, but Sainsbury's listened to customer feedback and made a few more of their veggie products vegan, meaning the meatless meatballs no longer contain egg! They work perfectly in this dish and deliciously compliment the gravy, I made mine slightly on the thicker side, as we always did with the sachets at home, but feel free to make it as thick/thin as you like. And I know some people will have had boiled potatoes as a side to their meatballs, but in my family we always had chips, so that's what I've made here! Plus, as a little green was needed I included some peas on the plate, you could use broccoli, sweetcorn or any veg in place of this too. The seasoning salt in this dish is quite important to the flavour, it's so delicious on veg and chips too that you needn't have to worry about buying a 'speciality' ingredient, however if you can't get hold of it for any reason then perhaps a mushroom or vegetable stock cube could work in it's place.
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Swedish Vegan Meatballs & Gravy | Serves: 4 | Time: 30 mins
- 1 large baking tray
- Grease-proof paper
- Baking dish
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon/ spatula
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp herbamare seasoning
- 1 tsp vegan Worcester sauce
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp yeast extract
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch black pepper
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- Pinch salt & pepper
- 2-3 cups frozen peas
- Lingonberry sauce
- 20 vegan meatballs - I used Sainsbury's
- Pre-heat the oven to 200° C and line a large baking tray with grease-proof paper.
- Wash and thinly slice the potatoes into thin-cut chips. Place on the baking tray, lightly drizzle with oil, sparingly season with salt and pepper, mix together, spread out and bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on the chips and turn on the baking tray a few times throughout the cooking period.
- After 10 minutes, put the meatballs in the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes, turning over half way through.
- To make the gravy: add the cashews, water, flour, herbamare seasoning, Worcester sauce and yeast extract to the blender, blitz until smooth. Pour the gravy into a large sauce pan, add the bay leaves, season with pepper and heat on a medium temperature until the mixture thickens, add more water if desired. Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer them into the gravy pan and gently stir to combine.
- To cook the peas, add to a saucepan on a medium heat and keep stirring until they are piping hot.
- Serve up the meal onto 4 plates with a large spoonful of lingonberry sauce and enjoy!
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