Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe

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These Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs are better than the famous Ikea meatballs!

Swedish meatballs are usually served in a roux-based white sauce. Heavy cream is the main ingredient. For some folks, they are the ultimate comfort food. But if you can’t have dairy, don’t worry. You can still enjoy all this deliciousness with a simple change to your sauce! (And no, it isn’t coconut milk.)

An overhead view looking down into a cast iron pan, filled with Swedish Meatballs sitting in a white sauce.

What Are Traditional Swedish Meatballs?

Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are made with half ground pork and half ground beef. They are served with a roux-based white sauce.

But this recipe switches things up a little for anybody who needs a dairy-free version. And as mentioned above, there is no coconut milk or coconut cream involved. I love coconut, but not in my meatballs!

Italian Meatballs Vs. Swedish Meatballs

What’s the difference?

  • Size – Swedish meatballs are generally smaller than Italian meatballs.
  • Meat – Italian meatballs are generally made with a combination of beef, veal, and pork.
  • Seasoning – Italian meatballs often contain parmesan and herbs like basil, oregano, and many other seasonings associated with the Italian palette.

What Makes Swedish Meatballs Different?

Swedish meatballs typically have something like allspice in them.

That being said, there is sometimes a little crossover, depending on what recipe you are using. Nothing is written in stone when it comes to meatballs.

And lastly, Swedish meatballs are served in a white sauce where Italian meatballs are typically served in a red sauce.

Here again, there is a lot of cross-over. Nothing is written in stone. This recipe uses turkey meat. So I would not call this a traditional recipe.

What Diets Are These Diary Free Swedish Meatballs Suited For?

This is not a low carb recipe, unfortunately. But it’s dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats).

An up close view of Swedish meatballs sitting in a white sauce in a cast iron pan.

Creamy Dairy Free Sauce

This dairy free sauce is made from soaked cashews, not heavy cream. It’s a wonderfully creamy sauce that can be made as thick or runny as you like.

I highly recommend vegetable broth for the sauce. Chicken broth or beef broth are fine too, but you’ll want to use half broth, half water if you go that route.

The Meatballs

There is no cheese or sour cream in these dairy free meatballs. Just meat, seasoning, oats, and celery. So even if you prefer to avoid the sauce, they are pretty darn healthy and allergy-friendly for a lot of people.

Adding Umami

If you want to add a bit of Umami, you’ll want to try adding about 1 tbsp. of either soy sauce, Tamari, or coconut aminos. This is not in the recipe as I did not use it. But some people really prefer that deeper flavor. Either way will be good though!

Why Oats?

The oats used are a substitute for bread crumbs. They help keep the meatballs moist and tender.

I recommend avoiding things like almond flour, almond meal, or coconut flour for this recipe.

Meal Prep Options

This is a fantastic make-ahead, meal prep dish. Particularly the meatballs. The sauce, you’ll want to make fresh. It only keeps in the fridge for about 3-4 days and does not freeze well. But the meatballs will freeze super well.

Swedish meatballs in a black, cast iron pan, sitting in a white sauce.

Gluten Free Swedish Meatballs

The way to make these gluten-free is simply to make sure that the ingredients you purchase (such as the oats) are labeled gluten-free. There is no wheat in this recipe, so as long as your ingredients are labeled gluten free, the whole recipe should be naturally gluten free.

What To Serve With Swedish Meatballs

There are so many options when it comes to serving Swedish meatballs! Here are just a few suggestions:

Serve Over:

  • Rice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cauliflower mash
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Regular pasta

Can You Make Swedish Meatballs In An Instant Pot?

You can! It’s best to cook them in a few batches.

Brown meatballs first using the sauté setting. Secure the lid, close the vent valve, and then adjust cook time to 8 minutes using the Manual button.

Can You Cook These Swedish Meatballs On The Stove Top?

Yes, you can, but it will require more oil for cooking. Try olive oil or coconut oil and brown the meatballs first over medium heat, then cover and lower the heat to fully cook them. Check them about every 3-5 minutes, flipping as you do.

What Do You Eat With Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs?

Typically, the sauce for Swedish meatballs is a roux-based sauce. However, because this is a dairy-free version, I’ve used a cashew sauce instead with a little extra chicken broth to make it more fluid. You can choose to not use the broth if you want the thicker consistency in the sauce.

Ingredient Checklist

Meatballs

2 lbs. of lean ground turkey
2 large eggs
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp. pink salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup minced celery

Sauce

1 cup raw cashews – soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours. If soaking overnight, make sure to store them in the fridge.

1 cup vegetable broth – or ½ cup chicken broth ½ cup water – You can add more when this is done to get the consistency you want. I added approximately another 3-4 tbsp. But each batch will vary.)

1 tbsp. garlic granules – Or garlic powder

2 tsp. onion granules – Or onion powder

½ tsp. paprika – Or 1 tsp. if you want a tiny bit of peppery kick)

½ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but you can use whatever salt you normally cook with.

Garnish

Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

How To Make Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs

Prep

Cashews soaking in a bowl of water.

Soak the cashews in water overnight (or at least 4 hours in advance). Set them in the fridge if soaking overnight.

Meatballs

The rolled meatballs lined up in a baking pan.

Preheat oven to 350° F.In a large mixing bowl, knead together all the ingredients.

Spray the baking pan with a light layer of oil to grease the pan. Roll the meatball mixture into small meatballs, smaller than a walnut, and place in a baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until meatballs reach at least 165° F. on a meat thermometer.

Sauce

A blue spatula lifts some of the blended sauce out of the blender and towards the camera.

While the meatballs cook, blend all the sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust the thickness with extra liquid as needed.

The finished Swedish Meatballs in a cast iron skillet with sauce poured over the top.

When the meatballs are done, pour the sauce over them in the baking dish and serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Supplies For Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs

You’ll need either a large baking dish or a large skillet (an oven-safe skillet such as cast iron). You can also use a baking sheet if that’s easier. Just be sure it’s not too thin, or the meatballs will burn on the bottoms. If all you have is a thin baking sheet, you’ll have to flip the meatballs halfway through the baking process. You will also need a large bowl for mixing and a good blender. A food processor will only work if it’s a very high powered food processor.

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Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe

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An up close view of Swedish meatballs sitting in a white sauce in a cast iron pan.

Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs

Delicious meatballs in a diary free creamy sauce.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Swedish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 270kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup old fashion oats
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup minced celery

Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or ½ chicken broth ½ water)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika (or 1 tsp. if you want a tiny bit of peppery kick)
  • ½ tsp. salt

Instructions

Prep

  • Soak the cashews in water overnight (or at least 4 hours in advance). Set them in the fridge if soaking overnight.
    Cashews soaking in a bowl of water.

Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
    In a large mixing bowl, knead together all the ingredients.
    The meatball mixture kneaded together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Spray the baking pan with a light layer of oil to grease the pan. Roll into small meatballs, smaller than a walnut, and place in a baking pan.
    Bake for 20 minutes, or until meatballs reach at least 165° F. on a meat thermometer.
    The rolled meatballs lined up in a baking pan.

Sauce

  • While the meatballs cook, blend all the sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust the thickness with extra liquid as needed.
    A blue spatula lifts some of the blended sauce out of the blender and towards the camera.
  • When the meatballs are done, pour the sauce over them in the baking dish and serve.
    The finished Swedish Meatballs in a cast iron skillet with sauce poured over the top.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 645mg | Potassium: 562mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg

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