All About the Veg! is a biweekly recipe column where Best of Vegan contributor Seiran Sinjari breaks down one amazing plant at a time. In today’s column, she revisits beets, only this time they have a holiday flair to them, being incorporated in a traditional Swedish holiday dish. Her recipe for vegan Swedish ‘köttbullemacka’, beet salad & holiday spiced meatballs on bread is a 3-in-1 deal that’s definitely worth trying this holiday season!
It’s the perfect time to bring some vibrant colors to the table, lucky beet season is long, so we’re actually making another recipe with beets as the star ingredient!
Here in Sweden, creamy beetroot salad ‘Rödbetssallad’ is a must around the holidays and the big Christmas feast. It’s served as a side dish along with other dishes, one of the other most important being meatballs (vegan version for us of course!). I like to spice up the holiday meatballs a little with warm and aromatic spices, such as allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. After the holidays most of us are left with leftovers. The good thing here is that leftover beet salad and meatballs can be turned into another Swedish classic, namely the ‘Köttbullemacka’. It’s a piece of bread or a bread roll filled or layered with the beet salad and meatballs and it’s something that’s served at cafés and restaurants in Sweden all year round.
It’s so good that we actually make it even if we don’t have leftovers. Holiday time is just the perfect time because we probably have everything ready on hand. So I’m giving you 3-in-1 here, the recipes for the beet salad, holiday meatballs, and how to assemble them into another Swedish classic!
For Beet Salad (‘Rödbetssallad’):
- 700 g beetroots
- 1 red apple, chopped into small cubes
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard, coarse mustard, or any other vegan mustard of preference
- 2 ½ tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 200 ml vegan crème fraîche (can be substituted with vegan sour cream)
- salt & pepper to taste
For Vegan Meatballs (Köttbullar):
- 500 g vegan mince (suitable for shaping)
- 1 yellow onion, grated
- 3 tbsp fine bread crumbs
- 100 ml vegan heavy cream for cooking
- ½–1 tbsp spicy brown mustard, coarse mustard, or any other vegan mustard of preference
- ½–1 tsp ground allspice
- ⅓ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ ground white pepper
- ⅓ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (preferably Chinese dark mushroom soy sauce)
- salt to taste (if needed as the soy sauce is very savory and vegan mince is typically also seasoned with salt)
- 3 tbsp vegan butter for frying
- Bread slices, baguette, or bread rolls of preference
- Gherkins, sliced (for garnish)
- Finely chopped chives or parsley (for garnish)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add ½ tbsp salt.
- Wash beets and trim off the greens before adding them to the boiling water. Cook until tender (easily pierced with a knife), this can take anything from 25-40 minutes depending on the size of them.
- When done, let cool, then peel them and chop them into small pieces.
- Place them in a large bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge until serving.
Vegan Holiday Meatballs:
- Place heavy cream in a small bowl and mix in the bread crumbs. Mix with a fork after 5 minutes and then again after 10 minutes, it should be a thick paste by now.
- Place vegan mince, onion, mustard, allspice, cloves, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, soy sauce, and the heavy cream and bread crumb paste in a large bowl. Combine well using your hands. The mixture should be a little bit sticky but if too wet or sticky to form balls, add a little sprinkle of fine bread crumbs.
- Roll the mixture into little balls, around 1-1 ½ tbsp of mixture for each. Wet your hands if too sticky. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet.
- Fry the plant balls in 2-3 batches, cleaning the pan in between. Melt 1-1 ½ tbsp vegan butter in a pan over medium heat, add plant balls and fry until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, shaking the pan frequently.
- Place a thick layer of the beet salad on top of your bread slices or in between the bread roll slices, place halved vegan meatballs on top (as many as you can fit!), add some gherkins, and garnish with chives or parsley. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper.
Find more of Seiran’s recipes at @legallyplantbased.
Recipe, text, and photography by Seiran Sinjari.
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